The key to beautiful landscapes is healthy soil

San Diego Sustainable Landscapes Design Seminar Lakeside September 2016The key to beautiful landscapes that use less water and require less maintenance is healthy soil.

We’ve taught dozens and dozens of classes in the past several years and in every class students tell us that they have very hard, compacted soil. You’ve probably seen it, dirt so hard that you need a pickaxe to dig. One of our past students actually used a jackhammer on his front yard. Surprisingly, it is not difficult to transform this horrible, almost concrete dirt, into luscious, soft soil with worms in just two months.

From Compacted Dirt To Healthy Soil

Back in August, we gave a class that involved digging a rain garden for the San Marcos Historical Society. The ground was impossibly hard and we had to resort to pickaxes. The pickaxes were hardly making a dent so we brought out the hoses and water. It turned out to be a muddy mess for most of us but we did get the swale dug. We then did the ‘Four Step Method’ for building healthy soil.

testing-those-swalesTwo months later when planted that area, the soil was gorgeous. It was easy to dig and with every shovel-full we had 6-8 worms. The soil was chocolatey brown and full of life. It smelled good like the forest floor.

Tanis Brown is the director of the San Marcos Historical Society and she is now a big believer in the ‘Four Step Method’.

This process isn’t difficult. The challenge comes with paying attention to the details of how to do it properly. It does take a bit of labor and materials but in just two months you can have amazing soil and your plants will thrive!

We spend a good deal of time explaining the ‘Four Step Method’ on how to build soil in our new online California Native Plants and Maintenance class.

We have both made our share of mistakes in the soil building process. Cutting corners can leave you with the same rock hard stuff that you started with even a year later.

Come join our online California Native Plants and Maintenance class. We’ve made the segments 5-10 min each so even if you are busy with work, family or whatever, you’ll still be able to make it through the class pretty quickly. Heck you can even do it on your mobile phone while standing in line!

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Diane Downey and Sheri Menelli specialize in earth-friendly landscaping practices, including vegetable gardening, rainwater capture, soil health, native plants, and efficient irrigation. Diane is a professional landscape designer with over 10 years’ experience, and Sheri is a certified permaculture designer with a six-year-old food forest in her backyard. Combined, they have over two decades of teaching experience. Their classes are taught to the public in the classroom, in the field, and via one-on-one garden coaching sessions.
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