Q: My perennial garden has poor, sandy soil. Should I try to enrich the soil now or wait till spring?
A: Organic matter is great for improving both sandy and heavy clay soil, and fall is the best time to add it. You have all winter for the organic matter to break down and enrich the soil.
Probably the easiest way is to just spread a half-inch or an inch of compost on top of the soil. You don’t even have to work it in. The microorganisms and earthworms will incorporate it into the soil for you. Keep doing that every fall, and you’ll be amazed at the difference it will make in just a few years.
If you don’t have access to compost, you can use other organic matter such as shredded leaves, grass clippings or well-aged manure (but not pet waste). Don’t use weeds or diseased plant material.
You can add about 3 inches of that organic matter to the garden. Mix it into the top layer of soil, but be careful not to disturb the existing roots.
Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.