Creating perfect garden soil isn’t something you do once and it's perfect forever! Maintaining healthy soil is an ongoing job, but one that's well worth it. Here’s some advice on how to create healthy soil and keep it that way over time. It is all about keeping the soil topped up with organic matter and avoiding compaction.


Rich, healthy soil takes work - but it's worth it when you reap the gardening rewards!


7 top tips on how to create healthy garden soil and keep it that way year-round

  • Dig in organic matter regularly to boost nutrients, for example aged compost or well-rotted manure. If the soil is too hard to dig, lay organic matter on the surface and wait for it to break down.
  • Always allow soil to rest for a week or more before planting, to allow the added material to begin to break down. Ideally, leave soil for 4-6 weeks where lots of organic matter has been added. Don’t allow the roots of new plantings to come in contact with manure or fertiliser - these substances can burn.
  • Regularly use a seaweed-based product such as Seasol or Seamungus to condition soil. Seaweed concentrates are full of micronutrients which help to improve soil's structure and stimulate the growth of beneficial microorganisms. They also make a great plant health tonic which you can apply at the time of planting and regularly afterward. Click here to learn more about the difference between seaweed concentrates and fertilisers.
  • Apply an advanced biological formula such as Neutrog Popul8 to enhance the soil’s microbiome – filling it with good bacteria so there's no room for the bad guys! This not only improves overall soil health but combats unwanted organisms such as pests.
  • Cover bare soil with a thin layer of either organic mulch such as composted bark, compost, sugar cane or lucerne, or inorganic mulch such as fine gravel. This will help to protect it from extremes of temperature, drying out and weed growth. Top up organic mulches regularly as they break down. Well-mulched soil also encourages earthworm activity, which in turn helps the soil. Click here for a guide to mulching your garden.
  • Keep an eye on your soil's drainage and avoid walking on or digging in soil that is overly wet. Wait until it has started to dry out before digging or planting. Soil that becomes regularly waterlogged may need surface drains to divert water or subsurface drains to help remove water.
  • Avoid bringing in new garden soil where possible. It is almost always better to build up and improve the soil you already have with home-made compost or organic materials.


Keep your soil healthy, moist and well-mulched and you might spot some of these guys.


How to test your soil

There are two tests you can carry out on your own soil to better understand its needs. One test reveals the soil’s pH; the other, which is completed by a laboratory, provides a breakdown of its nutrients and what’s lacking. You can also test your soil to work out its composition. Test your soil regularly so that you know what it needs, rather than just guessing!

  • Soil pH testing gives fast, at-home results to reveal levels of acidity or alkalinity in the soil. If your soil is too acidic for your plants (ie low pH), treat with garden lime. If soil is too alkaline (ie high pH), treat with iron chelate or aluminium sulfate. You can purchase simple, fast and accurate soil pH tests from Flower Power.
  • CSC Complete Soil Check Kit – this is a professional laboratory test that will tell you exactly what your soil has too much or not enough of and provide recommendations for next steps. Buy the test kit at Flower Power and follow the instructions to send your sample to the lab.
  • One-step soil type testing – a simple DIY process as detailed here. If your soil is too sandy, add plenty of organic matter to create a sandy loam. If your soil is clay-based, add a clay breaker such as gypsum to create a clay loam.


A mouldable, crumbly loam texture is the gold standard for healthy garden soil.


Where can I get healthy soil essentials?

Now that you've learned how to create healthy soil, you can pick up everything your garden needs at your local Flower Power Garden Centre, or online at