By David Salman, High Country Gardens Founder & Chief Horticulturist
In the garden, a healthy living soil is the foundation for resilient, vigorous plants. All too often, I see customers load up with lots of plants, but very few soil-building products. As the saying goes, “Don’t plant a $5 tree in a $1 hole.” While the analogy may be dated by today’s pricing, the idea remains relevant whether you are planting a tree, perennial, or bulb: Ensuring healthy soil in your new transplant’s root zone is the key to long-term success.
What is often forgotten is that soil is a living underground ecosystem supporting the plants growing in it. Soil and plants are interdependent in many ways, so to feed your plants, you must feed the soil. I recommend using organic and natural fertilizers and amendments, as nature intended. The result will be a healthy garden that requires less irrigation and less maintenance, rewarding you with thriving plants, colorful flowers, and plenty of pollinating bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Get your hands dirty and enjoy the results!
We recommend using organic and natural fertilizers and amendments, as nature intended. Below, watch our helpful planting video and find David Salman’s top picks for soil amendments.
Yum Yum Mix®
The first and most important thing to do is forget about using peat moss. We’ve been taught from way back that a bale of peat moss is a gardener’s best friend. Wrong! Peat moss is an essential ingredient in soil-less potting mixes, but it has no value when it comes to nourishing the soil. Instead, I use Yum Yum Mix® soil food and top-quality compost as the foundation of my soil preparation.
Invented by a Santa Fe landscaper, this premium fertilizer is unequaled in its ability to help you grow healthy, more colorful plants. Use when transplanting, topdress established plants, or mix into new beds. Blended from the finest natural and organic ingredients to build soil and plant health.
- For xeric (waterwise) plants that prefer growing in a “lean” or infertile soil, I dig in a handful of Yum Yum Mix (or Yum Yum Mix Winterizer if it’s fall) into a nice wide planting hole. I will supplement that with a few tablespoons of Planters II trace mineral fertilizer. This provides an essential boost of trace minerals that many native plants crave and helps to activate the soil’s microorganisms.
- For plants with moderate water needs, I combine the Yum Yum Mix with compost (usually 1 part Yum Yum Mix to 3 parts compost) and work it into a nice wide planting hole. The Planters II should be included as well.