Rich soil crucial for nutrient-packed plants


Did you attend Shelby County Master Gardener Mark Hipple’s soil presentation at the library back in April? If you did, you know that not all dirt is created equal. Good, rich soil is essential for providing plants with needed nutrients.

Just like humans need calcium for strong bones and iron for red blood cells, there are elements that plants cannot do without. The three most important of these are nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Nitrogen promotes good green color and lots of leaf growth, while phosphorous is needed for root growth and seed, fruit and flower formation. Potassium is important for strong stems and fast growth.

Soil also differs in its pH value; it can be either acidic or alkaline. Blueberries require very acidic soil, which is why they are often difficult to grow in this region.

If you don’t know the makeup of your soil, you should consider getting it tested. Soil testing kits are now available at the Shelby County Extension Office at 810 Fair Road. Kits are $11 and will provide you with not only an analysis of your soil composition but also recommendations for soil amendments specific to your individual planting needs.

What does this have to do with The People’s Garden at Agape? Well, we need soil!! We received a very generous truckload of soil from the Sidney Flower Shop several years ago when we were first starting to fill our raised beds. We are literally at the bottom of this donation pile and would love to see our beloved soil mountain grow again.

We got a start with the 30 bags of garden soil donated by the Women’s Committee. We are very appreciative! If you can help us in this cause, please contact Conelia Dixon at 726-9525.

Don’t have a spare truckload of soil but still want to help? The People’s Garden is having our monthly workday, Saturday, June 15, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. As always, tools, water, and snacks will be provided. Come for as long or as little as you would like. Or, just stop by to check out what’s growing in the garden. We always welcome visitors!

We are located at 209 Brooklyn Ave. Find us through the Agape parking lot off of Court Street.

And, if you can’t make it that morning, we will have a table set up at the Backstage Block Party downtown at the Sidney theater, starting at 5 p.m., that evening. Come say hi and find out all the ways that you can help us to grow and build a more vibrant community.

Finally, if you haven’t yet friended us on Facebook, go to, or simply type “Agape People’s Garden” into the Facebook search bar to follow our page and get regular garden updates and find about upcoming workdays.

We really want to make this garden project a community-wide effort! See you soon!

By Conelia Dixon

Contributing columnist

The writer is a Master Gardener and a coordinator of the People’s Garden. Reach her at 937-726-9525.

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