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There are a few basics we need to make our garden grow—namely sun, water, and dirt. But to grow strong and verdant plants, you need the right soil.

So much of our garden’s health starts at the soil level, from the plants we can grow to the way they bloom and bear fruit. And yet, if you ask the average gardener what kind of soil is present or if a particular fertilizer is being used, you’re often met with blank stares.

And no wonder.

Soil isn’t something most plant parents understand or pay attention to. And while you can’t control many of the conditions in your garden (think weather to aphids), soil health is one of the few things you can manage—especially when it comes to improving it.