What can I add to my garden soil to keep it from drying out?


Our garden is on a south-facing hill and we get a fair amount of wind. While the soil has tested as good+, it is light and dries out quickly. We’re adding compost but wonder if there is something else that would add heft?


David Fuller, Agriculture and Non-Timber Forest Products Professional IV

You are right on about adding compost to your soil as it will help retain moisture and add minor amounts of nutrients. You can add maybe an inch or so of compost; I wouldn’t add more than that. The next thing to do to retain moisture is to add mulch to the surface. The latter can make a big difference in conserving moisture. Some choices are black plastic mulch or an organic mulch like straw (pricey but excellent). You could also use wood shavings, not sawdust.