All the food that we eat grows from the soil or relies on earth to provide their food. Soil is vital to our lives so it is vital that we look after it. It is home for many animals who dig tunnels to make a place to shelter or those like the earthworm who passes the soil through its body breaking it up and making it crumbly and diggable. To grow any plants our soil needs to be good condition, full of the nutrients to enable plants to grow strong and healthy. There are many ways to keep a soil in good condition.
You can make your own compost or buy it, making your own is easy if you have space to you need a container to keep it in, two if you can fit them in, once one is to full leave to break down and start filling the other one. You can put so many things in a compost bin, it is a good way to reduce your rubbish for a start, this is a good list for a start if you are not sure what to put in it.
If you know some one that keeps horses they are likely to have loads of horse manure which is great for the garden they usually have so much that they give it away for free provided you can take it away!
If you do not have room for compost bins you could create or buy a small Wormery which are amazing at producing wonderful compost for the garden, ours also produces liquid as well which is a great fertiliser.
You can also make your own liquid fertiliser in a bucket using the leaves of plants such as comfrey, nettles or dandelions. These can get very smelly whilst they are brewing so it is a good idea to find something to use as a lid for the bucket. You add water and make a tea which you need to strain and use to fertilise established plants, it will be too strong for seedlings.
I have also used rock dust in my garden with some success it adds minerals and trace elements to the soil to improve the long term health of your soil.
If you don't fancy any of these methods then of course there is always chemical fertilisers. I have never been able to comprehend the use of these. If you have ever driven past a field that is barren, devoid of all plants not even weeds, it is highly likely that there are no nutrients left in the soil. They have been stripped due to fertiliser use and now nothing will grow on the soil unless you continue to apply fertiliser. It is not only the soil that is effected by the use of fertilisers much research has been carried out into the effect of its use on bees which are a vital part of our ecosystem, and the European Union has voted to ban the use of some of these. I am sure that Rachel Carson is turning in her grave as little has changed since she wrote about the worrying increase in the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides in 1962.