Keys to a Fruitful Garden

179219202 websiteSave money in the long run and give yourself a garden space that you’ll enjoy for years to come by taking care of the three basic foundations needed for a successful landscape: good drainage, soil and irrigation.


Without good drainage, plant roots rot, house foundations suffer, mold and moss grow, and the garden may become a muddy mess to walk through. 

There are two types of drainage systems: surface and subterranean. Proper surface drainage will prevent excess water that ponds on the site. Most of the time in San Diego, surface drains are enough, but subterranean drainage is sometimes necessary to maintain good soil, provide increased aeration in the root zone and deepen the root zone.

If you have yellow or thin spots in your lawn, yellowing plant life, water stains on fences or water that stays pooled a day after it has rained, your drainage system is probably not working at its best capacity.


A garden planted in good soil is like a home built on a strong foundation. If your soil is properly and thoroughly prepared, a new garden will mature quickly and stay healthy for years to come with a lot less work on your part.

Most of San Diego’s soil comes from an ocean-floor stratum that hasn’t seen the light of day for millions of years until some builder comes along with a bulldozer. This means the soil usually has a high salt content and a definitive lack of organic materials and needs help to reach its potential.

The first step in preparing the soil is an on-site analysis to check its texture and Ph level. The next step is to till in amendments such as organic compost, peat moss, bone and blood meal, time-released or organic fertilizers and gypsum. Depending on how hard the soil is, adding amendments can require shoveling, jackhammering or even using a small bobcat.


Applying the right amount of water to your plants at the right time is at the heart of our arid-climate challenge. Each part of your garden has a small but important microclimate. Therefore, each area should be watered with a separate circuit of irrigation. In summer, the garden’s shady north side might be watered every fourth day, while the southern side might be watered every other day. The irrigation circuits and valves also should be divided by plant type, because plants have varying water needs.


Harry Thompson
Torrey Pines Landscape Company
5560 Eastgate Mall
San Diego, CA 92166

Categories: Gardening