ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Soil is the foundation of a successful garden. It’s not called dirt — that’s a four-letter word in the gardening world!

Scott Baker from Virginia Cooperative Extension in Bedford County joined “All the Dirt” to give us a quick lesson on what makes healthy soil.

Baker says if the soil is healthy, the plants will be healthy and then they’ll be able to grow better and withstand any stresses they may encounter during the growing season.

First, Baker suggests testing your soil. You can get your soil tested through the Virginia Tech Soil Testing Laboratory.

Then comes the question, to till or not to till? Baker Tilling allows you to plow under weeds and smooth out the garden. However, the downside is that it can destroy organic matter fast and breaks up the structure. Baker suggests continuing to add organic matter into your soil such as leaves, shredded newspapers, or compost.

Compost and amendments such as fertilizer and lime also provide nutrients to the soil which will benefit your crops.

Watch the video above to see what healthy soil looks like and to see how WFXR’s Amanda Kenney composts!