Getting the Dirt on Gardening and Soil Contaminants in Winnipeg

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Spring is here, and if you love to garden, now is your time to shine! While anyone can enjoy gardening, it’s important to keep several things in mind when working with soil and organic matter in Winnipeg.

At Green Drop, we know the importance of soil health and safety and are here to share it with you.

Fresh grass growing out of healthy soil
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A Beautiful Garden Starts with Good Soil

The health of your garden starts with the health of your soil. No matter what kind of plants you’re trying to grow, they need moist, fertile soil with plenty of oxygen and organic matter. Let’s take a look at the components of good soil:

  • Minerals like calcium, manganese, and nitrogen
  • Water
  • Oxygen
  • Microorganisms
  • Organic matter

Healthy soil drains well, has few weeds, and is packed with all the good stuff—microorganisms that break down organic matter into usable molecules. It's also loamy and porous, with good tilth that allows grass roots to penetrate deeply.

Is My Yard’s Soil Suitable for Gardening?

Before heading out to your yard with gloves and a trowel, it’s important to make sure your soil can support flowering or vegetable-producing plants (if it doesn’t, don’t worry; we can always help you with that). Here’s how to know if your soil is suitable for gardening:

  • It has a dark brown or black colour
  • You can easily push a spade through the ground
  • It feels lightweight and spongy
  • It’s evenly moist without being waterlogged
  • You see plenty of earthworms and small insects
  • Plants growing in the soil are strong and healthy
Plowed field next to grass field
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What Is Soil Contamination?

Soil contamination occurs when harmful substances and even some organic compounds make their way into soil and are present in large amounts.

Other contaminants, like petroleum, are the byproduct of human activities like driving and manufacturing. Here are some other common ways that soil can become polluted:

  • Improper disposal of hazardous waste
  • Improper fertilizer and pesticide application
  • Winter salt runoff
  • Mining
  • Accidental spills
  • Livestock breeding
  • Wastewater management
  • Corrosion of underground equipment

Testing Your Soil

To get a complete breakdown of your soil and how much of each critical component it contains, you need a soil test. This involves taking a sample of your soil and sending it to a laboratory to assess its pH level, nutrient and water content, and how much organic matter it has.

Ideally, your soil pH should be between 6.5 and 7.0, which is mostly neutral. You don't want soil that is too acidic or alkaline since many plants prefer one or the other. Neutral soil works for most plants and is easier to take care of.

Can Soil Be Decontaminated?

The answer is it depends. Some contaminants can be treated with special bacteria that break down the harmful substance into inert compounds that pose no health risks to humans, plants, or animals. This is called bioremediation and can be used to reduce contamination.

Person gardening with a small rake
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How to Maintain Healthy Soil for Better Gardening In Winnipeg

We’ve talked about testing your soil; now, let’s move to what you can do next. Here are some tips specifically tailored for Winnipeg's climate:


Mulching helps retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. In Winnipeg's climate, where summers can be hot and dry and winters cold, mulching is particularly important. You can use organic materials like straw, wood chips, or shredded leaves.

Water Right

We’re always talking about watering wisely, and for good reason. There’s a science to watering properly. Water deeply but infrequently to encourage deep root growth. Water in the early morning or late evening to minimise the chances of evaporation. We want the water to really get in there (the roots). Consider installing drip irrigation or soaker hoses to deliver water directly to the roots.

Practice Rotation

Rotate your plants each season to prevent the depletion of specific nutrients and reduce the buildup of pests in the soil. This also helps maintain soil structure and fertility over time.

Avoid Compaction

Minimise foot traffic to prevent soil compaction. Compacted soil restricts root growth and inhibits water and air infiltration.

Encourage Soil Life

If you see bugs in your soil, don’t freak out—this is good news! Healthy soil is teeming with beneficial organisms like earthworms, bacteria, and fungi. We want these little guys scurrying about. Avoid using harsh control methods that can harm these organisms. Instead, use organic pest control methods and fertilizers that promote soil health.


Start a compost bin to recycle kitchen scraps, yard waste, and other organic materials into nutrient-rich compost. Adding compost to your soil improves its structure, fertility, and ability to retain moisture.

Keep Monitoring Soil Health

Regularly assess your soil's moisture levels, texture, and appearance. Adjust your gardening practices to maintain optimal soil health throughout the growing season.

By following these tips and practices, you can maintain healthy soil in your Winnipeg garden, ensuring better plant growth and productivity year after year.

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Explore Green Drop’s Lawn Care Services

Green Drop knows the importance of healthy soil. That’s why we offer SoilBooster™, a nutrient-rich solution with more than 70 critical minerals that revitalize your lawn and help it thrive even in difficult conditions.

Our state-of-the-art, all-natural formula is safe for kids, pets, and the ecosystem, giving you peace of mind that your lush lawn doesn't come at the cost of your family’s health or the environment. We combine this technology with lawn aeration, overseeding, and lawn fertilizer services for the best results.

Book a SoilBooster™ service for your Winnipeg lawn. Our lawn care experts also serve Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Regina, Saskatoon, and surrounding areas.

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