1
vote
1answer
21 views

Amending a barren yard with compost: dedicated weed barrier or no?

I've got a pretty typically barren New Mexico (zone 7a) yard, and I'm thinking of trying some intensive amendment to control weeds, improve the soil, and add some visual interest. What I've read here ...
2
votes
1answer
16 views

How far down do I need to dig when sifting out rocks from a garden?

I'm still working on sifting through an area of my backyard in order to make a garden for next year. I'm pretty sure it used to be a gravel lot, since all the rocks are the ones found in gravel ...
8
votes
4answers
359 views

Do any plants add nutrients back into the soil as they grow?

It seems reasonable that there ought to be at least a few symbiotic plant varieties that benefit from improving soil condition for other plants. If not that, are there plants that essentially improve ...
4
votes
2answers
317 views

May have planted my tree wrong… is it too late to dig it up and replant it?

I live in climate zone 7a in New Mexico, and I planted a pear tree in my backyard three days ago. Following the directions on the tag, I dug a hole twice the diameter and depth of the root ball and ...
6
votes
1answer
277 views

Does a pine needle mulch make your soil acidic?

This article from Colorado State University states that alkaline soils resist change but several years of heavy pine needle applications would create a somewhat more acid soil. This article ...
4
votes
5answers
316 views

Would it be better for me to set up my garden in the fall, or wait until spring?

I recently moved into a house with a yard, and am eager to start getting a garden started. The ground here isn't really clay, but it's not really dirt that I would want to use for gardening. It's ...
3
votes
1answer
69 views

How can I improve the soil in a new allotment, which is covered in wild grass?

I am in the process of getting hold of a standard style UK allotment, 10 poles or about 10x25m (2722.5 sq. ft., .052 acres) The plot will be covered mostly in wild tall grasses, and is likely to have ...
3
votes
5answers
392 views

What is the advantage of a raised bed over clay soil vs just amending the clay soil?

Assuming: There are no tree roots or moles around to worry about. I am young and don't mind bending over the extra 6-12 inches. What is the advantage of building a raised bed vs just heavily ...
2
votes
1answer
50 views

Should I do a soil test before or after amending soil?

I want to plant blackberries, raspberries, and a vegetable garden in the heavy clay soil in my backyard. So, I plan to heavily amend it by spreading 3" expanded shale and 6" of compost and working ...
3
votes
2answers
91 views

Does peat moss negate the effects of perlite?

I am repurposing a fire pit into a raised garden bed. From my readings, it seems like the popular soil mixes for raised garden beds include peat moss, compost, topsoil, and vermiculite. I have the ...
2
votes
3answers
232 views

What is the scientific term that describes soil that resists water?

I know this is an odd one, but I know there is a special word that horticulturists use to describe soil that is so arid that it resists water. So, when it rains, the water initially rushes off of the ...
6
votes
3answers
210 views

How to improve coral atoll “soils”

My Parents are currently living on a small pacific coral atoll. Coral atolls, for the most part don't have much soil. Mostly they just have coral sands. These "soils" are very well drained (and they ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the steps to prepare an overgrown, grassy area for gardening?

We have an area that we attempt to use for gardening every year. It makes a nice garden area of about 10 feet wide by 20 feet deep. It will probably end up being the subject of several questions. ...
6
votes
2answers
276 views

How can mushrooms be used to enhance a vegetable garden?

I have read in various places that mushrooms in lawns are an indication of woody compostable material that is being eaten by the mushrooms and that the by-product of this process will be additional ...
9
votes
1answer
288 views

Why is it bad to mix layers of soil if you do it once at the start?

In the answer @bstpierre gave to this question on ammending soil he mentioned mixing layers of soil during double digging is a bad idea. I was wondering why is this? I imagine mixing the layers at ...
6
votes
2answers
838 views

When dealing with soil mixture and compost ratios, are you supposed to go by volume or weight?

I found what looks like a good raised vegetable garden soil mixture: 1/3 top soil, 1/3 compost manure, and 1/3 peat moss. Should I go by weight or volume?
9
votes
2answers
7k views

What techniques can be used to manually sieve stones from the soil efficiently?

After our house was built there is quite a bit of hardfill (river pebbles) mixed up with the topsoil around the section (approx 180sq.m.). We want to level the section, and loosen the top layer of ...
8
votes
4answers
8k views

How do I improve drainage vertically through clayey soil?

I live on a hill where the soil has lots of clay. My back garden has been terraced with small (1m) retaining walls. The net result is that we have several lawns / gardens with the following ...
15
votes
2answers
6k views

Is it really important to give blueberry plants acidic soil?

I have two blueberry bushes which I planted at the end of the summer. Although I had read online that they prefer acidic soil, I didn't have the time to check the pH of our soil, and go out to buy ...
7
votes
2answers
692 views

How can I clean up soil mixed with spruce needles?

I have some garden soil that has decaying spruce needles mixed through it. What should I do to the soil in order to grow vegetables in it normally?
13
votes
2answers
1k views

My garden soil is devoid of nutrients, how should I improve it this winter?

The garden area in my yard has soil that even the weeds don't particularly love to grow in during the summer. They will make a half hearted attempt in the winter, but it definitely isn't as lush as ...
9
votes
3answers
725 views

Is it safe to change the entire soil surrounding the roots?

Usually when you buy plants from the store, the soil type might not be suitable to them. Is it safe to change the soil completely? I mean to remove all the soil around most of the roots, then put it ...
10
votes
3answers
670 views

Is charcoal good for use as a soil amendment?

I came across an article the other day on wikipedia about Terra preta. Has anyone used charcoal like this to enhance sandy soil, like we have in Florida? Does this really work, and what is the best ...
10
votes
3answers
339 views

How should I improve my extremely clayey soil?

I live in North Carolina and the soil here has an extremely high clay content. I have used soil conditioner that consists of composted pine fines to amend the soil. It does an excellent job of ...
8
votes
3answers
6k views

Can I grow a fruit bearing pistachio tree?

I live in Zone 7 in Northwest texas. It's pretty dry here and the soil is mostly hard clay. I'm very interested in growing fruit bearing pistachio trees, but haven't been able to find any local ...