About modifying a soil's content.

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1answer
28 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 ...
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2answers
83 views

What size of rocks are worth sifting out of a garden?

I'm sifting out rocks in my garden, which I'm pretty sure used to be a gravel lot. I'm wanting to grow root vegetables like radishes and carrots, so I don't want them having to push rocks out of the ...
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2answers
43 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 ...
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4answers
392 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 ...
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0answers
32 views

Organic soil/fertilizer setup for container carrots

I am growing 36 carrots in a 18" square container that is 14" deep. I know I have enough room for them but am more worried about whether there will be enough nutrition in the soil to carry them ...
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1answer
56 views

What are the pros and cons of different rock dusts?

Rockdust is powdered rock that helps give plants extra minerals (such as silica for strong leaves and stems), trace minerals, calcium, iron etc. They can increase the soil pH somewhat, too. Rockdust ...
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2answers
323 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 ...
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1answer
53 views

Is it possible to add too much compost?

I'm going to be amending my garden soil soon, after I take care of all the rocks, so I'll be dumping in a lot of compost to fix the horrible clay soil I'm left with. Should I be worried about adding ...
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1answer
457 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 ...
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5answers
337 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 ...
4
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1answer
61 views

I want to lower the pH of my soil around my blueberries without changing the pH of the entire bed

I've got 3 Jersey blueberry shrubs planted in my greenhouse, in the ground. They are 3' wide and 2' tall, producing berries nicely. They'll be bigger in the years to come but this year I planted ...
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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 ...
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5answers
407 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 ...
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2answers
69 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 ...
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2answers
100 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 ...
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4answers
212 views

Improving soil for grass

My lawn is slowly being taken over by clover, I would be ok with this if the clover and the grass embraced diversity, but instead there are patches of one or the other. I understand clover likes soil ...
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3answers
237 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 ...
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1answer
30 views

Is the calcium deposit in my kettle utilized?

Can plants utilize the calcium that sediments in the kettle when water is boiled? Should we be "feeding" it to them?
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2answers
283 views

What is acid soil?

Everyone talks about acid soil, but what does it mean when someone says my soil is acid? How does soil get that way? Is it a good thing? Is it a bad thing?
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2answers
3k views

Should I use aluminum sulfate (sulphate) to acidify my soil?

It is often recommended online or by nurseries to apply aluminum sulfate to plants like blueberries, rhododendrons, azaleas and to hydrangeas to make the flowers blue. Is this advice I should follow? ...
7
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3answers
216 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 ...
3
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1answer
706 views

Adding dirt/soil to a compost bin?

Reading multiple entries here and a few others onlne, I have noticed people writing about using dirt/soil in their compost piles/heaps/bins. I had never heard of putting either dirt or soil in a ...
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5answers
1k views

How can I amend clay soil with soil, without digging?

I live in a USDA hardiness zone 5 temperate area. Our soil is definitely heavy clay. I have bags and bags of dirt that I can use to amend it, but I'm stuck as to how. See, the clay is very heavy, and ...
6
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4answers
119 views

How much ash can I use on a lawn?

On occasion I end up burning some oak branches in my firepit, which gives me some ash that I typically throw out. At times I have heard it may be beneficial to use it in the lawn, although I already ...
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3answers
87 views

Improving the quality of the soil after newspapers laying

Few years ago I covered my backyard garden with thick layer of newpapers to kill the weed. Now I think I might have spoiled the soil and have to do something to change its quality. What should I do ...
6
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1answer
179 views

How do you figure out if you have Rhizobia bacteria in your soil?

I have prepared a leaf-rich garden patch (see here). To promote decomposition of the leaves I have planted a lot of beans and peas to promote nitrogen fixation in the soil. However, I don't know if ...
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3answers
2k views

How can I make a soiless mix for raised beds?

We are making numerous raised beds and have been playing around with various combinations of bagged garden soil, compost, etc. to fill them but this method is both expensive and providing less than ...
4
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1answer
175 views

Why can't you get organic fertilizers in powder form?

I'm just wondering why most of the organic fertilizer are in granules. Yes, fish emulsion is liquid but there are no organic fertilizer is in powder form. Wouldn't it be easier if they crush the ...
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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
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2answers
280 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 ...
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1answer
296 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 ...
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1answer
1k views

Is it too late to add sulfur to my vegetable garden soil?

My soil test from my local county extension office says: Your pH is 7.4 ... You should incorporate sulfur to a depth of 6" at a rate of ½ lb per 100 sq. feet at least 6 weeks before planting in ...
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2answers
847 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?
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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 ...
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3answers
1k views

Placing eggshells on top of potted plants?

In general, is there any benefit (growth, soil quality, etc) if I place eggshells on top of my potted plants? My mother often does it to provide it organic material. She's not much of a scientist. I ...
8
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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 ...
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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
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2answers
704 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
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2answers
2k 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
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3answers
783 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
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3answers
693 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 ...
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3answers
346 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 ...
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3answers
1k views

How deep to dig for a new flowering pear tree?

Last year I planted 3 flowering pear trees. For those who have never heard of the tree (or do not grow these trees) they look like this: For 2 out of the 3 trees it was very simple to plant the ...
10
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1answer
88 views

How do I improve the soil around a plant after it has grown considerably?

We planted a whole bunch of plants and trees when we first moved in, without any consideration for the soil condition. Now that a year has passed, I see some plants are taking off really well and some ...
8
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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 ...