The growing medium for plants, primarily consisting of rock fragments, organic material, water, and organisms.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

8
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
246 views

soil testing, what tools would you suggest

I have a large pile of ashes from burning leaves, wood, limbs, pine straw etc, and I've read that ash can be helpful to plants if my soil pH is not over 7.5. My questions is, how would you recommend ...
8
votes
4answers
10k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
482 views

Stones in my plot

I have a plot that I would like to do an orchard, the problem is that there are too many stones, I was looking for solutions and the only thing I found is a stone removing machine, but I think it's ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is it a problem to use manure as a fertilizing amendment over the long term?

I had my soil tested last fall. As part of the submission I checked the box that said I use manure as a soil amendment / fertilizer. In the results from the lab, they included a note that said that ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the difference between compost and soil?

This question has been asked many times on the net and the information provided is unreliable and mostly wrong. What I am aiming to understand is what is lacking in compost that we can't just add it ...
7
votes
1answer
344 views

How is 'gardening soil' made?

Typical garden soil from the garden centre has a perfect black colour, with additions like peat, fertilizers, and so called 'soil improvers'. Can someone explain to me what the process is of making ...
3
votes
2answers
142 views

What should I be doing one month out to prepare garden beds for spring?

Woo-hoo! Starting to get excited... it will soon be spring again and looking ready to growing some good food. Our spring begins in September which is about 5 weeks away so I am interested in finding ...
6
votes
1answer
182 views

Is it okay to have bonfires on my dormant garden bed?

Is it ok to have bonfires on my garden bed when I'm not growing anything? Should I do anything special with the aftermath or just rake it into the soil?
3
votes
1answer
152 views

Will vegetables grown where tobacco stems were chopped into the soil have any traces of nicotine?

My neighbor, while spreading a thick layer of tobacco stems across his pasture (I have no idea what for), got quite a few into my garden. I tried to remove it, but somehow a good amount has been ...
7
votes
1answer
568 views

How much soil do I need on top of my hugelkultur beds?

I'm building a bunch of hugelkultur beds from the blowdowns, branches, trimmings, and sticks we have scattered around the property. This weekend I built a 20' long, 5' wide, 2-3' high pile of (mostly ...
6
votes
1answer
250 views

Should I fertilize my tulips in the spring?

I planted some tulip bulbs outside last fall for the first time. We had a week of warm weather last week and they're coming up nicely. Is there anything I should do to ensure a nice bloom? More ...
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. ...
5
votes
1answer
231 views

How much additional fertilizer should I add to a vegetable garden?

I'm beginning to prepare the soil for my vegetable garden. Overall, it's clay-type soil, and I've added some of the leaves from last fall and the grass clippings from last year into the soil and ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Can I make my own seed raising mix?

From what I understand there is something in seed raising mix that increases the chance of germination and I guess the rest is stuff that helps feed a seedling. What is there in seed raising mix that ...
9
votes
1answer
320 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 ...
13
votes
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 ...
10
votes
1answer
123 views

When is the earliest that I can safely add worms to my garden?

I live in northern Indiana and it is currently snowing. I want to add worms to my garden. Should I wait for it to warm up, start raining, or what?
9
votes
1answer
116 views

Where should I get my garden soil tested?

This spring, I plan on growing vegetables on land that is new to me. How do I find a lab to test my soil? Will some labs give me information that others might not? Also, how much can I expect to pay ...
13
votes
1answer
885 views

What are the ideal soil conditions for planting giant sequoia saplings?

I've already germinated giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) seeds for 6 weeks. What's the ideal soil conditions for planting the saplings?
7
votes
2answers
307 views

Is the “Paris Market” carrot a good variety for clay-rich soil?

I have tried growing carrots now and then, but they were always twisting around all of the rocks and squeezing through the clay, and I basically got a bad crop of strong flavored, tough carrots that ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is there concrete buried across my entire backyard?

As I was planting a few fruit trees last weekend, I discovered an odd and very annoying phenomenon. About 6" down from ground level, I ran across a 2" layer of really crumbly concrete/gravel mixture. ...
6
votes
2answers
957 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?
11
votes
1answer
374 views

What type of tester works best for measuring soil pH?

I want to measure the pH of soil in my potted plants (especially for the dwarf citrus trees that I just bought). I've seen many different options: expensive laboratory-grade meters, cheap digital ...
11
votes
3answers
390 views

What should I do if the soil shrinks and separates from the flowerpot walls?

Recently we relocated a cactus into a new flowerpot. When it was planted the soil would evenly occupy the flowerpot and adjoin the flowerpot side walls. The soil isn't cactus soil, but just regular ...
6
votes
3answers
414 views

Is it safe to handle soil with our bare hands?

Is it 100% safe to handle the soil by bare hands? Would any toxic insect hide inside the soils?
2
votes
1answer
2k views

How is nutritional value in fruit and vegetables measured?

We often read in books and Wikipedia that certain fruits or vegetables contain certain amount of vitamins, minerals and other elements. An example can be seen on Beetroot in the box with nutritional ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Will leveling uneven lawns with extra sand kill future lawns?

I just removed my old front stoop: it was a wall of field stone, filled with a layer of pea stone and 2x8x8 cubic feet of sand, and finally covered by slate. I want to level my very uneven lawn with ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Do legumes provide nitrogen to their companions?

It's common knowledge that legumes (clover, beans, etc) can (with the help of Rhizobium bacteria) fix nitrogen from the air and hold it in the soil. Much is made of this fact -- advice that we should ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Is it safe to eat fruits and vegetables planted in a pet cemetery?

Are there any safety concerns in eating fruit and veggies from plants that have been growing where dead pets have been buried? Not a full blown pet cemetery, but a small and intimate location in the ...
7
votes
2answers
759 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?
9
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
499 views

Do I need to correct the pH of my newly re-potted citrus tree?

I tried my hand at making my own soil for my citrus tree re potting. See below for the long story reasoning. I mixed EKO store bought (I live in an apartment) organic compost with coco coir and ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Will dumping paint destroy a nearby tree?

One of my neighbors complained that another neighbor killed a tree in front of her home by dumping paint in the soil. (Never mind that his trees are fine and there seems no way the paint could be ...
17
votes
2answers
923 views

Nothing will grow where tree was

Back in the spring we cut down a fruitless mulberry and hired someone to come grind the stump. When they were leaving they informed me that they poured a chemical into the hole where the remaining ...
14
votes
1answer
433 views

Can I fix a garden tilled too early?

I've never been totally successful in waiting till the exact opportune moment to till my garden and I don't suppose that I ever will be. I usually till my garden once or twice and when I'm ready to ...
11
votes
1answer
289 views

Are all kinds of earthworms good for the soil?

A few days ago, I found a tiny (1cm in length) earthworm inside my pot. In general, earthworms are beneficial in improving soil fertility. Are all kinds of earthworms good for the soil?
8
votes
2answers
183 views

What special steps should I take to prepare my garden for fall planting?

I am starting to think and plan out my fall/winter garden. I am looking at trying to plant some crops that will be overwintered and some crops that I can harvest before spring. What special steps ...
13
votes
1answer
228 views

Is triple digging worth the backache in temperate biomes?

I read in Tips for the Lazy Gardener that gardens in drier parts of Africa can be triple dug (as opposed to double dug, or as I prefer, barely dug) which will somehow absorb more water during the ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Can we take out the whole root of Aloe Vera and replant it during transplant?

I bought a Aloe Vera in a shop a year ago and I just use the pot that came with it, so obviously I don't know what is in the soil and their components. Yesterday I felt that I should transplant the ...
11
votes
2answers
227 views

What plants take easily to clay soils?

I live in central Scotland, which is a bit damp, and the soil in my garden, despite years of aerating, adding sand etc is still quite a thick clay soil. When it is sunny I get sun all day long, so ...
13
votes
1answer
311 views

What are the primary nutrients utilized by plants beyond NPK?

When talking about soil and fertilizers, what are the primary nutrients in addition to NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) that play a major role in plant development?
13
votes
2answers
521 views

What is in seed starting soil that justifies wearing gloves while handling?

I was adding miracle-gro seed starting soil to paper pots with my daughter a few months ago and was a little leery about letting her touch the stuff (let alone breathe it in). What's in it that is ...