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

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4
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2answers
111 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
124 views

What is the proper soil type for Aloe?

I have a couple aloe plants that don't seem to be really growing much. I'm pretty sure it's because I never bothered to look up what soil they really need and have just been keeping them in potting ...
3
votes
1answer
514 views

What evergreens will tolerate alkaline clay soil in USDA zone 4?

Although the area where I live is famed for it's white pine they grow in sandy soils. My garden has a thin skim of topsoil over six feet of compact alkaline (ph 7) clay. My dwarf white pine is doing ...
2
votes
1answer
61 views

What is the ideal state of symbiotic balance in soil called?

I have been looking into organic gardening recently and I remember seeing something that I found very interesting. It had to do with the soil being in perfect balance with bacteria, insects, and the ...
1
vote
1answer
54 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
13k views

Does commercial (bagged) soil eventually expire/die?

I have several piles of commercial, bagged top soil and potting mix that have been lying in my garage for at least 10 years. I'm doing some renovations and can really use some extra soil for some new ...
7
votes
1answer
7k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
232 views

Can the castor oil plant (Ricinus communis) build up toxicity in my soils?

I am doing some experimentation with Ricinus communis, which I know contains the toxin Ricin. Through my own experience and research I am not concerned with interacting with the plant or touching it. ...
3
votes
2answers
357 views

Can I use cedar hog fuel instead of clean fill to bring up my soil line?

I have a really uneven property, but I'm not a big fan of clean fill. Can I use cedar hog fuel instead of the fill? My plan is put around 12"- 24" of cedar hog fuel and put on the top about 6"-12" of ...
4
votes
2answers
451 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
707 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
4k views

How can I prevent stones from rising to the soil surface each year?

My allotment has a lot of flint stone (UK, Bucks area). I am preparing the beds for the first time, and have been reducing the amount of stone as much as possible by raking and removing stones as I ...
3
votes
1answer
112 views

What soil problem would cause fruit and vegetable to grow very small?

One that is lawn clipping compost with a pH 6.0 where everything grows pretty well. The other garden is 40cm deep of supposedly Rich Organic Garden Soil but has a pH of 7.0. The only things that grow ...
3
votes
2answers
174 views

Wooden containers finished with Danish Oil- should I line them?

I have some wooden wine boxes that I am going to use for lettuces. I am using Danish Oil to finish the boxes (two coats) so they can be a bit waterproofed. I might also add some corner reinforcements. ...
1
vote
0answers
63 views

What area is needed to sustain a person for a year? [closed]

I was wondering, what area space (m²) do I need to plant rice/bean in order to sustain one person for a year?
6
votes
1answer
166 views

Requirements for successful Blueberry bush planting

We tried planting Blueberries last year, and went 0 for 3. We tried to follow the instructions: Planted in a mix of 50/50 mulch and organic gardening soil Watered infrequently but heavily (1/week, ...
2
votes
1answer
316 views

Does aerating water to raise the pH in nutrient solutions work well?

As anyone who has ever had to tend to a pool painfully discovered, aerating water causes the oxygen to react with something and raise the pH. From what I have read it converts contents of the water ...
5
votes
3answers
92 views

Transplanting into seedling starter?

I have four apple tree seedlings that are in one pot and they're getting too big to get enough light for each of them. I have some pots that I bought to transplant them, but I bought some of this. ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

What are the pros/cons of different mulches?

I know there will be differing opinions on this subject, from different people. I, for one, have always used bark mulch, and can attest to the fact that when used properly, it will build soil and grow ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

What do people mean when they talk about soil going sour?

I've read a couple answers that have mentioned soil going sour. I've gathered that it's a bad thing, but what does it mean when soil goes sour? What causes it to sour?
5
votes
2answers
81 views

Is there an accurate way to test a mixture of multiple soils?

Last night I started putting together a mixture of soil for blueberry plants. This mixture includes: top-soil garden soil organic mushroom compost sphagnum moss (I also have ...
3
votes
2answers
189 views

What should I do about landscape rocks in my garden plot?

I have a brand new house and garden plot; it is currently sod so I have to dig it this first year and amend the soil. I have run into a section that seems like it used to be a rock path or drive way, ...
2
votes
2answers
178 views

Do herbs grown in containers need to be repotted?

I'm trying to grow some herbs (basil, coriander, and chives) in pots on my kitchen windowsill. This seems to work pretty well for a while, but usually they die after a little bit (well, the basil ...
2
votes
2answers
193 views

Protecting the soil with a layer of Granite or Stone

I did not find any information on the web about this. I am currently thinking about protecting the soil of several pots on my west Germany southside balcony before the sun and any kind of stranger ...
6
votes
1answer
849 views

Why do blueberries need acidic soil?

I know that blueberries need soil in the range of ph 4-5, but no one ever says why they need the pH in that range. I've heard that it may be because of a lack of available iron at higher pH, and that ...
3
votes
1answer
92 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
85 views

What is the optimal raised bed depth for Brassicas?

I built two large raised beds in my new garden, but couldn't manage to fill them to the top. The bottom is closed with cardboard and has a layer of prunings and hay 1-3 cm deep. I planted anyway 10 ...
3
votes
2answers
997 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
375 views

What insects killed this red cabbage?

Watering the lettuces, I spotted a Red Cabbage head leaning sideways on the ground. On close inspection, here's what I saw: Three little worm-like bugs having a feast of the bottom of the stalk of ...
1
vote
3answers
185 views

What is this houseplant, and why has it been dropping leaves?

I bought this plant from Ikea about 1 year ago. Everything was fine until I decided to move it to a larger pot. I used soil for vegetables and I don't think the she likes it... the leafs started ...
6
votes
2answers
205 views

Do nutrients always flow downward in soil?

I've been reading and watching planting techniques. Many people place fertilizer at the bottom of the planting hole before putting in the plant. The first example is from Osmocote's fertilizer ...
4
votes
3answers
484 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
619 views

Can Thuja trees live in a “square foot garden” style container?

I have a number of young Thuja trees that I would like to grow outside my porch. However, I live in student housing and we're forbidden from altering the outside area, so I don't like the idea of ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I get a map of my plot of land for planning purposes?

I'm studying permaculture and I would like to design before I start doing anything. Is there any software that could give me a map of my plot of land, like from Google maps or from sigpac in Spain? ...
7
votes
4answers
707 views

Does soil need sunlight?

My plan is to keep garden fabric on my vegetable garden year round to keep the weeds down (especially in the spring before planting) but my in-laws claimed it's bad for the soil. I would put the new ...
7
votes
1answer
360 views

Why is the soil shrinking in my backyard?

In the last 6 months the level of the soil in my back yard has dropped 4-6 inches exposing all the sprinkler heads and tree roots. Whats going on?
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the purpose of mixing native soil with store bought soil?

Question On most store-bought soil, it gives instructions to mix the soil with equal parts of your native soil. Why should I create a mixture instead of using the store-bought soil purely? Anecdote ...
11
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
481 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

What is a recipe for a long-lasting, fast draining container soil mix with good aeration?

I'm interested in making my own container soil for some potted citrus and figs as well as something that'll work for other house plants. I've heard of Al's Gritty Mix. Does anyone have a mix that's ...
9
votes
1answer
454 views

My lawn is full of wild strawberries. What else can thrive in my soil?

My lawn seems to have more wild strawberries than grass (especially in the shady areas), which means it needs some work. But if it can support strawberries, there must be some great fruits/vegetables/...
1
vote
3answers
52 views

How do I determine soil moisture based on information from online weather systems?

I want to build an automatic garden/lawn watering system based on a small computer. The system is connected to the Internet and is able to learn the current weather conditions and the short-term ...
2
votes
1answer
196 views

What can I use a bag of sterilised loam for?

At the back of my greenhouse I have a bag of pale brown crumbly earth labelled "Sterilised Loam". I'm not really sure what sterilised loam is. I never bought the stuff and I can't remember where it ...
3
votes
2answers
488 views

Does new lawn/sod need aeration?

I recently bought a house and am new to gardening and lawn care. Some guys stopped by and asked me if I need "aeration service." I was wondering if I need it for my new lawn/sod. I still don't see the ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I correct a nutrient excess in soil?

The soil sample I took last fall from my vegetable garden came back from the lab with this result: Optimum Range Calcium, Mehlich 3 (Ca) 2063 (...
10
votes
2answers
745 views

Why use potting mix instead of natural soil?

Being a layman who is thinking of starting to garden in the yard I have a question in mind. Why does one need to buy potting mix and why not use natural soil for gardening? I live in Melbourne ...
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vote
2answers
65 views

Portable Soil and Compost Testing Kit

I am growing vegetables. I need soil and compost testing kits for Soil Ph, SOil EC and compost nutrients test. Can any one suggest me, which instruments will be good with reasonable price. Thank ...
3
votes
2answers
578 views

Does working leftover grass into your soil do anything?

I have a couple bags of grass shavings leftover from mowing the lawn and was wondering if I work the grass into the soil would that accomplish anything meaningful?
8
votes
2answers
429 views

Top Dressing: When and How

I recently started composting, and I was reading about top-dressing. Two questions I have about top-dressing are: Is there a maximum to it? Most of my reading suggests up to once a year max. Do I ...