Questions tagged [soil-amendment]

About modifying a soil's content.

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24
votes
4answers
22k 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 ...
20
votes
10answers
9k views

Amending clay soil on a large scale

What would be the best way to amend clay soil on half an acre? We want to grow our usual garden plants like tomatoes, cucumbers and such but the soil on the land we just bought is small rocks and clay....
20
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
11k 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
717 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
12k 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
44k views

Why it is bad to add sand to soil?

Motivation: this comment from stormy: And DO NOT ADD SAND to garden soil!!! ARRRGGHH. Again, when one takes clay soil, gravel, lime, gypsum, water and then ROTATE what does one get? Concrete. Sand ...
15
votes
4answers
19k 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 ...
14
votes
9answers
13k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
59k 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?
14
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
50k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
6k 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 tree ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

Will applying twenty year old cow manure hurt my vegetable garden?

I'm cleaning out my barn. It's old cow manure that's been in there for 20 years. I put a bunch of it on the garden, which has clay soil. I'm growing tomatoes, peppers and onions. Will this hurt my ...
13
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
130 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 ...
11
votes
11answers
43k views

Should I have added dead leaves directly to my garden?

With all the fallen leaves that were on our field I picked them up with my lawnmower with the pouch and them put that in my garden and worked the rototiller afterwards. I thought it would be good for ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

How can the “soils” be improved on coral atolls.

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 ...
11
votes
2answers
2k 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?
10
votes
2answers
3k 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
3answers
258 views

What type of dirt to use for filling the backyard before preparing the vegetable beds?

The backyard of my house has a small slope and because of that little puddles of rain water are accumulating. Because of this, the mulch in the nearby vegetable beds are wet all the time. I want to ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Excess Zinc in garden soil

I had the soil in one of my garden beds tested for a wide spectrum of minerals. This bed was originally filled with bought topsoil and mushroom compost, then it was cultivated with parsnips and ...
9
votes
3answers
26k 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
14k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I organically make the soil potassium rich?

I believed that my tomato plants suffer from potassium deficiency, and by searching it on google it states that I can easily fix it by putting potassium fertilizer in my soil. I am now thinking on ...
8
votes
4answers
243 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
716 views

Medium you can add to soil to improve airiness and create loose soil

I am making a list of mediums that I can use to make soil more loose and improve airiness. Soil will be used primarily in pots. I am interested in both home made mediums and commercially available, ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What relevance does fungal dominance have to a vegetable garden?

I'm mainly attempting to grow vegetables for my family so basically Brassicaceae, Umbelliferae, Asparagaceae, and Solanaceae. I'm certainly not attempting to establish an old forest or even a food ...
8
votes
3answers
582 views

In store-bought fertilizer for camellias, what's the difference between NPK 10-10-10 and say 4-4-4?

I'm looking to buy fertilizer for my camellias. I read on a couple of websites to use 8-8-8 or 10-10-10, but when I search online many brands sell fertilizers for camellias that have different ...
8
votes
1answer
683 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
347 views

how to fix soil with too little sand and clay?

I made a stupid mistake that has ruined my garden which I didn't realize until now. When moving in to my current house years ago, I tried to "improve" my garden soil by removing lots of soil and ...
8
votes
1answer
84 views

Is it possible to modify soil pH with plants?

I have a very chalky soil and I'd like to decrease its pH. Are there plants that can effectively help correct the soil pH permanently?
7
votes
3answers
137 views

How can I improve the quality of soil after using newspapers to kill the weeds?

A few years ago I covered my backyard garden with a thick layer of newspapers to kill the weeds. Now I think I might have spoiled the soil and have to do something to change its quality. What should I ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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?
7
votes
2answers
4k 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
4answers
12k views

How can I soften clay soil and enrich it for plants?

A few years ago, we used a clay type soil for filling holes in our garden. Later the soil became very hard and most of our plants and trees are not healthy. Only unwanted plants are growing. Is ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Will burning sticks in my garden affect the soil?

I live in a northern climate and won't be planting my garden for 4-6 weeks. Will burning sticks in my garden negatively effect the soil?
6
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
2k 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 roads,...
6
votes
2answers
309 views

What makes Ammonium Sulfate a soil acidifier but not Potassium Sulfate

Adding elemental Sulphur is a common practice to lower pH of soil. Ammonium Sulfate can also have the same effect. I read that Potassium Sulfate and Magnesium Sulfate may not have the same acidifying ...
6
votes
2answers
115 views

When to apply amendments to blueberries

I've got a blueberry in a pot that was repotted without amending the soil. Now it seems to be growing okay but rather then repotting it again, I'm wondering if I can apply a coffee grounds mulch while ...
6
votes
3answers
234 views

How should I fertilize to increase the Nitrogen in my soil?

I did a soil test and it says that I have lots of P and K but very little N. What kind of fertilizer is best to use to replace the nitrogen in my soil? It is almost time to plant, and I am already ...
6
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
62 views

For how much area should I amend the soil for a given plant?

My question is not about depth, but area. For a given individual plant, do I amend the soil for an area the size of its seed spacing recommendation (12 in., etc.)? Or is less required? I am a ...
6
votes
3answers
119 views

Can urine return moisture-holding capacity to the soil?

I've been urinating on dead lawns for a while. I consider myself an expert. In my home town we've been having a drought for some time; yet I had great success there, turning dried out, dying areas of ...
6
votes
2answers
586 views

Does Kinnikinnick require soil amendment for planting

I intend to plant some ground cover on a small steep bank. The bank faces east and receives some shade from nearby trees and also some full sun. The total area is 180 sqft. There are 3 shrubs and a ...
6
votes
1answer
45 views

What to do with strawberry plants planted in a soil with lot of nitrogen in it?

When I planted my strawberry plants which I bought from Walmart into a 2.5' (Length) x 2.5' (Width) x 10" (Depth) cedar planter, I filled ~5" with top soil and then layered about an inch of steer ...
6
votes
2answers
333 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 ...