Questions tagged [soil]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
11
votes
1answer
153 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Should I dig through roots when removing a mound from around a tree?

I am a first time home owner, and didn't know that a mound around a tree was bad. A 2' deep, 10' wide mound had been put around the tree a few years before I bought the house. I want to remove the ...
11
votes
1answer
140 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?
10
votes
6answers
13k 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
469 views

What are the best tools for testing soil?

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. How would you recommend that I test my ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

How to keep soil a rich black colour

We've just put all new soil in our flower bed and due to it being slightly moist it was a lovely deep rich black colour. Is it possible to keep it that black colour even when dry?
10
votes
3answers
777 views

How often should I loosen soil?

I was about this ask this question in a comment from a different question of mine, but I thought it deserved its own question since it may help a fellow novice gardener. How often should I loosen the ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Why are mineral fertilizers not allowed in organic farming?

Recently I've read an article stating that easy soluble mineral ferilizers are not allowed in organic farming (with a few exceptions). By that I mean that there are some laws that restrict you from ...
10
votes
3answers
892 views

Garden in Desert Soil

We are in a position to move onto a large city lot of about 0.75 acre. I like the idea of having a large lot for economic and quality of life reasons but I see an opportunity to set up a sizable ...
10
votes
2answers
65k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
2k 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
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
1answer
1k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
833 views

What's wrong with planting a tree deeper than the root flare, or mulching higher?

People tell you that when you plant a tree, you should plant the root flare level with the soil line. And when mulching, that you shouldn't pile the mulch up over the root flare. What harm can be ...
9
votes
8answers
6k views

Is there a way I can make transparent soil for plants at home?

I want to observe root development of plants for a hobby home experiment. I need transparent soil for this purpose. I asked some local gardening stores for it, but they said that they don't sell such ...
9
votes
3answers
212 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
13k views

What should I do to rescue grass from a petrol spill?

We had some less than stellar workmen do some work a few weeks ago, and one of them spilled a substantial amount of petrol onto our front lawn. There is now an area about 100cm in diameter where the ...
9
votes
3answers
268 views

Is it possible to do my own extensive soil/organic matter testing?

I've read the posts on soil testing, and I realize it's cheap and widely available through local universities, etc. Question: Is it possible to do my own soil testing? Are there some compounds that ...
9
votes
4answers
929 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
2answers
459 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
20k views

Is mulch or topsoil better for new lawn in clay soil?

We just built a new home and the back yard has quite a bit of clay in it. We are planning on seeding the yard in the next month (September). I'm trying to decide between topsoil (4-6 inches) or ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Filling low spot in yard

I have a low spot in my yard that I want to fill in. It is an 8' diameter spot that is about 4"- 6" lower than the surrounding grass. The grass in this spot it mostly dead from this being a small ...
9
votes
2answers
306 views

What's a nitrogen-fixing ground-cover that grows on very little rainfall?

Here in the desert southwest (Northern New Mexico, zone 7B, heavy clay soil, 7 inches of annual rainfall), clover doesn't seem to grow well due to lack of enough moisture. What's an alternative that ...
9
votes
1answer
1k 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?
9
votes
1answer
5k views

What are these small white balls that appeared on the soil in my greenhouse?

As a pre-emptive starting note, there are a lot of questions with similar titles but none I could find with pictures looking the same to what I have here. Around a week ago, I applied lawn clippings ...
9
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
2k 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?
8
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
58k views

Raising soil level around tree

As a side mini project from a bigger patio project, we moved some concrete blocks to create a well around a tree in the front of the house. A conversation over in DIY.SE chat this morning sparked ...
8
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
701 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
2answers
694 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 ...
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
2answers
9k 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?
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Can I use 3 year-old bagged topsoil for a new garden?

I have 10 loosely tied bags of topsoil from a nursery that have been sitting outdoors for 2-3 years. I read an answer to a similar question, but I have some follow up questions. The soil smells ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What is this caterpillar?

I found this caterpillar and was wondering if anyone could identify it. Is it poisonous/dangerous? Would it be good or bad for a garden soil? This was found in Australia. Here is a photo.
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Are there plants that add acid to soil naturally?

I'm curious if there are any plants that might add acid to their soil so that they might work well in a permaculture setting, you might be able to plant X, Y or Z near a blueberry bush to eliminate ...
8
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What's this green stuff on my soil?

I dumped my french press on this potted fig tree a few times, perhaps that was a mistake. Today I noticed this this green stuff on top of the soil. What is this?
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Covering soil of Ponytail Palm

I recently acquired a ponytail palm, which is alive, though it wasn't taken care of well prior to my acquisition. One thing I noticed is that the pot was covered in rocks, that appear to be fused ...
8
votes
1answer
281 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, ...
8
votes
1answer
4k views

Will paint thinner poured in the soil kill my tree?

The contractor at my neighbors house was washing out his brushes with turpentine or paint thinner and dumping the liquid right next to my tree. Is my tree going to die? What can I do to help it ...
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
3answers
114 views

Do soil nutrients travel to the surface?

I've built four additional raised beds for my garden, and put a lot of tree branches and cow manure at the bottom. The problem is, the beds are two feet deep (24" sides, I mean), and I had intended ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How to prepare a soil that is compacted and has a lot of rocks

I have a 1 acre area of soil in Upstate NY, The soil has been disturbed from construction, and its full of rocks. How do i clean them and prepare them to grow a lawn/grass.
7
votes
3answers
163 views

No dig methodology?

My backyard has just been cleared of convolvulus ( field bindweed ), and native bush/trees exposing what used to be a lawn a decade ago. I'm thinking I would like to try the no-dig method of layering ...
7
votes
3answers
185 views

Is this soil appropriate to plant this succulent baby?

I was browsing among the succulents section of this department store, and I found this offspring plant fallen apart on the floor! I took it to plant it since it was going to die there. The plants in ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

What soil mixture should I use for my office Schefflera?

I'm on here again, asking more questions about my office's Schefflera that I'm in charge of. You can find pictures and a previous question here: Whats the next step to improving my schefflera? I ...
7
votes
2answers
474 views

How do I determine what the soil conditions are where I live?

I am starting to get into gardening since I have a bit of garden space for the first time. When I do research online, I often see recommendations for plant soil quality like "rich, porous, somewhat ...
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?

1
2
3 4 5
10