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

9
votes
you're buying commercial bagged soil, check the label to see what it has in terms of organic matter and fertilizer. The benefit of cow manure is that it will provide those areas with lots of organic … matter and nutrients. Horse manure has the same benefit, but comes with the problem that it can contain a lot of weed seeds. Depending on where you live, soil and/or manure might be free for the …
answered Aug 22 '11 by bstpierre
14
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Are all kinds of earthworms good for the soil? The answer depends on a number of factors. In general for gardening and agricultural purposes, worms benefit the soil by providing aeration and … decomposition and improving soil structure. Some people find earthworms to be a pest in lawns because they deposit too many castings on the surface which is ugly and can make a lumpy surface texture …
answered Aug 15 '11 by bstpierre
9
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in cold weather. If you add manure in the fall, the soil organisms won't have as much chance to convert it to food for the plants right away. (I like to manure in the fall as prep for spring … of just summer gardening: Cropping two seasons will remove more nutrients from the soil than just cropping one season. Keep this in mind as you evaluate your fertilizer/amendment needs …
answered Aug 9 '11 by bstpierre
9
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well; the plants were strong and had nice green leaves, though I'm not sure the yield was any higher. Part of the veg garden was new, and the soil wasn't built-up yet. I had squash planted there … I'm building soil in a sloping area of would-be horse pasture that's got very poor soil. Think of it as a large lawn. As an experiment last fall, I dumped several 1' high by 2-3' wide windrows of …
answered May 22 '12 by bstpierre
5
votes
. Soils have an inorganic component (minerals, rock particles, etc). You could build "rich soil" by mixing compost, sand, silt, clay, etc in the right proportions, depending on what kind of soil you … growing purposes, we often also talk about soil pH (acidic vs alkaline). It's very much a possibility to "design" a soil that suits your needs. See my favorite recipe for potting soil, which mixes …
answered Aug 21 '12 by bstpierre
4
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A good recipe will tell you whether the author means weight or volume... In this case I'd assume volume, since topsoil is so much heavier than peat moss: if you mix equal weights, you'll have way too …
answered Jan 2 '12 by bstpierre
14
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physically shake them by hand to get the soil to shake out. If I was going to build another one (and I likely will), I'd make it maybe 2' wide by 4-5' high so that I could set one end on a sawhorse and … toss material onto it with a shovel. The material (rocky soil, compost, etc) would "roll" down the face of the screen, the fine material would fall through and the large material would stay on the …
answered Nov 23 '11 by bstpierre
8
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For a relatively small fee, I think it's easier and gives better results to send it to a lab for testing. If you're in the US, your state university's cooperative extension can give you pH and basic n …
answered Jan 6 '13 by bstpierre
5
votes
Perhaps he's aiming for organic matter / compost in his pasture? Seems like a good way to encourage stray deer to keep coming back! ;) I don't know, but I doubt that your veg will take up any signifi …
answered Apr 26 '12 by bstpierre
7
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I wouldn't do it on my garden bed: The heat from the fire will kill soil life, including worms and beneficial microbes. If your fire gets hot enough, I think it might burn off soil organic matter … . I'm not a fan of bonfires in general: Most of the "good stuff" (carbon, nitrogen, etc. that would be helpful in the soil as plant nutrients) in the material that you are burning will be released …
answered Apr 30 '12 by bstpierre
5
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If you have acidic soil, now is a good time to add lime. Or if you have acidic soil and deficits of phosphate and potash, you could add wood ash. If you wanted to warm up the soil, now is a good … time to put out plastic mulch. But it sounds like you don't have to worry about warming up the soil. My winters are more severe (in a normal winter I'd have snow on the ground until 1-4 weeks past the …
answered Jul 27 '12 by bstpierre
21
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Sounds like you may be tilling when it is too wet. Next time, wait until it dries out some more. Give your soil the squeeze test before tilling: This test should be with soil from a 2 1/2 - 3 … ' depth. 1. Pick up a handful of soil. 2. Squeeze it into a small ball. 3. Upon applying pressure to the ball the ball should crumble. If your fingers' pressure causes it to compress more, it is still …
answered Jun 8 '11 by bstpierre
6
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I don't think you can really go wrong with adding manure. Since this is a new garden in clay soil, you'll benefit from adding organic matter (the leaves and grass clippings are a good start), and … composted manure will boost your soil fertility. However, the only real way to know how how much fertilizer you should add is to get your soil tested. Your profile says you live in Utah. This document …
answered Mar 16 '12 by bstpierre
8
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his position on not sterilizing potting soil in "The New Organic Grower". Most "sterile seed starting mix" that I've seen in the garden center is a mixture of peat and vermiculite, or something … garden soil 5 gal sifted mature horse manure compost (We use a wood-based bedding product in the horse stalls, and the compost has some of the desirable properties of peat -- mainly that it holds …
answered Mar 15 '12 by bstpierre
9
votes
higher pH, the bushes will have an iron deficiency; see the photo and discussion on this page for iron deficiency caused by high pH. The best way to adjust the pH depends on your soil type and the … starting pH. Blueberry plants live a very long time, so it's worth the up front effort to prep the soil so they can thrive. Once they're planted, it's more challenging to alter the pH. First, get your pH …
answered Oct 6 '11 by bstpierre

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