21 votes
Accepted

Does a pine needle mulch make your soil acidic?

No, in your lifetime, normal amounts of pine needles will not measurably acidify your soil. They are somewhat acidic, and acidify soil over long periods of time, unless the soil base is extremely ...
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  • 51.5k
21 votes

Adding worms to clay soil - worth it?

There's little point in adding worms to soil which seems to have none, they'll just go elsewhere - the thing to add is as much organic material as possible, so if you can get hold of things like leaf ...
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  • 128k
17 votes
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Do any plants add nutrients back into the soil as they grow?

Legumes are often used for this purpose. From Wikipedia: Legumes are notable in that most of them have symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria in structures called root nodules. And Within legume ...
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  • 51.5k
13 votes
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Why it is bad to add sand to soil?

This reference says that you need to add prohibitive amounts of sand to remediate clay soils. And if you don't get it right, you get a soil like concrete The problems occur when sand and clay are ...
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  • 22.9k
12 votes
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Amending clay soil on a large scale

Clay soil is composed of extremely small clay particles formed by the breakdown of rocks by erosion and organic activity. The particles have a high surface area with the capacity to hold lots of ...
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  • 22.9k
11 votes

Amending clay soil on a large scale

We amended a similar plot of dense clay on a half-acre in zone 7a in North Carolina. The main work was done by a flock of about 60 chickens. We fenced the chickens in on the half-acre, and then spread ...
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  • 111
10 votes
Accepted

Will burning sticks in my garden affect the soil?

If it doesn't contain manufactured materials, plastics or anti-rot pressure treatment, burnt woody material when thoroughly consumed will leave behind the wood mineral content and charcoal. You're ...
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  • 3,873
10 votes

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

Good quality topsoil is probably best, preferably with some organic or humus rich composted materials added (composted animal manures, leaf mould, spent mushroom compost, garden compost, anything like ...
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  • 128k
9 votes
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How can I organically make the soil potassium rich?

I don't know of anything ubiquitous off-hand in the kitchen that is both high in potassium and ready to use on plants without composting or some other such. Kelp is supposed to have some. So, maybe if ...
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9 votes

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

Unless harmful elements fell into your manure during those 20 years without your knowledge, it certainly shouldn't hurt anything. It might not be as potent as properly matured and composted manure, ...
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  • 311
8 votes
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What is the advantage of a raised bed over clay soil vs just amending the clay soil?

I find that raised beds are best for: early spring production drainage square foot garden (limited space) older people And I have also found that I can grow more per plant in the ground beds, but ...
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  • 51.5k
8 votes

How can I organically make the soil potassium rich?

Potassium is easily obtained via wood (or other plant material) fire ashes - "pot-ash" is the source of the name potassium (and while "potash" is now used more to refer to mined material, the ashes ...
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  • 18k
8 votes

Is it helpful to add coffee grounds to a droopy mother-in-law's tongue?

No; the current fad for coffee grounds use is just that, a fad, and its not helpful for almost all potted plants. Remove the coffee grounds, or as many as you can, they don't do any good at all and ...
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  • 128k
8 votes

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

This link (10 Ingredients to Make Your Own Potting Soil) lists ten ingredients for making your own potting soil. The only thing I would add is, where it talks about compost you've made yourself, it ...
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  • 128k
7 votes

Should I have added dead leaves directly to my garden?

I do it every year and always have great vegetable gardens. If the forest does not die from leaves your garden will not. I just till then in several times over the fall and winter then have a great ...
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  • 71
7 votes

What is the scientific term that describes soil that resists water?

Hydrophobic soils repel water or absorb it weakly. The opposite term is hydrophilic.
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  • 7,159
7 votes
Accepted

What are the pros and cons of different rock dusts?

First, I have to say that many of these are so similar, you really won't find a lot of pros and cons between them. They are very similar, and though some might do better than others in certain ...
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  • 51.5k
7 votes
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How far down do I need to dig when sifting out rocks from a garden?

Although much root activity occupies the top 6 inches of soil, many vegetables need 2 feet of soil or more. Janet Beal The depth of your bed will be determined by what you want to grow. Shallow ...
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7 votes
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What to do with strawberry plants planted in a soil with lot of nitrogen in it?

Patience. One of the hardest parts of being a gardener. Strawberry plants rarely produce berries the first year they are transplanted. Instead they spend most of their resources and nutrients ...
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  • 5,839
7 votes
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In store-bought fertilizer for camellias, what's the difference between NPK 10-10-10 and say 4-4-4?

It's quite difficult to give a straight, simple answer - fertilizers are formulated differently in terms of how quickly they break down, so liquid formulations will be almost instantaneous, whereas a ...
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  • 128k
7 votes

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

Sounds like perfect stuff. You are going into winter, yes? If you are, just put it on top of the beds thickly. This will help keep the weed seeds already in the soil from germinating as well. In ...
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  • 39.8k
7 votes
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Should I add soil with living things, like worms, to a potting mix?

The trouble with introducing 'life' by inoculating with garden soil is you have no control over which life forms you are introducing, and some of them might be pathogenic when contained inside a pot ...
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  • 128k
7 votes

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

You need to incorporate as much humus rich material into the soil as you possibly can, so that means things like composted animal manures, good garden compost you've made yourself, leaf mould, spent ...
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  • 128k
6 votes

Is it really important to give blueberry plants acidic soil?

Pine needles will not acidify your soil! They are slow to decompose, and even after they do, dead pine needles are pH neutral and thus have no effect on soil pH. It's amazing how many people, ...
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6 votes
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Should I do a soil test before or after amending soil?

In this case, because you already decided what you will put down, if you don't want to do two tests, test after. The reason? You will know what your soils current condition is, whether you need to ...
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  • 51.5k
6 votes

What is the advantage of a raised bed over clay soil vs just amending the clay soil?

The advantages of raised bed vs. ground bed are pretty much the same regardless of your native ground soil, so you can take any of the comparison lists that pop up from your favourite search engine. ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Would it be better for me to set up my garden in the fall, or wait until spring?

You could certainly wait until spring and things would probably be fine. But personally, I'd get going right now with bed preparation. Till it, clean out the rocks mostly and the weeds and clumps. ...
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  • 5,172
6 votes
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May have planted my tree wrong... is it too late to dig it up and replant it?

No, it's not too late to 'unplant' it, it won't yet have started to put out roots from the pot shaped rootball. The best way when planting a tree is to prepare the ground beforehand by digging it over ...
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  • 128k

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