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 ...
  • 130k
13 votes
Accepted

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 ...
12 votes
Accepted

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 ...
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 ...
  • 111
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 ...
  • 130k
9 votes
Accepted

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 ...
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, ...
  • 311
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 ...
  • 19.9k
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 ...
  • 130k
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 ...
  • 130k
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 ...
  • 71
7 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 5,839
7 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 130k
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 ...
  • 39.9k
7 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 130k
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 ...
  • 130k
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, ...
6 votes
Accepted

When to apply amendments to blueberries

Amendments for blueberries in the fall. Goldfish pond water is probably good because the organic material in the water lowers the ph some. However blueberries like acidic soil. They grow under the ...
  • 6,336
6 votes

Amending clay soil on a large scale

Agree with Rosie's answer, but with one caveat - what's important is the ratio of rock to clay. If you have mostly rocks, small and large, with only small amounts of clay soil in comparison, it ...
  • 130k
6 votes

Amending clay soil on a large scale

Graham's answer seems very sound. I can't say anything about the chemistry, but the basic advice, "Get a soil test FIRST," is the place to start. I have had good luck with copious additions of ...
  • 61
6 votes

Amending clay soil on a large scale

Clay with small (and not so small, but fewer of those every time I find one) rocks pretty much describes my garden "soil" prior to generous additions of manure. Kinda depends on what you are willing ...
  • 19.9k
6 votes
Accepted

What is the name of the French pioneer of organic/sustainable farming?

The berms of branches and twigs practice is referred to as Hügelkultur The technique dates back a few centuries in Germany and Eastern Europe. In the 1960's it gained new life when Sepp Holzer (an ...
  • 5,839
6 votes

What relevance does fungal dominance have to a vegetable garden?

I'm not sure it's something you should worry about for home grown vegetables. The soil will contain mycorrhizae of various fungi anyway, though unfortunately, during the planting process, you are ...
  • 130k
6 votes

Is wood ash from black locust harmful to plants?

If you're incinerating the wood, then any allopathic chemicals would be oxidised by the fire, and what's left is wood ash. Much wood ash contains calcium carbonate as its major component, ...
6 votes
Accepted

Watering plants with soaked forest soil

Forests are complex ecosystems where all the necessary elements have been taken up into the biomass. When something dies, falls to the ground, gets decomposed by decomposers, the soil micro and macro ...
  • 39.9k
6 votes

What is Horticultural Grit?

Horticultural grit is washed grit with a particle size of 1-4mm, or sometimes 2-6mm, with a neutral ph. It is intended for use in some potting mixes that you make up yourself, or to make a commercial ...
  • 130k
6 votes
Accepted

Does Kinnikinnick require soil amendment for planting

Arctostaphylos likes infertile, well-drained/gritty soils. You've probably got the well-drained part, since you're planting on a bank. It likes full-sun, however, which may become problematic as your ...
  • 16.3k
6 votes
Accepted

What makes Ammonium Sulfate a soil acidifier but not Potassium Sulfate

Good question, I understand the confusion about sulphur and sulphate. But chemically they are different and have different chemical reactions. Even different sulphate salts do not react the same, and ...
  • 12.9k

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