Soil Amendments 101
Utilize these tips when selecting soil to get the best results in your yard.
• Composted manure and mushroom compost make great amendments for enriching your garden soil.
• Do a sniff test. Let your nose tell you if the contents smell like soil — fresh and free of garden chemicals or contaminants.
• Read the fine print. If the bag of soil says “use for filling holes,” do not buy for planting beds. Such soil usually doesn't support plant life.
• Don't amend the soil in your planting holes for trees unless your soil is extremely dense and compacted.
• When planting roses, plan on mixing the existing soil half and half with composted manure and mushroom compost.
• For raised beds, mix potting soil with a variety of organic materials, including compost, leaves and straw.
• One cubic foot of potting mix equals roughly 30 quarts, and it will fill 18 six-inch pots, three 10-inch pots and one 14-inch pot.
• Compost — made at home — is the best soil amendment you can apply.
Preparing Soil for a Garden
Learn how important it is to thoroughly prepare soil for the garden.
Learn how to check soil conditions and what kinds of characteristics "good" soil should have.
Tips for Compost Tools
To keep your composting process running smoothly, consider investing in some of these handy tools.
Capturing Water and Making a Compost Heap
Learn how to capture water from natural sources and start a compost pile from household scraps.
Simple Soil Tests
A few simple tests can determine what you need to do to help your soil and improve your gardening results.
Knowing and Improving Your Soil
The structure, fertility, drainage and acidity (pH) of your soil all have an impact on the health of the plants. Knowing what type of soil you have and how to improve it will help you to create the best growing environment.
How to Compost and the Different Types of Compost Bins
Learn about the different types of compost bins and what household items can be composted.
Soil Preparation for Perennials
Perennial plants live in the same place for many years, so it's important to start them out in good soil.
Kid-Friendly Composting and Plant Sales
Learn about easy composting and a way young gardeners can give back to the community.
Tips on Growing Big Colorful Flowers
Master gardener Maureen Gilmer shares her secrets to growing great flowers.
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