Soil Amendments 101

Utilize these tips when selecting soil to get the best results in your yard.
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• 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.

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