Top Questions About Soil Amendments

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Questions About Soil Amendments

Asked by
Anonymous on
August 2, 2019
Answered by
GKH_Susan on
August 3, 2019
Certified Expert
A.

So you removed the gravel and fabric and found what appears to be good soil underneath. That's good news.

Manure only may not be the best material to incorporate. A small amount is okay, but it depends on the state of decomposition, if it has been aged, or composted or not. Raw, fresh manure is quite "hot," meaning high in nitrogen and salts that can have a burning effect on new plantings. If you add it and wait until spring for planting it should be okay. Or compost it with other bulk organic matter content and then use it next spring.

If the manure has been aged or composted, then it is more suitable as a soil amendment, but I would still recommend being conservative on amount used.

The best organic matter to incorporate into the soil for immediate planting is real compost, or nitrogen fortified mulch material.

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/basics/composting-basics.htm

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Asked by
Anonymous on
August 14, 2019

Q. I purchased a bag of diatomaceous earth (food grade) for use in my garden. I just went to use it and it has a horrible odor! Wha

t is going on? Purchased about 10 months ago from a local gardening shop. I kept the DE stored in my garden shed.

Answered by
GKH_Susan on
August 14, 2019
Certified Expert
A.

My research shows DE keeps indefinitely if kept clean. However, it is highly absorbant and absorbs any odors, liquids or contaminants that it is exposed to. Something may have gotten into your shed and left a foul odor that was absorbed. I wouldn't use it since you don't know what it has absorbed.

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/pesticides/garden-safe-diatomaceous-earth.htm

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/pesticides/diatomaceous-earth-insect-control.htm

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Asked by
johnmonaghan01 on
August 23, 2019
16933 zone 4

Q. My garden bed is: 11 inches topsoil, under which are 17 inches of composting leaves. Should I add anything to it?

I don’t test the soil. I don’t use fertilizer. The plants seem to do all right. Will the leaves change the pH of the soil?

Answered by
BushDoctor on
August 26, 2019
Certified Expert
A.

Unless you know exactly what kind of leaves that you used, it will be hard to say. Some leaves will drastically change the pH, while others will not change it at all.

It is best to compost the leaves before hand, though. Using fresh, uncomposted leaves can invite root rotting pathogens.

These articles will help you to properly prepare garden soil: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/best-soil-raised-garden-beds.htm

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/basics/ultimate-beginners-guide-composting.htm

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Asked by
Anonymous on
August 29, 2019

Q. Tilling and topsoiling

I have a portion of garden which I intend to sow to lawn. The soil is very poor, so I have some composted topsoil I intend to add. Is it better to spread the topsoil before tilling, or till first and then topsoil, or does it make any difference?

Answered by
GKH_Susan on
August 30, 2019
Certified Expert
A.

It's best to spread the composted topsoil before tilling, in order to incorporate it with the native soil.

After tilling, rake it smooth and water heavily to settle, then when dried out a little so its not muddy wet, rake again to prepare your seed bed. After seeding and lightly raking in the seeds, apply an even top dressing of fine textured compost about a quarter inch to half inch thick or straw over the seed to retain soil moisture so the seeds don't dry out as they germinate. Water to keep the top dressing and seed bed moist.
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/lawn-care/lgen/lawn-seeding-tips.htm

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Asked by
cbunce on
September 9, 2019
7A

Q. How can I promote drainage from my raised garden bed. The natural soil underneath the bed is a hard clay type. I am concerned that

water will not transfer from the bed to the ground underneath. The bed is built on a somewhat steep bank. I plan on adding more beds in a terrace style.

Answered by
BushDoctor on
September 11, 2019
Certified Expert
A.

I would say that your best bet would be to lift those beds and dig a pit the size of the bed, but only 3 or 4 inches deep. Fill this with gravel, then place your raised bed that has landscaping fabric over the bottom on top of the rocks and that will allow drainage.

You could also opt to drill holes along the bottom inch or two of the raised bed. This may not be the best option, but it can offer some relief in a pinch.

This article will help you with raised bed gardening: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/raised-vegetable-gardens.htm

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Asked by
gpontheloose on
September 30, 2019
Port Stephens NSW Australia 2316

Q. how to get soil more acidic

Have yellowing leaves and not very thick groth

Answered by
BushDoctor on
October 1, 2019
Certified Expert
A.

There are many ways to acidify soil. It is worth noting that while yellowing leaves can indicate soil pH being off, it can also indicate a number of other things.

You may want to test your soil beforehand. This will help you to know exactly how much of an acid that you need to add, since adding without first knowing the pH can make things worse. This article will help you to test your soil: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/testing-soil.htm

this article will help you to acidify your soil: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/raise-acid-level-soil.htm

This article will help you to compost so that you can increase soil fertility and vigor, naturally: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/basics/ultimate-beginners-guide-composting.htm

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Asked by
chelj on
October 14, 2019
Tacoma,, WA 98406

Q. what to do with old unused coffee grounds that have never been “cooked”?

my question: For years I would keep coffee in the freezer as my mother did. WE do not drink it and no longer have any company. The coffee is getting old and unused. What can I do with it? Will it help in the garden in any way? Will it hurt any plants, etc., if I scatter it or dig it into the soil? I do not have a lot but want to get rid of it as it is old? I am NOT talking \”used\” grounds, but original coffee. HELP. Hate to throw it away if it is useable.. Thank you.
Chellis Swenson Jensen 10-14-2019

Answered by
GKH_Susan on
October 14, 2019
Certified Expert
A.

Yes, you can use them in the garden. Unused coffee grounds actually can add some acidity to the soil, used grounds do not. They become neutral once used.
This article tells all about it.

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/ingredients/coffee-grounds-gardening.htm

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