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5 Great Organic Soil Amendments For The Home Gardener

Soil is an interesting thing, It is never the same! It can very from yard to yard even. Soil is the composition of sand, silt, and clay that is the universal growing medium for all plants. However soil is not complete without the fourth ingredient, and the one that makes soil growable – Organic matter. The nutrients in organic matter can help to aid plant growth, and even assist in building a healthy ecosystem within the soil. 

Soil amendments


           Below is the top 5 soil amendments that every home gardener should add to their gardens.
 
1. Compost – Compost is pure organic matter. It is the leftover remains of compost-piledecomposed plant matter. When a garden has lots of rich compost, the garden can thrive. This is because compost contains approximately 4,000,000,000 (4 billion) microbes per Teaspoon of soil! These Microbes help to increase the soil fertility, increase plant defenses, and unlock nutrients that are inaccessible to plant roots. 
2. Mulch – Mulch is the shredded up plant matter. It is uncomposted so it should not be J & S Landscapingmixed into the soil because nitrogen will be depleted from the soil. Mulch helps to insulate soil, it also helps keep soil moisture regular so that plants do not dry out. Bare soil is the leading cause for erosion, nutrient run-off, and soil bacteria death from solar radiation. Mulch can be in the form of mulched leaves, grass clippings, wood chips, newspaper shredding, and coffee grounds. 
3. Sand – If you have heavy clay soil, adding sand helps to increase drainage, and sandallow for water to penetrate the soil. Aeration is vital for plant root growth, and preventing compaction. Sand breaks apart clay clumps with its large particle size. This helps keep soil born bacteria happy and thriving since they appreciate oxygen just as much as we do. Sand is an inexpensive soil amendment, and can be found on every beach, or even in bulk at any gravel yard. 
4. Biochar – Biochar is the leftover porous material that remains when wood is burned ashwithout the presence of oxygen. Biochar is porous, meaning there is a lot of surface area for bacteria to colonize. It holds on to water and it can help to hold nutrients in the soil rather than be leached down beyond where plants can reach. Biochar can be made at home by burning sticks in a metal container, then when the entire bin is on fire, spray down the fire with water. The cooled remains can be sifted out, the ash discarded, and the biochar placed into a bucket for use in the garden. 
5. Manure – Manure can be one of the most beneficial additives to the garden for tri-chicken-coopamending soil. When if breaks down, it becomes compost, however unlike mulch, it CAN be worked into the soil without the risk of nutrient depletion. The nutrients found in the manure feed the soil, as well as invite earth worms to work the soil. This process of worm tilling helps to aerate the soil without the act of tilling, It also helps to feed plants, hold moisture, and build the soil over time. Manure can be obtained for nearly free from most farmers who have animals. However do not limit it to just cows and horses. Other manures that are very beneficial are alpaca, llama, rabbit, goat, chicken, and duck! The only manures I would not recommend would be human, cat, and dog. As those manures are from meat eaters. Anything that eats meat can potentially harbor E-coli. which is a harmful bacteria that can make you very ill if ingested. 

 

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