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Soil Amenders

Updated on July 16, 2013

Soil Amenders Giving It Back to Mother Earth

How many times are you driving down the street and see a flower or vegetable garden that is so full of life and think to yourself, what are they doing to get everything so beautiful. Remember that every time you plant something into the ground to give life, you are taking away nutrients from the soil. The way to keep your plants healthy and a good root system is to give them some soil amendments.

Soil preparation is a key function that needs to be addressed to improvements the quality of soil and is a benefits that is often missed in gardening practice. The better your soil, the better your gardening results will be. Not only will you grow a larger harvest, you'll grow healthier plants which in turn resist insects, pests and diseases. If you are using a Raised Garden bed, which allows the gardener to concentrate their efforts to improve soil composition in a small area, good quality soil can be achieved in less time with much less labor than it would take to attain good soil in a traditional row style garden. If you are going the traditional row style garden, depending on your size, it might take more energy and effort to obtain quality soil.

Depending on your location, the area where you are planting and your environment, this all plays a key factor what type of Soil Amendments you are going to need. The following soil amendments will help you create and maintain a healthy soil Garden. There are many types of soil amendments that can be added to your garden, hereâs a little rundown. Coconut Coir, Vermicast, Pumice, and Glacial Rock Dust.

Coconut Coir
Coconut Coir

Coconut Coir Blocks a present Nature gives

Coconut Coir Blocks

Coconut coir is the by-product from the hair or husk of coconuts. It is used commercial greenhouses and in hydroponics. The benefits of using coir, the increased air space and drainage in soil, it's water holding capacity, stronger root system, requires less fertilizer, and doesn't breakdown like peat moss.

The coir also absorbs the water faster and last longer than peat moss mixed in your soil. Depending on the soil in your backyard or your flower pots, coir is there to benefit you. If you have sandy soil coconut coir fibers keep moisture for the roots and keeps nutrients in the soil from washing away. If you have a clay soil, the fibers breaks up the soil and keep moisture for the roots and keeps nutrients in the soil from washing away.

If you are just starting your garden or replanting some flowers, the simple trick is to mixing coconut coir to a 2 to 1 ratio of soil to coir. This will help with soil erosion and help your plants build a better and stronger root system, keep moisture in the soil. When container planting, raised bed or your backdoor garden, the 2 to 1 ratio will improve the water capacity for the hot summer days.

Coconut coir has a neutral pH of 5.8-6.8 which allows helps release nutrients into the soil. The coir is free of bacteria, weeds, seeds, plant disease in comparison to peat moss.

Vermicast

Vermicompost is the by-product of composting waste material from household scraps with the assistance of worms. The system that does this is a worm farm. One manufacture is Natures Footprint with their worm factory 360 system. The system comes with everything you need to get you started with your compost. If you are interested in learning about this product, please check out this link. www.naturesfootprint.com

There are many types of worms that are used in the process of decomposing food waste. There are the red wigglers, white worms, and earthworms. Vermicast, also called worm manure, castings, and humus, is the byproduct from the worms body break downing down waste. Worm castings on average contain five times the available nitrogen, seven times the available potash, and one and a half times more calcium than found in average topsoil.

By mixing Vermicast into your soil, the benefits are it helps improve water retention in the soil. It also enriches the soil, improves aeration, allowing better root growth, larger plant yield and is full of micro-organisms.

Pumice

This lightweight rock has many hidden feature and it should be considered a heavyweight. The way this works to benefit all goes back to the initial question, soil preparation. How could a little rock contain all of this, it is this simple. Pumice is an igneous rock that is formed from molten or partially molten materials. These volcanic rocks cool rapidly and only trace amounts of minerals are deposited. With the cooling process so fast the rocks contains tiny pockets which makes it so light.

If you have hard soil, a clay mixed, sandy soil, or even fine soil, adding some pumice rock will help the grow cycle. The pumice will help by keeping moisture in the soil, helps control nutrients, will not host insects or fungi, because of its' neutral pH has no odor. It also contains trace amounts of Calcium, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, and Sodium.

By adding as little as 10% to your soil the benefits start to weigh in. The porous texture helps hold in vital nutrients into the pores to help regulate the feeding process. You can even mix the pumice with your powdered fertilizer, which will get imbedded into the pores, before adding it to your soil to minimize feeding requirements. The mixture will also increase the density of your soil, which will increase aeration and drainage throughout the soil. With a neutral pH, you won't be attracting insects, and the better drainage will help detour any fungi growth. The rock is also inorganic meaning that it will not decompose, breakdown but can be reused and recycled.

Glacial Rock Dust

Glacial rock dust is made up of what is left behind from when a glacier recedes. As the glacier grows it collects many types of rocks and then they are pulverized by expansion and contraction. Once the glacier recedes, the material left behind is called “glacial moraine”. These moraines are mined, dried, and screen for agricultural and horticultural re-mineralization. Glacial rock dust is a natural mineral which is made by thousands of years of glaciers moving. It contains, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium plus micronutrients.

This will help your garden because the nutrients will be released to your plants throughout the season. This helps the root systems grow stronger, moisture holding properties, bacterial action, healthier fruits, fewer pests, and vegetables at time of harvest. This isn’t just for vegetable gardens only, If applied to your flower garden, it helps increase the number of blooms, larger blooms and a healthier growth cycle.

To use soil amendment, it is just like all the others listed above. You add it to your soil either at time of turning the soil before planting or at the time of planting by mixing it with the soil. The benefit of Glacial rock dust is it works with the soil and not against it like other fertilizers. It is beneficial to both plants and animals because of the trace minerals in the dust are absorbed by the plants and vegetables..

Transplanting and pre‐mixing soil for potted plants:8 tablespoons into 1 gallon of soil or growing medium.

Top dressing potted plants:4 tablespoons per 1 gallon of soil or growing medium. Apply up to once per month or as desired.

Composting:Mix liberally into compost pile or bin as microbial enhancer during processing

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      Ema0705 4 years ago

      Thanks for the info! My family will definitely find this to be useful!

    • profile image

      Ema0705 4 years ago

      Thanks for the info! My family will definitely find this to be useful!

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      derek-cebulski 4 years ago

      Thanks for the info. Looks like I'm going to have to try some of these on my garden.

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      laaema0507 4 years ago

      Thanks for the great information, I never know that there was these items to add to my soil to help my plants