Gardens

4 Easy and Effective Organic Soil Mixing Recipes

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Organic soil does not mean that soil is not treated for fertility or performance. What the term means is that the soil does not contain any artificial chemicals or additives, and that it is free of pesticides and herbicides. Treating the soil is done by mixing the 3 types of soil--clay, sand and loam--and adding compost or other natural humus to increase fertility and biological activity. This article presents 4 basic soil recipes to bring all types of soil into a fertile balance.

Tools and Materials Required:

  • Potato rake
  • Coarse sand
  • Clay
  • Compost
  • Mixed rock dust or lime

Recipe #1: Composting for Organic Material

The best source of fertilizer is made by composting. Grass cuttings, pulled weeds and various types of kitchen waste including coffee grounds and vegetable peels are mixed up frequently. This promotes bacterial growth and encourages the breakdown of plant matter by mixing air and bacteria throughout the material. Because the compost is in various stages of decomposition, always strain compost through a wire mesh to remove large particles before mixing it into the soil. Large particles can be returned to the composting bin for later use.

Recipe #2: Correcting Sandy Soils

Sandy soils tend to be deficient in both nutrients and minerals. To correct this add 1 part clay and 1 part compost for every 100 square feet of soil to be treated. Spread the clay first, and mix it in well. Then add the humus soil and mix it again. The clay gives sand density and help it retain moisture. The humus fertilizes the soil, and infuses it with beneficial microorganisms.

Recipe #3: Correcting Clay Soils

If you are using clay, plants will benefit from adding both sand and compost. Mix 1 part sand for each 10 parts of clay soil to be treated and mix it until the soil has a gritty texture. Add compost in the same manner. The mixed soil should have a darker color and richer texture. Compost cannot be over-applied, and the amounts listed here are for minimum compost usage. If you have humus available, double or even triple the applications suggested.

Recipe 4: Minerals for Loamy Soil

Loamy soil may not require much compost because it is already rich in plant nutrients. What it may be missing are important minerals and metals, which are rare in plant matter. To correct for this, add 1 cubic foot of clay soil for every 100 square feet of soil to be treated. Mix the soil to a depth of around 10 to 12 inches. If desired, sandy soil can be added to increase soil aeration.

A Note on Correcting Compost Acidity

If your compost becomes acidic, it may need to be treated before use as a fertilizer. To do this, add about 1 cup of lime or talc every 6 months and mix well. If you wish, gypsum can be used instead and has the added benefit of neutralizing salts in the soil as well as bringing the pH into balance.

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