What Is Soil Conditioner: Using Soil Conditioner In The Garden
Poor soil can describe a range of conditions. It can mean compacted and hard pan soil, soil with excessive clay, extremely sandy soil, dead and nutrient depleted soil, soil with high salt or chalk, rocky soil, and soil with extremely high or low pH. You can experience just one of these soil issues or a combination of them. Most of the time, these soil conditions are not noticed until you start digging holes for new plants, or even after planting and they do not perform well.
Bad soil can restrict the water and nutrient uptake of plants, as well as restrict the root development causing plants to yellow, wilt, dry up be stunted and even die. Fortunately, poor soils can be amended with soil conditioners. What is soil conditioner? This article will answer that question and explain how to use soil conditioner in the garden.
What’s in Soil Conditioner?
Soil conditioners are soil amendments that improve the soil structure by increasing aeration, water holding capacity, and nutrients. They loosen up compacted, hard pan and clay soils and release locked up nutrients. Soil conditioners can also raise or lower pH levels depending on what they are made of.
Good soil for plants is usually comprised of 50% organic or inorganic material, 25% air space and 25% water space. Clay, hard pan and compacted soils lack the necessary space for air and water. Beneficial microorganisms make up a portion of the organic matter in good soil. Without proper air and water, many microorganisms can’t survive.
Soil conditioners can be organic or inorganic, or a combination of synthetic and natural matter. Some ingredients of organic soil conditioners include:
- Animal manure
- Cover crop residue
- Sewage sludge
- Ground pine bark
- Peat moss
Common ingredients in inorganic soil conditioners might be:
- Pulverized limestone
How to Use Soil Conditioner in Gardens
You may be wondering what’s the difference between soil conditioner vs. fertilizer. After all, fertilizer also adds nutrients.
It is true that fertilizer can add nutrients to soil and plants, but in clay, compacted or hard pan soils, these nutrients can become locked up and unavailable to the plants. Fertilizer does not change the soil structure, so in poor quality soil they may help treat the symptoms but they may also be a total waste of money when the plants can’t use the nutrients they add. The best course of action is to amend the soil first, then start a fertilizing regime.
Before using soil conditioner in the garden, it is recommended that you get a soil test so that you know what conditions you are trying to correct. Different soil conditioners do different things for different soil types.
Organic soil conditioners improve soil structure, drainage, water retention, add nutrients and supply food for microorganisms, but some organic soil conditioners can be high in nitrogen or use up a lot of nitrogen.
Garden gypsum specifically loosens up and improves the exchange of water and air in clay soils and soil that is high in sodium; it also adds calcium. Limestone soil conditioners add calcium and magnesium, but also correct highly acid soils. Glauconite or “Greensand” adds potassium and magnesium to the soil.
What is Pine Fine Bark?
Pine bark works as a soil improver if properly prepared. While finely ground pine bark works well as an additive when buried in the ground, larger pieces of pine bark don’t work. Do not use pine bark as a soil conditioner if it consists of large areas and should be used as a ground cover.
Soil conditioner offers many benefits for the soil of your garden and for the plants that grow there. They weaken the soil and help with aeration and absorption of water and nutrients. Since they are usually made from organic material, they add nutrients to the soil and stimulate beneficial organisms such as earthworms. Soil improvers also facilitate soil management and therefore prevent aggregation. Replace the soil conditioners every year to make your garden fantastic.
Characteristics of Pine Fine Bark
If you use it as a soil conditioner, always purchase finely chopped pine bark 1/4 to 1/2 inch. The larger parts do not have the same advantages of loosening and lightening the soil since they are very large and the smaller parts have no pore space. Look for pine bark products that are called soil improvers or sometimes called “flat pine bark”. Avoid air conditioners that are already mixed with the soil, as they are usually not the best. Some pine bark conditioners are sold fresh, while others are obsolete – both work well when changing terrain.
Pine Bark Benefits
Commercial pine bark products are generally made from recycled wood waste. Finely ground pine bark works well as a soil conditioner as it helps the soil retain moisture and adds a “porous space” to the soil through which oxygen and nutrients can be filtered. Pine bark soil conditioner also adds nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, and other minerals. Pine bark can be acidic. Therefore, if you use a large amount as a soil conditioner or use it regularly in your garden, you should control the pH so that it does not drop below the desired level for the plants you grow.
How to Use Pine Fines
Despite its small size, the pine fines bark conditioner has a wide range of patio applications. Although the dimensions of the option are not suitable for covering trees and large landscapes, the coveted fines are ideal for use as a compound in small flower gardens, raised flower beds, and even in containers. ,
To improve its use in small crops, pine barks work very well, improving the drainage of high-quality water from vegetarian beds and patios when they develop in the ground. Many cultivators prefer to use this mud modification to create their container soil.
You can also apply pine fines, like dirt conditioner, around acid-loving plants like azaleas, magnolias, and holly.
How to Compost Pine Bark
Crush the fine bark for 1-inch or less. Smaller chunks of pine bark will break down quickly. To do this, you can hire a wooden chipper.
Flattened pine bark in 1 row. Add 1 kilogram of urea per cubic meter of pine fine and moisten until the bark is moistened like a spilled sponge. Wear a second layer of bark 1 foot higher than the first. Stir in the second layer and add more urea. Continue stirring and add 1 layer of pine barks until the row is 12 feet at least 3 feet wide. Bark must be constant humidity of 50 to 60 percent to prevent the creation of the fungus to grow on dried bark.
Turn the row once a week by shifting each row to the right of your current location with a shovel. Mix the bark as you move the line and soak it to moisten 50-60 percent again. The bark should be reduced to loam within 10 weeks.
Add lime, starter fertilizers and micronutrients such as iron, zinc, and manganese before adjusting the soil or using a compost pit.
If the composted bark is infested with fungi, the fungus will cause the bark to repel rather than absorb it. This will cause problems in the composting process. Compost that produces fungus will find it difficult to absorb moisture. Plants placed in potting mix and soil amended with this problem will not be able to absorb water at the root level.
Soil For Raised Bed: Raised Bed Gardening Soil Mix Recipe
What is Raised Bed Gardening?
As the name suggests, raised bed gardening is a technique people use for gardening in various ways. It works quite simply. The raised concept implies that soil is raised above the ground. Usually surrounded by some material, like concrete, wood or rock. The soil can also be enriched with compost. People use it for planting vegetable plants.
These plants are usually placed in a geometrical pattern, much closer than what is conventionally done. Raised beds are often used in complex structures. They offer higher productivity They can be used to control erosion, they also save water. They can also require fewer nutrients due to the bed structure. These structures can be used in large areas for crops as well.
Benefits of Raised Bed Gardening:
Now you must be wondering what are the benefits of this form of gardening? Well, there are many. Firstly, they extend the planting seasons. Which means that they can grow in irregular seasons as well.
They can reduce weeds as well if taken care of properly. The soil is raised up from the ground, which means that no one will be walking on them and damaging them.
Furthermore, these are great options for elderly people. They won’t have to bend over to manage them or take care of them. People also use self-watering raised beds to further lessen the work. These beds are fed water automatically and don’t require human intervention.
How is it Different?
The second thing to consider is the material. While it is natural to have concerns, you needn’t worry. If you really want to save money, you can always opt for concrete blocks. They look unattractive no doubt, but let’s face it, if you are doing it for the crops then does it really matter? Concrete blocks are really cheap and readily available in the market.
If you want something better and attractive. Then the best option is timber. Timber wood is great and used in many materials around the world. Timber wood is strong and long-lasting.
You can also use polythene which is UV treated. This is again quite a good option and one that lasts long. Ultimately people end up choosing different materials. This is the beauty of these beds, you can opt for different options. Now that you know the basics. If you are planning to set up a raised bed garden. That is great!
However, you need the perfect soil recipe. It can get quite difficult for first-timers. Which is why we will tell you how to have the perfect soil mix recipe. If you get a well-balanced bed mix, it can produce up to four times more than row crops! The soil in raised beds tends to warm faster as well, which means you will get a head-start in the season for growth.
However, you must remember that none of this is possible without having the right balance in your bed’s soil.
To begin with, you probably want to buy compost and fill up the bed’s box. If you can get organic compost in your region that would be a great option as well.
In case you don’t know what composting is, it is decomposed organic matter. Which is recycled so that it can be used for various purposes? Getting it in the box is the basic step for healthy growing.
Before buying your compost, make sure it has been completely finished. The same goes if you want to use any manure. Make sure that the manure has been composted and it isn’t hot anymore. Any leftovers in the manure can hamper the fertility of the soil.
Add in a little mix to the compost, like peat, pumice or vermiculite. This helps in the drainage of the bed, quite useful for root vegetables. The perfect way to make sure that your compost is ready is to spread it in the fall.
You can leave it on the surface to finish in the cycles of winter. It will be ready by then. If you don’t want to spread the compost in the fall, no sweat. You can use it as you go.
You can strike bales and straws in the beds and find them with good results in the spring. The bale does two things for you it prevents weeds from growing and it conditions the soil beneath it.
If you are putting up new beds in the spring, why don’t you put your first planting in the straw bales? Straw bale gardening has really grown popular in recent times. Some gardeners have even gone to the extent of skipping boxes and growing in the bale!
Good and healthy organic soil is the most important thing for healthy, nutritious vegetables. It is filled with air that plant roots need, it is fluffy and loose as well. It has adequate nutrients and minerals for plants to grow and get a great yield. Filling your bed’s soil is a great chance to get a high-quality soil.
Here is the recipe you need for it:
0) 5 bags Black Gold Peat Moss, 2.2 cf x 5 = 11 cf. Black Gold Peat Moss is a natural, organic soil conditioner. It has an excellent mix of materials. It contains an extraordinary cell structure that helps regulate moisture and air around plant roots creating an ideal growing environment.
It also helps to save water. You probably want to mix liberally with any soil to improve water retention, soil aeration and to stimulate root development. Click here to Buy.
1) 3 bags Teufel’s Organic Compost, 3 cf x 3 = 9 cf. Helps to build the soil and feed the plants. It contains an active source of organic matter, humus and other important soil builders required by plants to prosper.
It has no sewage sludge or biosolids that are often found in commercial brands, which is harmful to the soil. You want to apply it evenly wherever organic matter is needed. Each bag will cover a 3′ x 6′ area 2″ deep.
2) 4 bags Worm Castings, 1 cf x 4 = 4 cf. Vermicompost or Worm Castings are the rich digested soil that red wiggler worms leave behind. They contain no chemicals. Helps plants grow and fight off diseases. Has as many as 10,000 different microbes, which helps plants grow.
They are odour free as well. You can grow them indoors or outdoors. Nutrients are in a form which can be used essentially by plants. It improves the quality of the plants, vegetables and fruits growing. It has a neutral pH, which means it can be used for all plants.
Laboratory results show that even 10% vermicompost in potting mix improves germination rates, plant growth, appearance and fruiting. Also contains natural growth hormones that provide a strong kick to plants. Evenly apply 5-10 pounds per 100 square feet and work into the soil. Click here to Buy
3) 3 bags Organic Chicken Manure, 1 cf x 3 = 3 cf. Organic Chicken Manure Fertilizer provides a well-balanced supply of nutrients to plants. Great for mulching and moisture retention. It won’t burn and is compliant with the USDA’s National Organic Program. It has been approved for organic use.
Gives over 5 times more plant food value than steer manure. It is weed and dirt free. Ground for uniform texture. Guaranteed for grow your plants etc. It has a slow timed release for more effect. Click here to Buy
4) 2 bag Therm-O-Rock Organic Vermiculite, 2cf x 2= 4 cf. Therm-O-Rock Organic Horticultural Vermiculite is certified Asbestos Free and when mixed with peat, bark or compost, it provides moisture retention and splendid aeration.
Another one of its features is that it won’t rot and it is of #3 medium grade. It helps to support the robust root structure. It also kindles fast root growth. A natural mineral which holds more water than perlite or pumice and when heated, it expands. Click here to Buy
5) 3-6 lbs Azomite. Down to Earth Azomite is made from natural volcanic mineral deposits which contain more than 70 minerals. It has been verified that it enhances crop production and rate of growth.
Another benefit includes the simple and clean application the formula is almost dust-free. The availability is in 6lb. box. Down To Earth Azomite offers a large variety of minerals and trace elements that can aid deeply rejuvenate depleted garden soils.
It can not only be applied directly but also in a mixture with other soil amendments. Broadcast 3-6 lbs per 1,000 square feet in your lawn and consistently water it well. Click here to Buy
6) 1-2 lbs Kelp Meal. Dr Earth Kelp Meal is resultant from cold water Norwegian seaweed instilled with seven strains of beneficial soil microbes. It is a greater raw material that actually revitalizes and progresses the biological life of your soil.
Dr Earth Kelp Meat is the perfect raw material for vegetable gardens, roses, trees and shrubs, and tropical plants. Amongst many features the most remarkable is that it is a potent all-rounder ingredient that assists all plants, it also encourages health in all planting applications.
Not only is it a superb source of potash but also contains minerals, vitamins, hormones, growth regulators and enzymes. For container plants, it is advised that you add 1/4 cup per 1/2 cubic foot of soil and blend comprehensively for maximum effects. Click here to Buy
7) 3-6 lbs Oyster Shell Flour. Add Down To Earth Oyster Shell Flour for your absolute plant health and soil conditioning. The variety of particle sizes in this crushed mix confirms speedy and long-term discharge of calcium which builds stronger plants that can endure disease and pest assaults.
It is OMRI listed and recorded for consumption in organic production. Not only does it support solid root growth and uptake of all minerals but also progresses and improves soil texture and aeration. It benefits by Raising pH in acidic soils.
For use in lawns, broadcast 1/4 to 1/2 cup per 10 square feet in your lawn reliant on soil analysis and water consistently. Click here to Buy
8) 2-4 lbs All-Purpose Fertilizer. Dr Earth Premium Gold All Purpose Fertilizer is OMRI listed and recorded for usage in organic production. The exceptional function of this fertilizer is that it discharges its balanced plant nutrition rapidly, yet lasts and continues to feed for several months.
It naturally encourages healthy growth and larger, more profuse harvests. Comprises of not one GMOs or sewage sludge. It is made of 100% natural ingredients which eliminate the requirement for synthetic chemicals.
A handcrafted blend which is safe for pets and people both and is perfect for every plant in your garden because it includes beneficial soil microbes. It is greatly suggested for vegetables, flowers, potted plants and all types of shrubs and trees.
For the use in gardens while bed preparation, mix 1-1/3 cups for every 10 sq ft of growing area, or 6 cups for every 50 ft of planting row in your garden and work the soil evenly to a depth of 6-12 inches and water it well and consistently. Click here to Buy
In this way, you can get the perfect bed gardening soil recipe. This mixture will provide you with the optimum level required for plants, crops and fruits to grow.
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Designed to enrich your native soil.
Containing no harmful synthetic chemicals, this all-purpose mulch and soil amendment mixes with your native soil to help loosen clay and adds mycorrhizae for strong root development to help plants grow full and lush. Mix it with native soil and use it for a variety of flowers, shrubs and trees. Adding G&B ORGANICS SOIL BUILDING CONDITIONER to your soil helps aerate it, allowing it to retain water more efficiently. You can also use G&B ORGANICS SOIL BUILDING CONDITIONER as a mulch on top of the soil for additional water conservation, keeping the soil cool and moist.
Download OMRI Certificate
G&B Organics Soil Building Conditioner is listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), the leading non-profit, internationally recognized material review organization accredited by the USDA Quality Assessment Division. Every ingredient and every process that goes into making G&B Organics Soil Building Conditioner have been verified 100% compliant for organic use, all the way to the original source.