Top 5 Soil Amendments

January 20, 2018 Edible Gardens 1 comment

“Like the soil, mind is fertilized while it lies fallow, until a new burst of bloom ensues.”

John Dewey, Art as Experience

Soil glorious soil, It’s the thing that makes it all work. You cannot have high quality nutrient dense plants without quality soil. We get so many questions around what to add to the soil that we thought we would give you our Top 5 Soil Amendments. So in no particular order, here we go.

1. Rock Dust

Rock Dust is ground up volcanic rock such as basalt and granite, which have the highest mineral content. A by product of the mining industry previously thought of as waste.  Nowadays it’s being sprinkled around gardens across the world in order to reintroduce minerals and trace elements to the soil.  In turn the boosted mineral and trace element increase microbial activity in which the plants benefit from. This we class as a key ingredient and one of our top 5 soil amendments.

An image of rocks, for rock dust as soil amendment.

 

2. Leaf Mold

Due to the ineffective methods of collection, coupled with the fact that it can be very time consuming. Add on the time it takes to rot down Leaf Mold tends not to be the sort of thing you find in your average garden centre. This means you tend to have to make it yourself and this is why we have included it in our top 5. Those who choose to make it themselves which is a very easy thing to do, can class the product as a non commercial product and therefore non of the carbon footprint normally associated with transport and commercial production. Formed from decaying leaves it provides an invaluable soil conditioner. The best quality Leaf Mold is produced from the leaves of Oak, Beech or Hornbeam.

A picture of leaves, soil amendments

 

3. Worm Castings

Classed as organic fertilizer so if your looking for a safer and better alternative than chemical-based fertilizers, then you might want to consider worm castings. Some people also refer to it as vermicompost which is the same thing. As soil amendments go this one’s absolutely brilliant. and will add nutrients and minerals to your soil.  Minerals such as calcium, concentrated nitrates, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. We really like worm castings because of the results that increase yields. It will also protect the plants and the soil from diseases, as well as helping the soil to retain moisture.

An image of worms in soil, soil amendments compost

Mycorrhiza, soil amendments4. Mycorrhiza

This fungi is found naturally occurring in nearly all soils. These incredible fungi provide a secondary spider web like network which acts like an extra root system for the plant. As organisms they have a symbiotic relationship with plants that is mutually beneficial. Mycorrhiza can absorb water and nutrients specially phosphorus from the soil which in turn work with most edible plants except Brassicas i.e. Cabbages, Brussels Sprout and Beets. Research has shown that Mycorrhiza will not do well in soil with too much phosphorus from chemical fertilizers. In ground repeatedly used for brassica growing or over cultivated soil. Obviously fungicides will kill them so keep them away from your garden beds.

5. Compost

Last but surly not least. Compost is one of the most well established soil amendments out there and by adding organic matter to the soil you provide lots of nutrition. Compost is organic matter that has biodegraded naturally. According to the EPA, the process of composting has been shown to absorb odors and treat volatile organic compounds. In some cases the process of composting has eradicated certain pesticides, wood preservatives as well  as chlorinated and non chlorinated hydrocarbons.

A picture of compost, Soil Amendments

So that’s our top five soil amendments hope you like them. If you wish to read our blog on Quick Crops For Survival just click.

Until next time. Learn as you grow.

Your friendly Suburban Farmer – Edible Gardens Team

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