AMENDING THE SOIL WITH COMPOST
Plants may grow satisfactorily in just plain topsoil, but in time they begin to suffer. This is also true of older soils that haven’t had any organic matter added to them in a while. All plants need to breathe and feed just like we do. Without proper nutrition, they become weak, sick and more vulnerable to pest problems. The best soils are ones that have a uniform texture throughout the root zone, allowing water and air in, workability, a good balance of minerals, and organic matter for high productivity. Basically, fluffy soil. Not many of us have this soil naturally. However; it can be achieved.
The tiny particles of clay soil are so tightly stuck together they don’t allow oxygen flow to reach the roots as easily. Water also has a harder time penetrating the surface. When it does, it has a hard time draining and could easily suffocate your valuable plants. Sandy soils on the other hand allow the water and air in, but dry out quickly and valuable nutrients are lost rapidly. Adding sand and clay together do not make one or the other better. In fact it just makes a low grade cement. So even though the disadvantages of sand and clay vary from one extreme to the next, the way to correct them is the same. A quality compost rich in organic matter. As organic matter breaks down it improves the disadvantages of both hard clay soils and sandy soils. Improving soil structure, adds valuable nutrients, making them available to plants. High quality compost adds life in the form of micro-organisms. If your soils not alive and working, the plants suffer. Adding organic matter can also help to neutralize the pH of your soil. Not all composts are the same. The quality of ingredients that go into the compost can make all the difference in how your plants react and preform.
HOW TO AMEND YOUR SOIL FOR NEW BEDS, GARDENS, AND NEW LAWNS:
When preparing soil, first make sure it is dry enough to work in the compost. Working wet soils can compact it even more. To test to see if it is dry enough. Take a handful of soil about 3” down and squeeze it together into a ball. Drop it on a hard surface. If it shatters, you can go ahead and work it. If it stays together, wait a day or 2, and then check it again.
Add 2” to 3” of compost to the top and mix into your soil about 6” to 9” in depth. Ideally, you want 1/3 of compost to 2/3 of your soil. Never add more than 1/3 of compost. More isn’t better and can harm your plants.
For Established shrub and flower beds it is not recommended to dig into the roots. You can add about 1" in the late fall, and scratch it lightly into the soil.
For hard compacted soils use Miller's Fertimulch Poultry Compost, Mushroom Compost or Miller's Soil Prep.
For Sandy Soils or for a depleted soil use Miller's Premium Organic Compost.
For Flower Beds we do not recommend Steer Manure. While vegetables LOVE it, flowers do not.
Fall is an excellent time to prepare your vegetable and annual flower gardens for the next year. If you add compost in the spring, allow 2 weeks prior to planting for best results.
HEALTHY SOIL = HEALTHY PLANTS
Miller Companies LC. Hyrum, UT 435-245-3157