Organic Amendments to Benefit Soil

Author: Meera, January 28, 2013


Amendments are easy to work into the soil in raised beds

Amendments are easy to work into the soil in raised beds



There are many ways to improve soil composition to grow healthy plants. Healthy plants produce more abundant and bigger yields.


The soil on the Henny Penny Farmette is mostly heavy clay. After a rain, its sticks together like solid, cold mass of margarine. In the summer, it hardens like concrete and also cracks.


To make soil more porous, it is necessary to add amendments that permit air circulation and water penetration and retention.


There are basically two different types of amendments. The mineral amendments such as vermiculite, pumice, and perliteĀ  are generally used in sandy soil to create aeration and water retention. Types of organic amendments for soil such as our clay soil include manure, leaf mold, ground bark, peat moss, and sawdust. These rely on bacterial action to break down into a soft, crumbly humus.
In our vegetable growing boxes that are 4 feet by 6 feet, we include 25 percent organic amendments to 75 percent soil. Sometimes we even up the percentage of amendment material. We turn it thoroughly.


The clay soil immediately benefits from the tilling (adding air) and also from the blending of organic material into the soil to change its density, nutrient value, and permeability to water.


Raised beds, which I first saw on farms in villages along the Volga in Russia, allow us to control the soil and makes it easier to add amendments and mulch. However, we also have garden beds, too, that benefit from organic amendments.



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