5 Ways to Improve Your Soil Organically | Reader's Digest

5 Ways to Improve Your Soil Organically

Improve your soil's texture, structure, and fertility with these organic solutions.

from The Reader's Digest Garden Problem Solver

     

  • 1.

    Composted Manure

    Composted manure is the decomposed waste from herbivores, such as horses, cows, rabbits, and chickens. It improves soil texture and drainage, and supplies low levels of plant nutrients. The pH of composted manure ranges from slightly acidic to neutral.

  • 2.

    Compost

    This is a blend of decomposed vegetative matter such as chopped corn stalks, straw, kitchen peelings, and grass clippings. Finished compost is usually dark brown and has the earthy smell associated with good loam. Compost improves soil texture and drainage while supplying low levels of nutrients. The pH is nearly neutral, ranging from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline.

  • Compost© iStockphoto/Thinkstock

  • 3.

    Leaf Mold

    Compost made solely from dead leaves is called leaf mold. It is particularly favored by rose growers and woodland gardeners because these plants thrive in the slightly acidic to neutral pH of a blend of leaf mold and soil.

  • 4.

    Peat Moss

    This is the partially decomposed remains of sphagnum moss, which is collected from ancient peat bogs. Once wetted, it retains moisture very well, but peat moss can be hard to remoisten after is has been allowed to dry out. Peat moss improves soil texture, and is an excellent acidifying agent, because its pH ranges from acidic to slightly acidic.

  • 5.

    Mushroom Compost

    This is the spent growing medium used for mushrooms. It is a blend of partially composted organic materials, including horse manure, straw, corn cobs, and peat, with added limestone and gypsum, and sometimes fertilizer. It improves soil texture and supplies low levels of nutrients. The pH ranges from slightly alkaline to neutral.