NatureFirst USA

How to Build Organic Soil

eHow Home & Garden

Your success in organic gardening depends in large part on
the soil you build. Start with any native soil and add the right organic
amendments to nourish your plants. Then let the bed mellow for a month or more
and get growing.

Things You’ll Need:

Fertilizer Analyzer
Bow Rake

Step1Evaluate your native soil. Whether you have it tested or draw your own
conclusions, determine its needs for nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and trace
elements. Use your own experience or ask a veteran gardener to teach you about
any particular amendments that local soils need, such as lime.

Step2Amend your soil with elemental organic fertilizers - they have only one or
two ingredients per bag. Find local sources for nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium
and trace elements - and further your commitment to the organic attitude.

Step3Improve your native soil by adding organic matter ("om") to gain two
important benefits: more water retention and better drainage. Use animal manures
for their combination of om and nutrients, along with at least one other om,
such as compost, ground bark, leaf mold or peat moss.

Step4Read fertilizer labels and apply the recommended amount for your garden
area. Use this rule of thumb for adding organic matter: 3 inches of native soil
can usually incorporate 4 to 6 inches of combined manure, compost and so on.
Step5Add an inch of sharp sand to the mix plus lime if indicated, then start to
dig the elements in together. Think chili, not lasagna, and be sure no distinct
layers remain after tilling.

Step6Rake your organic soil mix into beds or rows and water it once. Wait a
month or so for the elements to mellow, then plant to your heart's content.

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Tips & Warnings
Check for local organic fertilizers at garden centers, health food stores and
farmers' cooperatives, as well as at organic farms, horse barns and chicken

Compost any raw manures for at least six months before adding to your garden.



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