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5 Must Have Soil Amendments

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Shhhhh…it’s a secret

The secret to healthy plants is a healthy soil. Everything a plant needs to be healthy and produce comes from the soil. If it isn’t in the soil it never gets to the fruit thus it never gets to us. The soil is alive, and it needs to be fed before anything else can come to the table. Consider some of these important soil amendments when getting your garden beds ready this spring.

Compost

should be added every year to a garden bed. The benefits of compost are numerous. Organic matter will increase soil complexity, increase water absorption while improving drainage. Compost also feeds many of the beneficial microbes living in a healthy soil. Microorganisms break down complex food like natural fertilizers and decomposing plant matter back into things the plants can eat. I like to recommend at least two inches of compost added to your beds every year.

Zamzows Nutri Rich

is an organic fertilizer made from poultry litter? The litter is collected and heat treated to form an odorless pelletized fertilizer that is high in calcium. It is also naturally slow releasing so it feeds for a long time. This works best when broadcast over the bed with your compost and tilled in or manually turned over.

Sulfur

is a very important element that our Idaho soils lack to varying degrees. People in Eagle and the surrounding area will not need as much as people in Kuna. Our soils generally have a very high ph. High ph will lock up nutrients making them unavailable to plants to absorb. Sulfur will lower the ph and release the nutrients back into to the soil so our plants can use them.

Gypsum

is a unique soil amendment in that it adds very little to no nutritional value to the soil. The purpose of Gypsum is to loosen hard clay soils and improves drainage. Gypsum works best when applied in early spring and in the fall as its effects tend to wear off over time.

Foundation

is a soil amendment/fertilizer that is great to use at planting time for all plants in the flower beds and garden. Foundation is a pure earthworm casting amendment. Earthworms do an excellent job of decomposing plant-based material into more basic forms that plants can use directly. Worms have a very simple digestive tract that relies on bacterias to break down the material. The castings that are left improve the soil by allowing better water absorption while allowing excess to run out. They also leave behind very simple elements that are immediately available for plants to use. Because it is such a mild fertilizer it can be used on even the most sensitive plants.

The soil is our most valuable resource. Everything that goes wrong or right in our plants begins with the soil. The biggest secret to successful gardens is learning how to prepare and care for our soils.

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