Soil Amendment. Composting & Soil Health. By Monika Meulman Gardener & LEGS Chair. Soil Amendment 101

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1 Soil Amendment Composting & Soil Health By Monika Meulman Gardener & LEGS Chair

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3 What is Soil? - complex mix of minerals, organic matter, & life Main types of soil in garden - Clay - Silt - Sand - Loam

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5 Clay Soil contains a high percentage of clay and silt. The particles are small and cling together, holding water and nutrients well. However, clay soil is susceptible to compaction, which can make it difiicult for the moisture and nutrients to reach plant roots and for roots to penetrate the soil. You can identify clay soil by its sticky, slippery feel and its tendency to cling to garden tools.

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7 Sandy Soil composed of larger, coarser particles. It drains quickly, but it isn't effective at holding moisture and nutrients. This type of soil feels rough and doesn't hold together well.

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9 Loam (Soil) good balance of clay, silt, sand and organic material. It's the best type of soil for gardening, providing drainage and retention of moisture and nutrients. Loam holds its shape when you squeeze it lightly and is easier to dig than other types.

10 Comparison of soil sediment

11 Did you know? One cubic centimeter of soil can be the home to more than 1,000,000 bacteria.

12 How to make dirt into soil. How to make soil into good loam Use amendments add ons Soil amendments improve the physical nature of soil. They reduce compaction, aerating the soil to allow water and nutrients to more easily move through it and reach plant roots. Some soil amendments also add nutrients to the soil and help retain moisture.

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15 Common organic soil amendments Sphagnum peat moss Humus Composted manure Mushroom compost Topsoil

16 Sphagnum peat moss Absorbs water, slowly releasing it for use by plant roots. It lightens clay soil, providing aeration, and adds mass to sandy soil, helping prevent the leaching of nutrients. Don't confuse sphagnum peat moss with decorative sphagnum

17 Humus consists of decayed organic matter. It improves fertility and aeration and helps soil hold moisture.

18 Composted manure odorless farm byproduct. In addition to improving aeration and moisture retention, it enriches the soil. Dehydrated manure is a similar product that contains less moisture.

19 Mushroom compost mixture of straw, peat moss and other organic components, formulated for use in commercial mushroom production. The mixture is used for one round of growing and then packaged as an amendment for the home garden.

20 Topsoil commercially produced compost that's usually partially decomposed. Because of its rough texture, use topsoil in the yard or mixed with other products, and not as a potting soil.

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23 Why do we need to understand our soil: Through photosynthesis and other plant metabolic processes, plants manufacture the complex structures they need to grow and reproduce. They do not require vitamins, minerals, or other complex compounds Plants need 4 basic requirements to grow: Water Air Sunlight essential elements How they obtain these basic requirements is dependent on the environment and the growth media in which they live. For most home gardeners, this growth media is soil.

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25 basic objec:ve of soil fer:lity management is to feed the soil, not necessarily the plant. Reference: Manufactured vs. Natural Fertilizers by Kevin Schoessow1 Area Agricultural Development Agent Burnett, Sawyer, & Washburn Counties

26 Primary amendments: lower acidity test ph Improve drainage

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28 What to consider, when getting a fertilizer or adding to soil: Think about release rate and cost of product used Fertilizers with fast release rates will stimulate quick growth, particularly in cool soils, and are also more prone to leaching of the nitrates into the groundwater and burning when over applied. turtle pace win the race

29 Natural vs Chemical pellets

30 Natural organic fertilizers made form waste products of various sources ranging from chicken feathers and manures to treated sewage sludge. These materials have very slow release rates, requiring soil bacterial action to convert the organic matter into forms usable by plants. Nutrients released will be excessively slow when cool soil temperatures reduce bacterial activity. Higher application rates may be applied and the fertilizer will last over a longer period of time. Natural fertilizers may also contain other nonessential elements not required by the plant. Ex: cottonseed meal, soybean meal, blood meal, bone meal, Iish meal, seaweed, and composted manures. Natural vs Chemical Soil Additives Manufactured organic fertilizers carbon is the building block that contain other plant nutrients. Manufactured organic fertilizers vary in release rate depending on the product. Urea is the most common manufactured organic fertilizer and is moderately fast in release, while sulfur coated urea is relatively slow release. Costs range from inexpensive to moderate. Manufactured inorganic fertilizers Chemical blends similar to organic fertilizers. Nitrogen fertilizers are normally made from petroleum or natural gas. Being relatively high in nutrient content, small volumes are required, and the fertilizer can burn if over applied. Phosphorus, potassium and other trace element fertilizers are often mined from the earth. Manufactured inorganic fertilizers include common products like ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, triple superphosphate, potassium chloride (potash) and magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt). Since they do not require microbial action to make them available to plants, these products are quick acting even in cool soils and theyare Soil Amendment inexpensive. 101

31 What Do the Numbers on Fertilizer Mean? 3 numbers on fertilizer represent the value of the three macro- nutrients used by plants. These macro- nutrients are nitrogen (N) green phosphorus (P) - colour potassium (K) - strength NPK for short

32 Nitrogen (N) nitrogen is largely responsible for the growth of leaves on the plant. Phosphorus (P) Phosphorus is largely responsible for root growth and Ilower and fruit development. Potassium (K) Potassium is a nutrient that helps the overall functions of the plant perform correctly.

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34 What Do the Numbers on Fertilizer Mean? Fertilizer numbers can be used to calculate how much of a fertilizer needs to be applied to equal 1 pound of the nutrient you are trying to add to the soil. So if the numbers on the fertilizer are , you can divide 100 by 10 and this will tell you that you need 10 pounds of the fertilizer to add 1 pound of the nutrient to the soil. If the fertilizer numbers were , you divide 100 by 20 and you know that it will take 5 pounds of the fertilizer to add 1 pound of the nutrient to the soil.

35 Adding special nutrients:

36 Adding special nutrients: Lime raises soil ph, reducing acidity. Sulfur lowers soil ph, increasing acidity. Gypsum improves aeration of compacted soil, helping it drain more efiiciently. Perlite improves aeration and drainage. Vermiculite improves moisture retention and aeration. Builder's sand is coarse sand that can improve soil drainage. Kelp meal source of over 70 vitamins and minerals 4 month release Bone meal excellent phosphorus access, balances out manure Note: Many gardeners choose to make their own soil amendment by composting

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38 Last thoughts: To do Test soil before adding anything Focus on drainage Focus on ph Fine- tune once you choose plants Be patient Watch out for: Avoid pesticides Avoid doing too much One size Iits all solutions Don t use diseased plants or unknown compost

39 Thank you 101 Soils Done!

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