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Improving Soils

Amending compacted soil
Living in the Bay Area, most gardeners have to learn about heavy, clay soil.  this type of soil becomes easily compacted and needs to be opened up. Compacted soil is bad news for plants because it doesn’t "breathe". It needs to be opened up and amended in order for the life in the soil- and by extension your plants- to thrive. There are some easy steps to treat compacted soil.

1) Open up the soil. There are several ways to do this, you can disc, rip, or rototill the soil.  Or if you have some time you can sheet mulch and let the life in the soil do the work for you.

2) Work in a 2" layer of compost and wood amendment.   One part Diestel Compost or Verma Green Compost mixed with one part Fine Redwood Amendment or 1/4" Minus Fir will add life to the soil, feed the soil and keep the clay soil open

3) Finally, cover with a 2" layer of mulch to protect the soil and provide additional food to the soil. This application will also protect the soil from the compacting effects of rainfall or simply being walked on. For best results, you’ll want to renew the mulch in fall and perhaps again in spring or summer. 

Feeding your soil, naturally
To grow healthy plants, you need to feed the biology in the soil. These organisms break down organic matter into a form of food the plant roots can take up. It is a complex system of relationships between soil organisms and plants.  A living soil helps plants’ roots grow deeper, access more water and need less frequent irrigation and a living soil provides a diversity of nutirents to the plant when the plant needs it.

Using organic fertilizers is a gentle and effective way to maintain a healthy soil. Ultimately it is the organisms in the soil that feed your plants. The organisms are most prolific in the root zone of plants. Organic fertilizers feed the life in the soil, the life in the soil transforms the organic fertilizers into foods that the plant can use. There is no waste, all food is either held in an organisms body or taken up by the plant. 

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