Soil Calculator | How Much Soil Do You Need?

Automatically calculate the amount of soil you need in both imperial and metric units. This soil calculator shows the amount for both bulk and bag purchase and can be used for any type of material including topsoil, compost, mulch, and gravel. Automatically calculates the soil needed – give it a try to see how easy … Read More

Soil pH Testers-Are They Accurate?

Every gardening book and web site recommends that you get your soil tested and one of the main tests is for pH. You can get a professional lab to do the test, or you could use one of the convenient soil pH test kits made for gardeners.  How useful and accurate are the results of … Read More

Should You Get A Soil Test?

Almost everyone recommends getting a soil test, including most gardening web sites, USA extension offices and gardening experts. I disagree! There are good reasons for getting a soil test, but the general advice of getting regular soil tests for homeowners does not make sense. Here’s why.

Measuring the Number of Microbes in Soil – The Microbial Biomass

Gardeners have come to understand that the microbe population in soil is critical for healthy soil and healthy plants. There is also tremendous chatter on blogs and in social media about “doing the right thing” to increase microbe populations. Companies have packaged microbes to produce garden “probiotics”. Just sprinkle a bit on your soil and … Read More

Is Lead in Garden Soil Killing You?

Lead is a toxic heavy metal that can be very harmful to your health. It has been used in a lot of products including paint, gasoline and cans of food. Lead levels in soil found along roads is higher than in soil located farther from the road and some people won’t grow vegetables in a … Read More

What is Bagged Garden Soil?

As part of my research on soil products I became aware of the fact that most garden soil is not garden soil. If it is not soil what is it?

Does Clay Improve Sandy Soil?

Sandy soil can be a difficult place to garden. It dries out quickly. It lacks nutrients. The amount of microbial life is very low. But it is easy to dig. It is claimed that clay can be added to sandy soil to improve it’s qualities but does this really work? Adding clay to sand is … Read More

Fertilizer Nonsense #4: Soil Tests

Lots of information in books and on websites recommend a soil test to help you select the right fertilizer numbers. This is very good advice but it has limitations.

Perlite vs Vermiculite – Which Soil Additive is Better?

Perlite and Vermiculite are both used as soil additives and they seem to do the same thing. They make soil lighter, hold water and nutrients, and increase drainage. If they are so similar, why do we need both? In this post I will compare the two products and make it clear when and why you … Read More

Buying Soil Probiotics (Microbes) – Are They Beneficial, Effective or Nonsense?

The market is being flooded by new products offering all kinds of soil microbes. Many companies call them “beneficial” and others call them “effective”. Specialty products like mycorrhizal fungi, probiotics and bacteria for degrading lawn thatch are now available. There are even probiotics to speed up your compost pile. The market is still sorting out … Read More

Soil Moisture Meters – Do They Work – Should You Use Them?

I see soil moisture meters for sale all over the place and now there are numerous brands listed on Amazon. A lot of people must be buying them, but do they work? Are they accurate enough? Should you use soil moisture meters to determine when to water your plants? Let’s have a close look at … Read More