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Soil and Amendments Buying Guide: Everything you need to know


Welcome to our comprehensive soil and amendments buying guide! With this guide, we hope to give you an overview of the different types of soil and amendments available, advice on how to use them properly, and how to select the right ones for your gardening needs.


The right type of soil is essential for healthy plants. Soil provides nutrients and structure necessary for it to thrive. When selecting soil or amendments, there are many considerations. To ensure your plants have the best chance for success, it’s important to select the most suitable products for your project.


What is Soil?

Soil is a complex mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, organisms, and microorganisms in varying amounts. The mineral part of soil consists mainly of sand particles (45-75%), silt particles (20-40%) and clay particles (10-30%). The organic matter content in soil varies widely but typically averages about 5%. This organic matter provides much of the soil's fertility. It also helps retain moisture in the soil.


What are Soil Amendments?

Soil amendments are materials such as organic matter, fertilizers, soil conditioners, and other substances that can be added to the soil to improve its quality. They can help increase water retention and drainage, supply nutrients for plants, buffer pH levels, and provide beneficial microorganisms in the soil. 


Types of Soil & Amendments

There are several different types of soils and amendments available on the market today. These include:

  • Organic Matter (Compost/Manure): Organic matter helps improve soil structure by improving aeration and drainage while also providing additional nutrients for plants. It’s also great for increasing organic material in sandy or clay soils.
  • Soil Conditioners: Soil conditioners, such as peat moss and vermiculite, help improve soil structure by increasing water retention and drainage. They also help buffer pH levels in the soil.
  • Fertilizers: Fertilizers provide essential nutrients for plants, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Different types of fertilizers are available to meet specific garden needs. 


How to Select the Best Soil for Your Plants?

Selecting the best soil or amendment for your particular project can be a daunting task. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:

1) Evaluate your soil type – Is it sandy? Clay? Chalky? Knowing your soil type will help you understand what types of amendments and fertilizers might be needed.

2) Know your plants – Different plants have different needs when it comes to soil. Are you growing vegetables, flowers, or shrubs? Knowing the type of plants you’re planting will help guide you towards the right choice of soil amendment.

3) Understand the need for organic matter – Organic matter is essential for healthy soils, providing important nutrients and structure. Make sure any amendment or fertilizer you purchase has some sort of organic component. 


Tips on Using Soil & Amendments

Using soil amendments can be tricky for inexperienced gardeners. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Always read the instructions on the package before applying the soil amendment.
  • Always wear protective gear, such as gloves and a face mask when handling soil amendments.
  • Once you’ve added soil amendments to your garden, make sure to till or mix it into the existing soil.
  • Add fertilizers at least six weeks before planting so they have enough time to blend with the soil. 


Common Soil Problems & Their Solutions

The most common issues with soils are compaction, low organic matter, poor drainage, and nutrient deficiencies. Here are some tips for solving these problems:

  • Compaction – Use a rake or shovel to loosen up compacted soils. Adding organic material can also help improve aeration and drainage in the soil.
  • Low Organic Matter – Adding organic material such as compost or manure can help increase the organic matter content in the soil.
  • Poor Drainage – If your soil is compacted and water isn’t draining properly, aeration and drainage can be improved by adding a mix of organic material and sand.
  • Nutrient Deficiencies – Adding fertilizers that contain essential nutrients for plants can help address nutrient deficiencies in the soil. 


Soil is an incredibly complex mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, organisms, and microorganisms that require careful management if it is to be productive. Knowing which types of soils you have and understanding their needs is essential for growing healthy plants. Adding the right soil amendments and fertilizers can help improve drainage, increase organic matter content, and provide essential nutrients for plants. Following proper safety protocols when handling amendments is also important to ensure a safe and healthy garden.