Dean A
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Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:17 am

Soil Fertility

Can anyone tell me the best way to increase the fertility of my garden soil organically?

Thank you!!!!!

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ElizabethB
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Location: Lafayette, LA

Re: Soil Fertility

Hi Dean,

Welcome to the forum.

What nutrients are lacking in you soil? If you have not had a soil test done you do not know what nutrients are lacking, how much is lacking or what is needed to correct the deficiencies. What you intend to grow also impacts what is needed.

Members can not give you a good answer without the basic information provided by a soil test.

Get in touch with your County Extension Office and find out their procedures for soil testing then have the test done. Post again once you have the results.

You will get many very helpful replies.

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Soil Fertility

I agree with soil testing. Most labs will give you synthetic recommendations. If you want organic, ask for it.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Soil Fertility

But in the long run, how you increase the fertility of your soil organically is to keep feeding it lots of organic materials. All the compost you can make and keep your soil well mulched all the time. I use a green/brown mix for mulch just like I do for the compost pile: fall leaves + grass clippings, pulled weeds + shredded paper, etc. I think it breaks down faster that way, doesn't mat down, and it is a complete soil food. Keep adding more as it breaks down. If you are really working on enriching your soil, you can add well aged, composted manure a few weeks before you plant and at the end of the season.

Since I don't buy any commercial additives, I don't bother with soil tests - wouldn't change what I do anyway. Nitrogen is the most transient of the nutrients, so the one you most need to focus on when you are doing it my way.
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imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Soil Fertility

Compost is always good to add to any soil but you can go overboard with anything and throw things out of balance. You can add too much fertilizer or add too much alkaline compost, pot ash, phosphorus, or manure to the point where it can leach and be harmful to the environment and imbalance your soil. You should only add what you need, more is not better. If you start with a good soil then you can add mostly just compost. Compost improves water retention and helps to retain soil nutrients but in itself it does not contain a lot of nutrients. What is does do is provide a good environment to support the soil web. Plants take out nutrients at different rates and that is one reason for using different successive crops that scavenge excess nutrients or use different ones. Like corn and beans or corn and cabbage.

All compost is not created equal. If you have a multi source compost that is good but you want to limit compost made from a single source like forest products. I have clay soil and it holds a lot of water in the rainy season. There can be too much compost when large amounts of compost is added to clay. The combination keeps the soil too wet for too long especially in the rainy season.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Aury Nathil
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Re: Soil Fertility

In order to improve the soil fertility add manures for nitrogen, tap chicken power to mix organic materials into the soil, plant cover crops. These methods will help in improving the fertility of soil. Avoid the use of pesticides and insecticides and add organic manure.

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