I haven't been the most diligent with getting my soil tested, other than the kits you buy at Lowe's because it takes too much time, but one thing I'd say to help is to plant different families of veggies in different places which I know isn't always easy. There are so many things that I grow that are in the cucurbit family; cucumbers, all squash (which is many), melons, and pumpkins. I try to not put them in the exact same spot. It depletes the soil of the nutrients that that particular vegetable required. To make your soil better this is what I do. If I don't have any home made compost (which is scarce) I buy a few bags of humus/manure ($1.47/bag@WalMart) and mix it with peat moss and add it to the soil when I plant, whether one plant or a row or section. Not only is it putting some raw materials back into the earth but it makes your soil more fluffy (I'm sure that's a technical word for experienced gardeners), easier for your veggies to take root, therefore take up the nutrients also. This year because of my past problems with squash bug and cucumber beetle (which destroy everything in the cucurbit family, 3/4 of what I grow) I purchased some beneficial nematodes. Wow! Don't know if it's the combination of it all but my squash plants are the most beautiful green, large leaves, producing machines than I've ever had in my 10-15 yrs of gardening. Hope that's helpful.
I would do a test before adding anything. Lime will be of no help if your soil is sweet to begin with. I think Foxrun meant compost, that will not hurt it at all but I would still test your soil first.
The testing should be of help to find what you need to add to the soil. You could add compose and lime.
I have some areas in my yard that I'd like to landscape, however the soil is clay. What are some ways that I can improve the soil to make it more user friendly?
By Karen from Luthersburg, PA
You need to remove the grass where you will plant and till in some peat moss and some vegetable growing soil like Miracle Grow soil, Sam's Club or something comparable. Or you can save a little money and ad compost or manure if you already have that on hand. Till this in to help lighten the soil.
You can help beat drought like conditions by using some straw on top of soil. It helps reduce the water evaporation process. It is best to not fertilize when in drought like conditions. Fertilizer or manure causes the soil to heat.
It is best to not have compost to close to a building in very warm states or parts of the world. The compost can actually cause a fire.
Good luck with your garden!
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