Soil and Compost


If you get nothing else from this website, I hope you will get this: Having good soil is the key to successful vegetable gardening.

If you take the time to nurture your soil, you will be rewarded with healthy crops and a beautiful garden environment.

One thing that will destroy your soil is using chemical fertilizers that aren’t organic.  They will destroy your soil food web.

This food web consists of earthworms, mites, bacteria, fungi and other organisms that release mineral nutrients and create the loose soil structure crops need to thrive.  They grow around your plant roots, obtaining nutrients and water that they then share with your crops.  Some microorganisms prevent diseases and help fend off insect invasions.

You can nurture this soil food web by using compost and organic mulches.  It also helps to plant cover crops and to minimize tilling.

Nurture your soil, and the soil will in turn feed you healthy, tasty, beautiful crops.


Soil Testing

It is often recommended that home gardeners have their soil tested to determine the pH and nutrients present (or lacking) in the soil.  Then there are others who will tell you not to bother and that is not necessary for home gardeners. It is beneficial to analyze your soil at least once to determine the …

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Soil Testing – an at home test

Here is a soil test you can do at home that will tell you more about the health and structure of your soil.  This test has been routinely posted at the “Soil and Mulch” forum at  It is posted by a very knowledgeable contributor who goes by the user name of “Kimmsr.”  I thank …

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compost carbon to nitrogen table


Compost is what happens when formerly living things decompose.  It’s incredibly easy to make compost.  Set living things aside to rot.  When they’ve decomposed, you’re done! Compost can be produced faster by managing a more complex process.   Gardeners manipulate the decomposition process to create an abundance of compost quickly. Compost has several benefits: *          It’s …

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Sheet Composting

Sheet Composting Lasagna Gardening Mulching All of these techniques involve layering rotting organic matter onto the soil surface.  This builds soil up and is an EASY way to create fluffy soil that is nutrient rich and ideal for growing vegetables. The mulch also suppresses weed growth and shades the soil.  The shaded soil holds moisture …

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my compost

My Compost Tumbler Experience

Most of my composting has been sheet composting, but I also use bins to provide extra compost for certain garden areas or to use in seed starting or container gardening. I have had these three compost tumblers for several years.  Due to their large size it was a bit of a challenge to move them …

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No-till Practices

I routinely rototill my vegetable gardens.  We own three old rototillers, so we are usually able to keep at least one of them running and ready for garden bed preparation.  I have heard and read some about NOT tilling, but have never taken the time to seriously consider it.  Working on this page has convinced …

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cover crops table

Cover Crops

A cover crop is a crop planted with several goals; to manage soil fertility, soil quality, water, weeds, pests, diseases, biodiversity and wildlife in an ecological system that produces food. They add nutrients to your soil. They offer a stable environment for microbes and earthworms. They reduce erosion. They prevent heaving damage from freezing and thawing. As roots decay, they loosen soil. They shade …

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Worms and Vermicompost

Worms are valuable critters.  In addition to improving soil chemically with their castings, worms improve soil physically by opening airways and drainage holes as they travel. Worm castings are a mixture of their manure and the slime emitted through the worms’ skin.  It is called vermicompost, and is very rich in plant nutrients.    Studies have …

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