What is Soil?
Soil is by definition, the upper layer of earth where plants grow. Soil is generally black or dark brown and consists of a mixture of organic matter, clay, and rock particles as well as minerals, gases, water, and organisms. Potting soil or planting mix is not soil at all because natural soil tends to be too heavy for most houseplants and other container grown plants. Planting mix is commonly made of peat, composted bark, sand, and/or perlite and is sterilized to avoid the spread of weeds, pests, and diseases. Specialty soils can be used for planting in pots or mixed with your own soil to improve the quality when planting in the ground.
How to Make Soil Acidic
You can lower soil pH by amending your yard or garden with aluminum sulfate or elemental sulfur. Aluminum sulfate is a chemical compound that reduces the pH of your soil. Elemental sulfur is pure sulfur which is an element that acidifies your soil. Both aluminum sulfate and elemental sulfur work by making aluminum available to your plants. This reaction acidifies the soil. Elemental sulfur is the cheaper choice, but aluminum sulfate works faster so it is usually the preferred choice of most gardeners.
How to Raise Soil pH
Solu-Cal Enhanced Calcitic Lime can increase pH faster than anything on the market. You will be ready to get your lawn off to a great start within 8 weeks. Maintain an optimal soil pH by using this product up to 3 times per year. An ideal pH level helps with nutrient availability, microbial activity, soil structure, and turf vigor.
How to Test Soil pH
Soil can be tested with a simple test that can be found at most garden centers. Be sure the water you use is not rain water or tap water as they can affect the results. Rain water can be acidic and tap water can be basic. Distilled water can be purchased at most grocery stores, pharmacies, and big box stores. Your local extension agent may offer soil testing services at no cost. Find them here.
How to Amend Clay Soil
Clay soils can be improved by amending with compost and organic planting mix. Till or break up the ground as deep as you can, going at least 6 inches below where your plants will sit for planting. Water heavily. Always maintain at least 50% of your natural soil for best results. Your plants will ultimately have to adapt to the native soil.
How Much Soil Do I Need?
When planting most of our trees we recommend 1 bag of our Organic Plantting Mix per tree mixed in with your native earth. These 3lb bags are also a perfect amount for a modest repot into a container a size or so up, like from a 1 gallon container to a 2 gallon container or a 2 gallon to a 3 gallon. 1 bag fills 2 standard 1 gallon containers without a plant in them so you will need 2 bags to fill a 3 gallon container (container sizes vary). 3 pounds of potting mix is almost 3.5 dry quarts. How many dry quarts in a cubic foot of soil? There are 25.7 qt dry in 1 cubic ft. How many cubic feet in a yard of soil? There are 27 cubic ft in a cubic yd.
Featured Soil Mixes
Give your plants the best start with our organic planting mix. PlantingTree’s special blend conditions existing soil and helps retain moisture. It is ideal for repotting plants, establishing new plants, and container gardening.
Pittmoss Prime helps grow bigger stronger plants and reduces watering requirements. Mix with your favorite soil or planting mix. Pittmoss is made with organic, recycled natural fibers.
This potting blend has ideal moisture retention which reduces your watering needs. Optimal aeration and biological activity encourage proper root development. Great for starting seeds and better for the environment than peat moss.
Use ⅔ less water with Pittmoss Organic Potting Mix. This blend promotes beneficial biological growth, better nutrient absorption, and vigorous root growth.
Daddy Pete’s Potting Mix is versatile for garden use. Try this blend of compost, pine bark, perlite, and gypsum for indoor and outdoor plants, including vegetables, herbs, raised beds, potted plants, and more.
Daddy Pete’s promotes sustainable gardening with this unique blend of composted cow manure, peat moss, aged pine bark, perlite, sandy loam, oyster shell, oceanic fish, shrimp, and crab meal, earthworm castings, bat guano, and kelp meal!