If you’ve recently finished a landscaping project and find yourself with extra soil, don’t let it go to waste. You can utilize that extra dirt in many ways such as creating garden beds or raised vegetable gardens.
Another way to utilize extra soil is to fill in low spots in your lawn or garden, which will aid with drainage.
If you have extra soil in your garden, you can use it as a potting mixture for plants in pots and containers. This mixture can be created from garden soil or combined with organic materials like peat moss or compost.
Different potting mixes exist, but all have the same purpose: to help you grow healthy plants in small spaces. Most potting mixes include some sort of mulch (usually bark), organic matter like compost or peat moss, as well as something to create air pockets and improve drainage.
Porosity of a potting mix is critical for successful root development. A mix with large pores, created by adding mineral aggregates, will allow water to drain through into the medium and into the surrounding soil, giving plants ample aeration opportunities.
Some potting mixes also include nutrients like fertilizers, giving your plants the extra push they need for successful growth. You can add lime to the mix for extra flavor as well.
Another crucial element in potting is the pH level of the mix. High-grade potting mixes should have a pH around 4.5, ideal for most plants. If your mix has too low of a pH value, adding some lime can help raise it back up.
When using a mix that contains mostly peat moss, the pH level can become extremely acidic. To counteract this effect, adding some limestone or other alkaline material will help balance things out and encourage healthy plant growth.
You can also incorporate other substances that promote aeration and moisture retention, such as perlite, vermiculite or coconut coir into your potting mix. Doing so will add extra moisture-holding power to the soil, preventing parching after being watered.
Some people will use old potting mix to propagate giveaway plants like asters or bee balm. By placing used soil at the bottom of a plastic container and filling it with fresh mix, you can save yourself some money while giving your plants an opportunity for success.
Peat moss is an organic material gardeners use to create potting soil or plant compost. It’s lightweight and spongy, which has several advantages such as retaining water and preventing compaction – making it the ideal planting medium for seedlings that need a sterile, pest-free environment to grow strong and healthy.
Peat moss is often included as a soil amendment or ingredient in potting mixes, but other materials can also be utilized. Some of these alternatives include coconut coir, wood fiber, worm castings and vermiculite.
Some gardeners may mix compost and peat moss together in an effort to save money or increase the organic matter added to their soil. However, it is best to only use small amounts of each type in a growing medium.
Many commercial potting mixes and triple mixes contain peat moss and compost, but you cannot guarantee they are at the correct ratios or that your garden will benefit from them. Instead, focus on finding a product that meets your needs while saving money and reducing its environmental impact.
Composting peat moss to your pile can be an effective way to improve its carbon-to-nitrogen balance, making it suitable for use as a potting mixture, planting soil or plant compost.
Another option is to lay an 8-inch layer of peat moss as the foundation for your compost pile. Then, top that off with several inches of finished compost or garden soil and mix them together using a garden fork or shovel.
Spread the remainder of your compost over top. You can add green yard clippings, shredded newspaper and dead leaves for additional benefits to the mix.
Start your compost pile off with a layer of carbon-rich peat moss, then gradually add other ingredients as it matures. If you don’t have enough brown, carbon-rich materials for this goal, add kitchen scraps and green yard clippings to improve its carbon-to-nitrogen ratio and make working with your compost easier.
Instead of throwing away extra soil in your garden, why not use it as the basis for a new pond? Not only will this save you the expense of purchasing a liner, but it’s much more eco-friendly too.
Before digging out your pond, it is wise to draw out its basic shape on paper. This will enable your local pond store professional to provide you with advice regarding the materials necessary for building your water feature.
Before creating your pond, it’s wise to check for underground springs nearby. These reliable sources of natural water can often be hard to locate in some regions; however, some county NRCS or Soil and Water Conservation District offices will have test pits available for inspection so you can confirm if there’s water beneath your land’s surface.
If there isn’t a spring nearby, your pond must rely on surface water and overland flow for its water source. These less stable sources are less reliable than underground springs and can create serious issues if not managed correctly.
To prevent the pond from overflowing, install a spillover point that diverts excess water away from your house. Doing this will prevent it from flooding during dry conditions or heavy downpours.
Another factor to consider is the depth of your pond. A shallower setting offers greater visual interest with decorative rocks and fish, but it also encourages algae growth; therefore, keeping your pond clean and clear will keep all wildlife happy and healthy.
To guarantee your pond has a secure bottom, you’ll need to add plenty of rock. This task may prove challenging for those with sandy or loamy soil in their yard. A trip to your local river or beach can provide you with rounded stones and pebbles ideal for creating your pond.
If you have extra soil in your garden, why not use it as mulch? This will keep the soil and plants moist, shield them from weeds, and boost soil nutrients.
The initial step in any landscaping project is calculating how much mulch you will need. To do this, multiply the square footage of the area to be mulched by the number of inches covered, then divide that number by 12 to get an approximate amount of material needed.
Once you know how much mulch is necessary, spread it evenly around the area you wish to protect. Be sure to leave an inch or two between the mulch and any tree trunks or plants so their roots have room to breathe and absorb water.
You can also add a layer of soil over your mulch for additional nutrient supply. An inch or topsoil will rejuvenate the soil, making it easier for plants to absorb essential nutrients. This technique is especially helpful when cultivating plants that require lots of nutrition such as tomatoes or potatoes.
Mulch can also act as a weed barrier. Blocking out sunlight and making it difficult for weeds to grow is beneficial; however, you should still pull back the mulch in springtime to allow new plants to emerge.
Mulch can also be used to create pathways and improve the structure of your soil. Wood chip mulches are a popular option as they retain water, preventing mud buildup in yards. Furthermore, depending on which wood species you use, you can customize their hue to blend in with your landscape.
Alternatively, you can use gravel to protect soil from moisture and keep the ground cool in summer. Its fine texture allows it to mulch down quickly and remain in place on slopes.
Another option is to use a blend of mulches, such as cedar bark and organic matter. These may contain various bark types and materials that compost more quickly into the soil than other mulches do.