Solving Compacted Soil Problems

Doreen G. Howard shares tips on solving compacted soil problems including the use of permanent gardening beds and building a garden microbe ecosystem.
By Doreen G. Howard
June/July 2003
Add to My MSN

Tips for solving compacted soil problems.

Content Tools

Related Content

Show Off Your Permanent Garden Beds

Participate in our reader photo contest by showing off pictures of your permanent raised garden beds...

The less you walk on soil, the better your plants will grow.

This photographic illustration shows how permanent gardens beds are beneficial, and prevent soil com...

Make Gardening Easier: Build Permanent Beds and Paths

MOTHER EARTH NEWS Associate Editor Shelley Stonebrook offers tips for building permanent garden beds...

All About Growing Parsnips

Learn about growing parsnips, how to plant parsnips, and some recommended parsnip varieties for orga...

Learn about solving compacted soil problems in the garden.

Solving Compacted Soil Problems

A quick permanent bed can be built by piling a 6-inch layer of topsoil, peat, composted cow manure and compost on the ground.

A 100-square-foot bed requires:
• Four 40-pound sacks of composted manure
• Two 3.4-cubic-foot bales of peat (plus 2 cups of garden limestone to balance the peat's acidity)
• Four 40-pound sacks of topsoil
• Four wheelbarrows of compost

Mix and gently mound materials; water thoroughly to stabilize the bed. Plant seeds and transplants, then mulch immediately with at least 3 inches of organic material. it will take the microbes a couple of weeks to build an ecosystem, but healthy soil will be achieved more quickly. Be sure not to compact the newly built soil in any way. After the harvest, plant a cover crop.

Post a comment below.


2/9/2009 10:19:00 PM
I have been research soil for the last month or so(spring will come)for ways to create a more fertile soil. I read through a number of good sites and did learn a lot about soil that confirmed what I already knew ie the typical system of adding various materials to your existing soil followed by DIGGING IN. I have followed that process in the past with intermittent success. So I was very excited when I found your EXCELLENT site discussing the pros of using cover crops to sustain the fertility of soil and the process of building a new garden on top of the existing one without digging the new and old beds together. I need look no further THANK YOU FOR THIS FREE INFORMATION I can hardly wait for spring! I do remember my mother rotating her garden to use the nitrogen enriched soil created from her pea crops..... Val Stirling

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.