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.

| June/July 2003

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.

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

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