An organic amendment is a type of organic matter that is mixed into the soil, where it continues to decompose, slowly releasing its nutrients to the plants. This article will look at the most common organic amendments and discuss how to use them.
Fresh/well rotted manure: Manure can be incorporated into the soil to add nutrients and organic matter. Up to an inch of manure can be added and mixed into the soil. Well-rotted manure can be added in fall or spring, fresh manure can only be added in fall as it needs the winter to rot. Use in moderation, as excess amounts of nutrients from too much manure cannot be taken in by the plants and will leech into the water.
Compost: Compost and organic matter from decomposed plant matter can be worked into the soil. Material should be well decomposed especially if added in spring. Composts made of manure, lawn clippings, alfalfa, and other nutrient-rich material should be applied at a rate similar to manure, while compost made from leaves or wood can be spread more thickly.
Green wastes: Crop residue is the remaining plant matter after a crop is harvested. Crop residue can be worked back into the soil, but any diseases on the crops might be retained. Therefore, it is a better idea to compost crop residue and use grass clippings instead. As long as the lawn hasn’t been treated with pesticides in the last few weeks, the grass clippings are safe to use.
Sawdust: The garden can be amended by adding sawdust. Generally, a good rate is about a half an inch of sawdust, or about a bushel of sawdust for every 25 square feet. Add rotted manure or a nitrogen-based fertilizer alongside the sawdust in order to negate its use of nitrogen to decompose.
Peat moss: Peat moss can be obtained from garden centers, and used to amend the soils. Add about an inch of loose peat and mix into the soil. Because peat is acidic, add limestone unless the desired intention is to lower the pH of the soil. As a rule, four pounds of lime should be added for each 100 square feet.
These are the most readily available organic amendments available to gardeners. By knowing their benefits and drawbacks, gardeners can use them properly and get the benefit from the soil amendments while avoiding the drawbacks.