- Amending is improving the earth
- Recognize and amend the sandy soil
- Recognize and amend clay soil
- Recognize and amend the limestone earth
- Recognize and amend the humus earth
For gardening, the ideal soil is about 60% sand, 20% clay, 10% limestone and 10% humus. But here, in the garden as in life, between the ideal and the reality... But everything is perfectible! Even the land of your garden. The soil of your garden will allow you to correct its faults in order to have a larger lawn, more vibrant flower beds or more vigorous shrubs.
To amend the soil of a garden according to its nature
Amending is improving the earth
The word "amender" means improve or correct in the sense of making better. Do not confuse soil amendment and fertilizer. The amendment will correct the imbalances in the composition of the soil. The fertilizer supply will bring nutrients to the plants.
Frankish soil (about 60% sand, 20% clay, 10% limestone and 10% humus), it is loose, slightly acidic and well drained thanks to the sand. But most often, an element dominates and gives its characteristics to the ground.
To know the complete composition of your land, you can ask an analysis in gardening. But by observing it and recognizing plants that grow naturally (bio-indicator plants), you will already have a pretty good idea of what it is: sandy, clay, limestone, humus.
Recognize and amend the sandy soil
- Characteristics: A so-called sandy land if it contains more than 70% of sand.
She is rather light in color and she crumbles between her fingers. The advantage is that it is easy to work with and is the easiest to amend. It heats quickly in the sun (an asset for early planting in spring) but it retains neither water nor fertilizer. It becomes easily dry and it is often necessary to bring fertilizer.
- Bio-indicator plants: quackgrass, chickweed, broom, heather.
- Amendments: Bring free soil, if you can find some or a little clay soil and especially organic materials (well decomposed manure or compost). Avoid the peat that will certainly allow it to better retain water but that will not bring him the nutrients it lacks.
If it is acidic, add lime.
Recognize and amend clay soil
- Features: A clay is called clay if it contains more than 25% clay. It is heavy and compact. Wet, she sticks to the shoes and dries, she cracks. She is hard at work. It is cold and plants often have trouble starting. But it is fertile and requires little fertilizer. In summer, it stays cool and holds water and fertilizers well.
- Bio-indicator plants: Daisy, dandelion, bindweed, plantain, buttercup.
- Amendments: The first thing is to add sand (from 1 to 2 m3 per 100 m²) or peat (about 200 kg per 100 m²). Also bring manure, horse preferably. Every 3 years, spread lime (2 handles per m²)
Recognize and amend the limestone earth
- Characteristics: It is whitish and stony. It is as compact as clayey earth but it does not retain water or fertilizers. It is a poor land that often needs fertilizer. It is alkaline and blocks the assimilation of iron by plants (chlorosis)
- Bio-indicator plants: White clover, poppy, sage, mustard, thistle.
- Amendments: Add some the heather earth to raise the pH, peat or organic matter (well decomposed manure or compost).
Recognize and amend the humus earth
- Characteristics: A soil is too humid if it contains more than 20% humus. She is black and light. It retains water well enough to become wet or spongy if it is poorly drained (humus retains up to 100% of its weight in water!). She is very nourishing but very acidic. And it is difficult to amend.
- Bio-indicator plants: nettle, sorrel, heather, fern, broom.
- Amendments: Start with add clay and limestone as well as sand to improve drainage. To neutralize its acidity, every 2 years, bring some lime.