How To Amend Store Bought Soil

5 Ways to Amend Store-Bought Soil

How To Amend Store Brought Soil-plants-growing-in-garden-soil
Plants growing in garden soil

At the roots of growing healthy plants is the soil type, soil does matter, what happens below ground will determine what happens above ground. Garden plants or seeds that are sowed in poor soils or soils that have poor drainage and little nutrients will negatively impact plant life. Many soil types are sold under different brands or trade names but some of these soils lack what’s needed for proper plant growth.

Some soil companies also package and sell soil or sell soil that was excavated from different sites by truckloads, but even many of these soils are of poor quality and must be amended.

Many soil brands are formulated for different plant species, for example, some soils are formulated for roses and then there are organic soils that contain soil amendments that are great to use especially if you are growing an edible garden such as a vegetable or herb garden even fruit trees.

When it comes to gardening successfully what you don’t want is to hit and miss by guessing when you can get the guesswork out of the way by first having a soil pH test done to determine what’s lacking not only with your native soil but store-bought soil as well.

Ways to Amend Store-Bought Soil

If you have brought soil that is of poor quality don’t despair, the good news is many soil amendments can be used to assist with soil improvements which will transform that less-than-ideal soil into the ideal soil that will encourage healthy plant growth.

1. Compost

Composting is a great way to enrich garden soils, what I love about compost is this natural organic is not only rich in nutrients but will help to condition your garden soil structure, for example, the proper absorption of moisture, better water drainage, better airflow and will increase microbial activity that will have a positive impact both on garden soil and plants. Another great benefit to composting is that you can start from your backyard, even if you don’t have much space composting is still possible on a small (indoor composting) scale. For more or composting a few links have been provided for you.

How To Amend Store Bought Soil
Garden Soil

2. Peat Moss

Peat moss is void of nutrients but the benefit of adding peat moss is the ability to absorb and retain moisture and fertilizer, peat moss is the ideal soil for acidic-loving garden plants, for example, pothos, azaleas, ficus, paphiopedilum, blueberries ext….  Dry peat moss is very loose and dusty so it’s best to wet peat moss first which will make it easier to work with. Peat Moss is ideal for sandy soils to improve the absorption of water and fertilizers.

3. Manures

The application of animal manure is an old practice that has been around for some time, manures are animal waste that is nutrient-rich and will supply garden plants with nutrients besides conditioning the soil.  The ideal manure to use is cow, horse, chicken, rabbit, and goat manure. Animal manure however is very expensive, animal manure can be obtained from stables and farmlands some plant nuresery may also carry manure.

Never use fresh manure because fresh manure will cause plant burn because of the high ammonia content, wait until the manure is odorless, dark, and crumbly to the touch for use. Never use dog or cat waste which will contaminate soil and garden plants.

4. Grass clippings

A great natural organic to add to garden soil is grass clippings, grass clippings can be worked into the soil of bedding plants and garden beds, once grass clippings are worked into the soil will decompose slowly. A word of caution, refrain from using grass clippings from lawn areas that are full of weeds, have been treated with pesticides or herbicides, or a diseased lawn.

5. Worm casting

Worm casting is an organic form of fertilizer that is produced from worm excrement will enrich native garden soil and even store brought soil. Worm casting is also known as vermicast or vermicomposting. Worm casting is football-shaped particles that will not only add nutrients but will increase water retention in the soil, and improve drainage and soil aeration.

How to Mix Store-Bought Soil for Improvements

Based on the amount of soil that’s needed place your store-bought soil in a wheelbarrow along with the soil amendment and mix thoroughly with a garden spade shovel. A hand trowel is also handy to keep nearby. As amendments are mixed with soil ensure that hard lumps are brokenup before application. You may need to make applications at least twice per year, the ideal time to make soil improvements however is when garden beds are first established or before plant installation.

A Bouns Tip Just for You

A simple test that is effective in determining your soil type.

Damp some of your native or garden soil and make a ball from this damp soil by scooping up a handful and pressing it together.

  • If the soil falls apart easily once the pressure is released or if it begins to crumble when you tap it you have sandy soil, another test is if water drains fast once applied your soil is sandy
  • For clay soil press the soil between your thumb and your finger, if it stays together or forms a ribbon it’s clay, if the soil feels silky or smooth once smeared or press between your fingers, or if after it rains or you have watered your garden and the water takes a while sometimes an hour or longer to drain then you have clay soil.
  • The ideal garden soil has a nice rich dark color, it takes five seconds or less for water to be absorbed. Dig into the soil, if you see earthworms is another indication of a good garden soil.

The  Final word on how to amend store-bought soil

Growing a successful garden calls for the right soil type which means making improvements as needed, whether you are growing a flower garden, shrubs, herbs, veggies, fruit trees, etc… providing the right soil type will yield the results good results. Purchasing the wrong soil type still can work for you by transforming it into the ideal soil by applying one or more of the methods in this guide. You will be happy with the results as you reap a good harvest because that dead soil can become energized and go to work for you.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

4 thoughts on “How To Amend Store Bought Soil”

  1. Hi I think revitalizing store-bought soil is like giving your garden a nutritional boost. It’s all about creating a cozy home for plants. I love how experimenting with organic amendments becomes a hands-on journey, as each gardening venture has a personal touch that brings life to the soil and, in turn, the plants. Have a good day. 

  2. Hey Norman, these are very useful tips, I love plants but never have luck in planting them, I usually plant in pots and I don´t know how many times I should water them, do you have any tips on that? I have often had issues with maintaining my compost. I sometimes sprinkle some ground eggshells on them once a week. Am I doing the right thing? thank you very much for these wonderful tips. Let all give back to nature



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