Keeping the garden tidy requires a few deft moves with the right tools, and, time and again over the seasons, shrub rakes are... Read more »
Entire books have been written on the science of making compost, but it isn’t as hard as people think. In five easy steps, you... Read more »
Weeding, pruning, and raking all make a huge difference in the appearance of a garden, but, to finish the job, you have to rou... Read more »
The Fiskars® aluminum shrub rake features a slim head with uniquely tapered tines that are perfect for reaching into tight spac... Read more »
Our Eco Bin Composter features an easy-to-assemble, easy-to-use design that can simplify and speed the composting process. It i... Read more »
Our HardShell® Kangaroo® Gardening Container is perfect for all your outdoor cleanup needs — whether you’re gathering yard and... Read more »
Are school fundraiser ideas keeping you up at night? A unique handmade art piece that represents your school is sure to be a p... Read more »
Creating beautiful and personal touches does not have to be difficult, especially when you have great designs to work with! Read more »
Recycle and give a new life to some of your old T-shirts Read more »
Teresa Collins is a top craft celebrity who has been featured numerous times on My Craft Channel, HSN, QVC and DIY network, wel... Read more »
Our unique Tag Maker with Built-in Eyelet Setter features an innovative design that makes it easy to create tags perfect for gi... Read more »
By creating a few simple tags, you won’t be caught at the fabric store not knowing what fabrics or yardage you have in your st... Read more »
A brocade drawstring pouch can be a beautiful and luxurious accessory or gift. Read more »
Transform a simple hoodie into a super simple unicorn costume and take the stress and pressure out of making a complicated Hal... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Serrated Fabric Shears sense blade separation an... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Try some new punches out and make some cards to celebrate World Card Making Day! Read more »
A personalized Duck Tape® crown is quick and easy to make with your Fiskars® Duck® Edition Scissors. It is a fun way to cele... Read more »
Our Preschool Training Scissors features a special training lever that opens the blades after each cut, helping children learn... Read more »
Children love our Designer Non-stick Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the colorful handle patterns that make cutting fun and the non... Read more »
Our Designer Non-stick Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those ol... Read more »
Transform a basic jacket into something personal and unique. Read more »
Create a simple reusable calendar to plan all of your back to school activities. Read more »
Creating a miniature collage with your Fiskars® Duck® Edition Scissors is a great way to use up any last bits of Duck Tape® yo... Read more »
Designed for long, easy cuts down strips of Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that preve... Read more »
Designed for all-purpose cutting through a range of craft materials that incorporate glue, tape and other sticky adhesives, our... Read more »
Designed for tight, precise cuts through a range of craft materials that incorporate glue, tape and other sticky adhesives, our... Read more »
No matter how many synthetic chemicals are added to your soil, without the proper moisture holding capacity and the proper pH, much will be wasted. When sufficient organic matter is present in soil, it will have the proper balance to manage drainage properly and soil pH will be neutral for efficient uptake of nutrients.
Think of soil rich in organic matter as a savings account for your plants. The nutrients are released back to your plants much like a steady income. The more you need, the more you get. The nutrients found in organic matter stay in the soil much longer than water-soluble synthetics which rapidly leach through the soil. Moreover, soils rich in organic matter will typically contain all the necessary nutrients, thus eliminating the need to add supplemental synthetic nutrients.
Now visualize someone who has just been given a lot of money all at once. Rather than putting it in the bank, they spend it all immediately. It feels good temporarily, but when it’s gone, it’s gone. There are no reserves to draw on over time. That’s how I think of water soluble inorganic fertilizers. They work but what nutrients aren’t absorbed by the roots quickly pass through the soil, leaving behind potentially damaging salts.
Organic matter is, was or comes from living things. Some of the most common natural amendments found in nature include decomposed plant residue, dead roots, excreted waste from soil dwelling organisms, composted bark, manure, leaves and sticks. When you think of a lush forest or woodland setting, all that makes up the soil there is a collection of natural amendments over time. The only fertilizer is what is derived naturally from the soil. And yet how lush a woodland setting is.
In our home landscapes and gardens, we can create the same affect. In addition to the amendments mentioned above, we can use grass clippings, mushroom compost, peat moss, peanut or coco shells and so much more. Collectively, it may be just good old compost; the biodegraded product of raw organic matter, albeit a collection of the above or a single ingredient such as rotted tree leaves. But whatever it’s made of, it contains billions of living beneficial microorganisms and includes vital organically derived nutrients.
There’s a second reason adding organic matter is so import to creating healthy soil as I alluded to in my opening paragraph. It improves drainage of compacted soils and increases water retention in loose, sandy soils. Amendments incorporated into the soil allow some particulates to bind together while preventing others from creating too large a mass. In total, the organic elements along with the native sand, silt or clay work in harmony to improve the structure, tilth and texture of any soil, while at the same time, building up nutrients and reducing the need for supplemental water and fertilizers.
As you build healthy soil in your home garden and landscape, how much you add will depend on the condition of your soil before you start. The amount will vary but your goal is to add enough so that compacted soil breaks apart and loose soil binds together.
There’s no cookie-cutter recipe for this but here’s a good rule to follow. Your goal for adding organic matter to the soil should be to end up with a consistency that binds together when squeezed but breaks about easily when disturbed. It doesn’t take as much as you think and more is not necessarily. You just want to supplement the native soil, not replace it. Over time, organic matter will continue to break down and decompose so you will need to periodically add more. But as you do, know that your soil is getting better and healthier all the time and as you continue to feed the soil, you’re plants will reward your efforts.