Extension Gardener Class 2
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Growing Healthy Soils
Soil is the foundation from which all plants grow. If your soil cannot provide plant roots the nutrients, air, water, beneficial microbes, and physical support they need to grow, your plants will never thrive. This class will focus on common soil problems, how to diagnose them, and how to improve your soil with compost, cover crops, and other soil amendments.
For an in-depth understanding of soils take Soils 101, a self-paced online course offered by N.C. Cooperative Extension and NCSU’s Soil Science Department. Cost of the course, which covers nine modules, is $30. Learn more and register online.
Learn more about topics discussed in this class:
Improving Clay Soils
- Modifying soil around your home for plant growth, NC Extension publication
- Improving landscape and garden soils, Missouri Extension publication
- Advice from Durham County Extension Master Gardeners
- Determining your soil texture – includes instructions for great hands-on methods to measure your soil’s texture
Composting and Cover Crops
- Learn more about composting and cover crops from this presentation I developed while in Pender County
- N.C. Cooperative Extension Home Composting webpage
- NC State Extension Vermicomposting webpage (composting with worms!)
- Leaves are a great (and free) source of organic matter. Visit this webpage from Texas Extension for tips on using and recycling leaves
- This composting fact sheet from Clemson Extension has good problem solving guide
- Clemson Extension also has a good fact sheet on vermicomposting
- This article I wrote a few years ago discusses the benefits of different types of cover crops
Fertilizers and Lime
- Fertilizing with Organic Nutrients, fact sheet from NCDA
- A Homeowner’s Guide to Fertilizers, fact sheet from NCDA
- A Gardener’s Guide to Fertilizing Trees and Shrubs, NC Extension publication
- Soil Acidity and Liming, in-depth fact sheet from NC Extension
- Does your lawn or garden need lime? I wrote this article while in Pender County but much of the information applies to the Piedmont
- Overview of soil sampling – why, how and when
- Soil Sampling for Home Lawns and Gardens – pictorial guide from NCDA
- Gardener’s Guide to Soil Testing – NC Extension publication
- Review slides on soil testing presented during soils class
- Soil sample boxes and forms are available from any county Extension center. Sample forms can also be downloaded
- Soil test reports are posted online
Use Extension Search to find research based information from Cooperative Extension systems across the U.S.