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Extension Gardener Class 2

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.

Review the slides from this class: click here

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. To learn more and register online click here.

Learn more about topics discussed in this class:

Improving Clay Soils

  • Modifying soil around your home for plant growth, NC Extension publication: click here
  • Improving landscape and garden soils, Missouri Extension publication: click here
  • Advice from Durham County Extension Master Gardeners: click here
  • Determining your soil texture – includes instructions for great hands-on methods to measure your soil’s texture: click here

Composting and Cover Crops

  • Learn more about composting and cover crops from this presentation I developed while in Pender County: click here
  • N.C. Cooperative Extension Home Composting webpage: click here
  • NCCE Vermicomposting webpage (composting with worms!): click here
  • Leaves are a great (and free) source of organic matter. Visit this webpage from Texas Extension for tips on using and recycling leaves: click here
  • This composting fact sheet from Clemson Extension has good problem solving guide: click here
  • Clemson Extension also has a good fact sheet on vermicomposting: click here
  • This article I wrote a few years ago discusses the benefits of different types of cover cropsclick here

Fertilizers and Lime

  • Fertilizing with Organic Nutrients, fact sheet from NCDA: click here 
  • A Homeowner’s Guide to Fertilizers, fact sheet from NCDA : click here
  • A Gardener’s Guide to Fertilizing Trees and Shrubs, NC Extension publication: click here 
  • Soil Acidity and Liming, in-depth fact sheet from NC Extension: click here
  • Does your lawn or garden need lime? I wrote this article while in Pender County but much of the information applies to the Piedmont: click here

Soil Testing

  • Overview of soil sampling – why, how and when: click here
  • Soil Sampling for Home Lawns and Gardens – pictorial guide from NCDA: click here
  • Gardener’s Guide to Soil Testing – NC Extension publication: click here
  • Review slides on soil testing presented during soils class: click here
  • Soil sample boxes and forms are available from any county Extension center. Sample forms can also be downloaded here: click here 
  • Soil test reports are posted online: click here

Use Extension Search to find research based information from Cooperative Extension systems across the U.S.

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Written By

Photo of Charlotte Glen, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionCharlotte GlenState Coordinator, NC Extension Master Gardener Program (919) 515-1226 charlotte_glen@ncsu.eduHorticultural Science - NC State University
Page Last Updated: 2 years ago
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