Seed Catalogues & Soil Amendments

Tis the season…
…for Seed catalogues!

My first seed catalogue arrived in the post this week! I will be found happily pouring over the pages to see any new (to me) seed varieties that are available and to decide which ones I should consider purchasing to add to my own personal collection or to try, just for fun!

I do most of my seed ordering online, however there is nothing like getting my hands on an actual catalogue full of gorgeous photos taken from the past seasons harvest to inspire me and I often have to whittle down my seed wish list to a more manageable amount financially, as well as, for a more realistic view of what I can truly expect to accomplish in the space and time I have to give the garden.

Over the years, I have been asked many times about ‘Soil Amendments’ and what their purpose is in the garden. I have a reference list that I use but soil amendments or additives can vary a lot depending on soil requirements and on the types of additives available from region to region. However, in my travels on the Internet, I came across this great graph at Planet Natural and although I am not trying to promote their site, I thought I would share the graph with you folks. It gives a well rounded selection of amendments and their recommended application rates. Although personally, I would go a little lighter on the application rates, preferring instead to build up the additives slowly over time in order to create a more balance soil composition.

I would highly recommend before adding anything to your soil, besides compost, to have your soil analyzed by a local lab and hopefully this will help to determine what your soil needs most to get off to a good start. Often asking other gardeners in the area what they have experienced, can also be very helpful.

Most soil amendments are added to improve the structure of the soil, to increase the organic content so that the soil is more capable of holding nutrients and moisture. When these organic materials are added to the soil, they also act in varying degrees as fertilizers, providing a mix of nutrients to plant roots.

  • Alfalfa Meal
    Primarily a plant source of nitrogen, Alfalfa Pellets (5-1-2) also contains trace minerals and triacontanol, a plant growth promoter.
    25-50 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Blood Meal
    A strong, slow release source of nitrogen, Blood Meal (13-1-0) is also chock-full of trace minerals.
    10-30 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Bone Meal
    Granulated for easy application and quick uptake by plants, Bone Meal contains 20% phosphate and up to 23% calcium.
    10-35 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Chicken Manure
    Composted Chicken Manure (3-2-2) provides a well balanced supply of nutrients and is excellent for mulching and moisture retention.
    1 cu. ft. covers 200 sq. ft.
  • Coconut Coir
    Made from compressed coconut fiber, coir is an eco-friendly peat alternative! Works anywhere you would normally use peat moss, rockwool, vermiculite, perlite, or pumice.
    1 part coir to 2-3 parts soil.
  • Compost
    No amount of organic fertilizer can make up for poor soil. Compost provides a microbially active source of organic matter and other important soil builders required by plants.
    Up to 20 lbs. per 100 sq. ft.
  • Greensand
    Contains about 7% total potash, along with iron, magnesium, silica and as many as 30 other trace minerals. May also be used to loosen heavy, clay soils.
    50-100 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Gypsum
    Used to loosen heavy clay soils, Agricultural Gypsum contains about 23% available calcium and 18% sulfur.
    40-120 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Kelp Meal
    A great source of micronutrients and beneficial plant growth promoters. Kelp Meal also encourages tolerance to stresses such as pests, disease, frost and drought.
    5-20 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Dolomite Lime
    Sweetens soil (raises pH in acidic soils) and is a quality source of calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg). Promotes healthy plant growth.
    25-50 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Rock Dust
    Improves soil vitality and plant health. Rock Dust contains a broad range of trace minerals. Many of which have been slowly lost through the ages, by erosion, leaching and farming.
    50-150 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Rock Phosphate
    Provides up to a 10 year reserve of phosphorous! Contains 27% total phosphate, 33% elemental calcium and many other trace minerals. Great for flowering plants.
    50 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Shellfish Meal
    A source of calcium (23%), nitrogen, phosphorus, and a large number of trace minerals. Contains chitin, which stimulates the growth of soil microbes that inhibit root-knot nematodes.
    30 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Sulfur
    Lowers pH in alkaline soils. Elemental Sulfur contains 90% sulfur with 10% bentonite as a binder. Also useful around acid loving plants such as blueberries, azaleas and rhododendrons.
    10 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Sul-Po-Mag
    Also known as sulfate of potash-magnesia, Sul-Po-Mag is a quick release source of potassium and contains 22% soluble potash, 22% sulfur and 11% magnesium.
    5-10 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Worm Castings
    Gardeners know Worm Castings to be the most nutrient dense organic compost available. In soil, they retain water and release nutrients in a form that is easily used by plants.
    5-10 lbs. per 100 sq. ft.


Hope everyone had a happy holiday season filled with friends and family!!!
Happy Living!
Messy Shepherdess