When soil is good, plants thrive, but when soil is bad -- well, fortunately, it can be fixed. To do that, you first have to understand what goes into soil, why soil can be difficult, and how to transform it into a growing medium that allows your plants to flourish. First, test your soil; that will determine what your soil has enough of and what it's lacking. Many homeowners have great soil to start with, while others are faced with soil that's too sandy or has too much clay. Amendments can help, including compost, manure, and peat; we offer a guide to how much to work in and how you can change your poor soil into great dirt. Even good soil can benefit from a few additions, including supplemental nutrients; here's how to achieve the best balance and give your plants the best growing conditions possible. While you can amend clay soil, you can also work with what you have by choosing plants that are more tolerant of this type of growing medium. Start with our recommendations of 25 beautiful plants that offer color and texture in the often slippery, solid soil that is clay.
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Garden Soil 101
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Coping with Bad Dirt
Poor soil can mean a disappointing garden. Discover ways to beef up your soil.
Create Rich Soil for Your Garden
Amp up the plant-growing ability of your garden by improving your soil. Learn how to create good dirt.
How to do a Soil Test
A soil test helps determine the best way to improve your soil: what to add and what to balance.
Evaluate Your Soil
Do you know what kind of soil is in your yard? Learn how to ID your soil type and figure out how to improve it.
How Organic Matter Helps Your Soil
Feed your soil naturally with so many options: compost, well-rotted manure, and other natural options.
Give Your Soil What It Needs
Your soil is asking for help! Determine how to amp it up so you can grow a gorgeous garden.
Soil Amendments & Nutrients
It’s not rocket science, but it is science. Find out what to add to your soil to make it better.
Top Plants that Thrive in Clay
If you have clay soil, don’t despair. Here are 25 plants that will set down roots and flourish in clay.
Improve Poor Drainage
Wet soil can mean the end of many plants. Check out these solutions to go from bog to beautiful.
Guide to Soils and Potting Mixes
Learn to identify different soil types.