When is the best time to add amendments to the soil? #277662 - Ask Extension


When is the best time to add amendments to the soil? #277662

Asked September 12, 2015, 3:17 PM EDT

I know I need to amend my garden's soil. Things have not grown well this summer!! I plan to have a soil test this month, September 2015. I have just been reading on this site about this big job. (Possibly sand, compost, peat moss, perlite, fertilizer, etc. Lots of work!) My first question: Is it better to do all this in the spring or fall? My second question: I have a few perennials in this garden area. Some yellow and white daisies I planted in fall 2014 and some coneflowers. Do I work around them or what?       

Hennepin County Minnesota

Expert Response

The soil test will help you make sense of amending your soil. If you can do this now, great!  Then you will be ready for spring planting
Julie Weisenhorn Replied September 13, 2015, 1:39 PM EDT

Thanks Julie. Is better to do it in the spring or fall?

Could you please also answer my 2nd question too?

The Question Asker Replied September 16, 2015, 10:42 AM EDT
Spring or fall will work. You could amend it now so it's ready in the spring for planting. Or, you could wait till spring. The advantage to fall is the work is done and often in spring the soil is frozen or really cold and wet to work with. Also prepping soil in the fall will allow you to plant early season crops like radish, sweet peas, peas, and leafy greens in the early spring.

Re: your second question - you could just work around the perennials.

Julie Weisenhorn Replied September 16, 2015, 11:20 AM EDT

Thank you again Julie! I appreciate your time and expertise. (And I assume you are a volunteer.) My husband heard about this site on the radio. This is the second time I have emailed. THIS IS AN AWESOME RESOURCE!!

It would be nice to do the amending this fall. But I'm afraid we may have too many other fall chores.

Would you make a house call and amend the soil for me?!?   ha ha


The Question Asker Replied September 17, 2015, 11:54 AM EDT
You're welcome Kathy! I am actually employed as Extension educator in Horticulture (and retired Extension Master Gardener).

Did your husband hear about the website on WCCO Smart Gardens radio show? I'm one of the Extension staff on the air. I'll be on-air next on Sept. 26.

Julie Weisenhorn Replied September 17, 2015, 12:05 PM EDT

Yes it was on WCCO's Saturday morning show. I will listen for you on the 26th!

I wish you would come over and do it for me!!!!

Thanks again for your time.


The Question Asker Replied September 17, 2015, 7:47 PM EDT

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