Improve Soil Drainage Using A Common Sponge (Agriculture-Guide)

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How To Improve The Drainage Of Plants and Trees In A Surprisingly Cheap and Easy Way

Actually there are many ways to improve drainage using several soils that are readily available for purchase, but if you want to improve drainage in a cheaper and easier way (at least I think so), use a sponge . Yes… you read right — a sponge!

The Agriculture Guide’s Foolproof Way To Improve Soil Drainage Using A Common Sponge:

Buy several sponges or collect them throughout your home.
Locate a pair of scissors.
Begin cutting your sponges into pieces that are the size of a walnut or hazelnut.
Mix these small sponge pieces into the soil around trees or plants that need better drainage.




MY COMMENT (Willem Van Cotthem)

Very useful idea, indeed. Instead of using the rather expensive expanded, baked clay pellets (Hydroton, hydrokorrels) as a reusable growing medium, pieces of sponge can play a similar role in the soil (water retention, aeration, …).

I use a rather considerable layer of sponge pieces in the bottom of containers (pots, bottles, trays, …) to create this double function of water stockage and aeration.

When positioning a vertical cilinder of sponge pieces along one or two sides of the container wall, one can also enhance the water retention capacity in containers, thus avoiding irrigation water standing too long at the bottom of a container.

The dirt on good soil (Google / Seattlepi)

Read at : Google Alert – gardening

Green Gardening: The dirt on good soil

A number of readers want help in optimizing new beds. First-year gardens may be outstandingly fruitful when the underlying soil is open in texture and essentially rich. When you are working with stiff clay or loose, sandy soil, initial results usually are less heartening. Much of the maritime Northwest offers only these two situations, with only a few pockets of ideal sandy loam. This year, you can best improve conditions by adding all the organic amendments to your soil that you can muster. Lawn clippings mixed with shredded leaves and twigs is a great place to start. If you want to incorporate food scraps, run any plant-based food waste through a food processor first, adding plenty of water. Bury the resulting slurry 12-18 inches deep and cover it with soil or dig it deeply into your compost heap. Wood byproducts like sawdust and bark chips should be well composted before they reach your garden beds. Both use soil nitrogen to help them break down and in a raw state, they will compete for nutrients with your plants’ roots. Rotted sawdust is especially appreciated by blueberries and rhododendrons as well as corn and beans. Fine ground bark can be mixed half and half with compost and added to beds as mulch pretty much any time. Continue reading The dirt on good soil (Google / Seattlepi)

Terra preta Nature magazine article (B. FIELDS)

A complementary information on Terra preta from Bruce FIELDS :

“Subject: Terra preta Nature magazine article.

The link on the newbie forum ( that helped me the most was the one to the Nature Magazine Article – “Black is the New Green”, August 2006. “Most high profile article on Terra Preta to date.”

PDF –,%20624-626.pdf

More on Terra Preta (B. FIELDS / Willem)

Bruce Fields (Chicago) recommended to visit the following website :

Hypography is a site on “Science for everyone”, where I found :
Terra Preta Discussions related to Terra Preta


Furthermore, Bruce FIELDS recommended to have a look at Phillip SMALL’s site :

where I found a contribution on Terra Preta :

“Friday, May 23, 2008

New Gardening with Biochar FAQ

Note: Bio-char, agrichar, and charcoal are interchangeable terms when it comes to the intentional use of charcoal in the garden.

The argument for encouraging biochar use as a ubiquitous household practice is compelling: Improved garden soil will increase food production where it has the most impact on energy demand. Implementing charcoal manufacture at a household level draws in a supply of yard prunings and workbench scraps that otherwise would be lost to non-charcoal alternatives.

Unfortunately, finding even the most basic information on how to implement biochar use as a personal sustainability practice is discouragingly time consuming. In response I have started up a FAQ, a collaborative wiki, building on the efforts of the TP enthusiast community (1, 2, 3). Maybe you, the concerned gardening public, can help us thresh out the most important questions that need asking.


I am very grateful to Bruce FIELDS for his good advice.  Phillip SMALL’s site is a splendid one for people interested in soils.  I put a link to his site on my Blogroll.

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Soil amendments (Google Alert / Salt Lake Tribune)

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Google Alert for gardening

Salt Lake Tribune

Gardening: Soil amendments that pull their weight


By Maggie Wolf
Special to The Tribune

* MAGGIE WOLF is an assistant professor for Utah State University Extension in Salt Lake County. E-mail her at


Nothing beats homegrown compost


The true secret to a great garden is as plain as the dirt under your nails. Healthy soil begets healthy plants. But how can you transform ancient lakebed into sweet-smelling, brown, crumbly soil? Mixing in soil amendments create a shortcut around the long road to organically rich soil, but amendment has strengths and weaknesses. Choose the route that best suits your soil, site, time and budget. Here’s a brief rundown: Continue reading Soil amendments (Google Alert / Salt Lake Tribune)