Soil Amendments

Preparing of the soil for Fall planting is nearly complete.  We started cutting down cover crops in September and now, after hoeing, raking and hand weeding we are adding the final touches just before planting.  Arugula, a rainbow of radishes, a variety of Asian greens, bush beans, carrots and kohlrabi are among the first crops to be seeded into the fields after amendments are dusted on the soil surface.  One of our staple amendments is kelp meal, a soil conditioner made from the sea plant Ascophyllum nodosom.   Kelp meal contains over 50 trace minerals and an assortment of amino acids, enzymes and alginates that feed and stimulate the necessary microorganisms in the soil.  It basically helps to create a healthy and active microbial population, which improves the quality and texture of the soil as well as makes nutrients available to plants.  This year, by recommendation from one of the farmers at Tree Hugger Organic Farm, we also added crushed crab shells to the fields.  Not only is it an excellent dry organic source of NPK, Calcium and Magnesium, but it also works to suppress nematode and fungus problems.  Crab Shell is high in Chitin (Kite-en), which promotes the growth of Chitin eating bacteria in the soil. The exoskeletons of fungus and nematode eggs are high in chitin. When added to the soil crab shell helps to create a hostile environment for the fungus and nematodes by feeding the biological life that eats chitin and chitin based organisms.


crab shellsweighing kelpsoil









We’ll have both of these products for sale at our annual Heirloom Tomato Seedling Sale Saturday October 19th and at a few other events around town in October, including the Edible Garden Festival at Fairchild Botanical Garden and the Green Day street festival in Miami Shores.  Check out our Events page or visit their websites for more info on those events.  Starting in November we’ll also be setting up a booth a the Upper East Side Farmers Market at Legion Park, where we’ll be selling freshly harvested veggies as well as everything you need to grow your own garden at home, from seedlings and seeds to soil amendments and garden tools.  More info to come soon!

2 comments to Soil Amendments

  • Hi Muriel, thanks for the posts, they are very interesting and useful. Last year you mentioned getting some hay from the local Christmas displays, which I did, about 6 or 7 bales. but, when I originally used it, it sprouted in the garden! So, I’ve saved a couple of bales to dry out to use between the rows of my garden this year. Have you had any issues with you hay sprouting?

    Also, could you comment on where you got the crab shells and other admendments for your garden?

    Thanks very much!

  • Muriel

    The hay I spread in the garden does sprout sometimes, but not much, and the few seeds that do germinate aren’t a problem for me because the grasses used to make the straw do not fair well in our soil and climate so they don’t become weedy. As for the soil amendments, I get them mostly from a company in California called Peaceful Valley, their website is

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>