Improving Your Soil: A Practical Guide to Soil Management for the Serious Home Gardener
Improving Your Soil: A Practical Guide to Soil Management for the Serious Home Gardener

* Book Type:

Not Available Online
Publisher: Firefly Books

Author Statement: Keith Reid
Audience: Trade
Specs: color line drawings, diagrams, charts and photographs throughout, glossary, appendices, index
Pages: 272
Trim Size: 7" X 10" X 13/16"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 20140227
Copyright Year: 2014
Price: Select Below

Improving Your Soil: A Practical Guide to Soil Management for the Serious Home Gardener

Valuable advice from an expert in soil science.

Valuable advice from an expert in soil science.

Intended for both small- and medium-sized gardens, Improving Your Soil reveals the steps to take to achieve the perfect soil in which to grow plants. With clear and specific directions on how to amend poor soil, modify mediocre earth, aerate compacted topsoil and substrates as well as test pH levels, this book enables any gardener to nurture their plants and promote more abundant growth.

The features that indicate good soil include proper structure and nutrients that encourage healthy plant growth. Soil in "good tilth" is loamy, nutrient-rich and friable because it has an optimal mixture of sand, clay and organic matter that prevents severe compaction. Improving Your Soil shows gardeners how to improve the soil in their gardens to encourage good seed bedding and a strong root system for proper nutrient disbursement throughout various soil depths. Topics in the book include:

  • Providing the right amount of water for plants
  • The microscopic world of soils
  • Crop rotations
  • Types of compost and how to make good compost
  • Managing soils to minimize pest and disease problems
  • Overcoming common nutrient deficiencies
  • Organic vs. mineral fertilizers.

The detailed information is complemented with line drawings, diagrams and illustrations that demonstrate various soil issues and how to resolve common problems. With information on remedying specific problems with particular plants, Improving Your Soil will be an often-consulted resource for all gardeners.


Keith Reid is a soil scientist who used to work as a manager at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada assessing and advising growers about soil issues.



I'm part of a small minority who finds soil to be endlessly fascinating. Most people have a more prosaic interest in soil and, if they think about it at all, it is as a medium for growing plants. The most typical question about soil I hear is "What can I do to my soil to make my crops grow better?"

Soil scientists have been studying soil since the beginnings of scientific agriculture in the mid-1800's but we have barely begun to understand the intricate interplay between the air, water and minerals that make up soil. Each new discovery seems to create as many questions as answers.

This book is designed to help you manage your soil better so that you can grow a more bountiful garden by putting the right fixes in the right places. Soil does not exist in isolation. Unless it was delivered by a dump truck, the soil in your garden is a product of the parent material that was deposited thousands of years ago interacting with the cycles of rainfall, seasonal freezing and thawing and the plants that grew in soil. Over time, the plants influenced the soil, which in turn modified the environment for the plants.

My goal in writing this book is to demystify soil and offer practical methods that will allow you to grow a better garden. But I also hope this book will open your eyes to the many wonders of what goes on under your feet.



Introduction: Seasons of the Soil
1. Getting Started: What Type of Soil Do You Have?
2. What Is Soil, and Why Is It Important?
3. Different Soils, Different Challenges
4. Soil Texture: The Bones of Your Soil
5. Soil Structure: The Skeleton of Your Soil
6. Soil Water
7. Irrigation Basics for Gardens
8. A Little Bit of Soil Chemistry
9. How Soil Holds Nutrients
10. Soil Life and Soil Organic Matter
11. Harnessing Biological Cycles for Our Benefit
12. Feeding Your Plants
13. Sustaining the Land
Glossary of Soil Terms
Appendix I: Selected Laboratories for Testing Garden Soils
Appendix II: Agricultural and Horticultural Extension Resources
Appendix III: Chemical Symbols and Formulas

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