If you are a regular reader of NordicLavender, you know we stress the importance of quality soil at all times.
We all want bountiful harvests, but to get there, it is vital to understand that it all starts with healthy, well-draining, and fertile soil.
And this is true from starting seeds to harvest – soil matters and makes all the difference.
And the good news is that soil is a living natural resource that can be amended and improved.
Your soil is not bad. Your soil is simply waiting for you to amend and improve it. And when you do, all the billions of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes will spring to life to create a growing environment that will sustain your plants, vegetables, and herbs and bring you those bountiful harvests you want.
We use each of the products we list below for one or more purposes. The product displays link to the actual products and the guides and articles describing how we use the product.
Soil amendments and products we use to improve soil quality
The products we present below are listed alphabetically.
Clay Pebbles for Plants
Clay pebbles are great for Ebb and Flow hydroponic grow beds but can also help improve drainage in hard or clay-rich soils.
Compacted soil leads to poor results, and adding clay pebbles help improve drainage and make the soil more porous. And as clay peddles are larger than most other soil amendments, you can see a significant improvement fast.
Ideal for improving drainage, soil structure, and soil aeration.
Choose from 10, 25, or 40-liter bags.
Also suitable for decoration, aquaponics, and hydroponics.
- 100% natural
- Improves aeration
- 40 litres may not be enough
Dual Chamber Compost Tumbler
Composting is amazing and does not have to be complicated. With composting, you make good use of organic waste and refuse and produce organic compost ideal for gardening.
If you have not started composting or do not like the idea of building your own cold or hot compost, a compost tumbler could be the answer you are looking for. And a dual chamber tumbler allows you to continuously add materials as one side of the tumbler is your hot or active chamber, and the other becomes your “filler” compartment.
Easy to use and fast-working compost tumbler by Miracle-Gro.
Two compartments - add materials to one side while the other compartment cures.
37 Gallons / 70 liters capacity.
Built-in aeration system for faster compositing.
- Easy to assemble
- Easy to turn
- Fits smaller spaces
- It is cheaper to build you own compost
Perlite for Gardening (Horticultural Perlite)
I am an avid user of Perlite. I use it for seed starting, pot-ups, and in my pots, containers, grow bags, and raised garden beds.
Perlite is an ideal soil supplement to improve drainage and soil aeration. And both these factors are key for healthy root development and thriving plants.
Ensure you purchase horticultural Perlite, as there as other variations available. And be mindful of the dust when you work with Perlite. Work outdoors wearing gloves and be careful not to inhale the dust. One tip is always to moisten the Perlite added to the pot before manually mixing it to avoid dust clouds.
4-liter / 1-gallon bag of coarse Perlite for gardening.
Ideal for seed starting, hydroponics, and generally to improve soil mixes.
- Improves oil aeration and drainage
- Adds no nutritional value (inert)
- Dusty to work with, do not inhale dust
Soil Moisture Meter
Healthy plants need proper soil moisture levels, and you need to master watering your plants correctly. There are several methods to know when to water your plants, including “watering by weight” and using a finger to gauge soil moisture.
But there is an inexpensive alternative – using a soil moisture meter.
I use my soil moisture meter as I have a lot of plants, and it helps me get a quick reading of the status of different spots in my garden, greenhouses as well as indoors because not all plants and pots dry out simultaneously.
My moisture meter has a scale from “Dry” via “Moist” all the way to “Wet.” And over time, I have learned what each reading means for my plants.
Necessary? No, but an affordable luxury that can make a big difference.
Takes the guesswork out of watering. Measure and learn when your plants need more water.
10-grade scales from Dry to Wet.
No batteries are needed; delivered with a downloadable E-book with tips and instructions.
Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
- Easy to use
- Inexpensive luxury
- No batteries are needed
- Includes E-book with tips and instructions
- Excellent tool, but not necessary
Soil pH Meter
Sometimes we just need to know that the soil pH level is not completely off. It could be a dying plant, and it makes no sense whatsoever. You could be mixing your own soil and just want to ensure you are good. Regardless, a soil pH meter can give you an indicative reading and peace of mind.
This model shows soil pH level but also soil temperature and even works for liquids. And this is great for all fellow hydroponic gardeners.
For a 100% accurate reading, you should send a soil sample to be professionally tested, but that is not always practical. My soil pH meter gives me a reading, and after a few uses, I am comfortable interpreting the readings.
My best tip, when you get your soil pH meter delivered, measure the pH level on a bag of purchased soil where you know the pH level. Call it a home gardener DIY calibration.
Vermiculite for Gardening (Horticultural Vermiculite)
Where Perlite helps with drainage, Vermiculite helps retain soil moisture. And both are porous and help improve soil aeration.
Vermiculite is suitable for seed starting, hydroponics, soil mixes, or simply to add to any pot to help retain soil moisture.
Much like with Perlite, be aware of the dust. Always work outdoors wearing gloves and moisten the vermiculite before mixing it into the soil.
Vermiculite is the ideal soil amendment to promote soil aeration and moisture retention.
Ideal for seed starting, cuttings, and as a soil amendment for healthier plants.
Be aware of dust when working with Vermicilourte, and always work outdoors wearing gloves and moisten before mixing into the soil.
Two different sizes: 1 qt (ca 1 liter) or 2 qt (ca 2 liters)
- Improves soil aeration and moisture retention
- Ideal for cuttings and seed germination
- pH neutral and inert
- Dusty to work with, work outdoors wearing gloves