In a couple of our recent blog posts (“Balancing drainage and water retention qualities” and “What does it mean to be nutrient-rich?”) we’ve mentioned adding elements to soil to develop a soil type best suited for your plants healthy development. In this blog post, we’ll explore the soil amending process and what amendments alter texture, drainage and water retention in soil.

Before going into amendment options, a discussion of soil types is worthwhile to understand why soils often have to be amended. Soil is composed of minerals, air, water and organic matter. Minerals are made up of a combination of sand, silt and clay. Organic matter includes various types of animal and plant remains, which are undergoing decomposition, as well as worms, bacteria and other microbes.

Your soil’s mineral composition affects how air, water and organic matter operate within the soil. Soils that are sandy contain larger mineral particles, which allow more room for air and water to flow through open pore spaces. These pockets allow for greater airflow but also for more water to drain from the soil, which means fewer nutrients are retained for plant roots to absorb.

Conversely, clay soils have smaller mineral particles, which means smaller pockets for air and water to flow. If soils are not able to adequately drain water, they become soggy and more susceptible to disease such as root rot. And if the soil becomes too dense, worms and other soil-friendly organisms cannot cultivate the soil.  

To amend a soil then is to alter its composition in order to increase its capacity for air and water flow and for nutrients to thrive and multiply. Pumice, for example, is lightweight and porous, and can be added to a soil mix to absorb water then slowly release it back to the soil.  

Forest Floor Organic Soils recycles and repurposes native Pacific Northwest soil taken from abandoned log yards and rich in organic nutrients. We amend our soil mixes with pumice, fish hydrolysate, kelp, crab and shrimp to curate a line of custom-blended soils designed to maximize your plants’ yield. Call or email us to speak with one of our reps and learn more about our process and how our soils can deliver stunning results for your grow operation.