amending soil

Freelton, Canada

We have purchased a new lot, (in southern Ontario). The pine trees that covered the lot had been planted too close together and were very tall and had mostly dead branches way up to the top. They unfortunately had to go, in order to have space to build a house. (we will plant more pines and maples etc. once the house is situated)

My question is, what do I need to do, if anything, to amend the topsoil to be able to plant gardens? I am very anxious to plant some acid loving Rhodos and Hydrangeas, which I am sure will do well around the lot, but I also want to plant many other things.

We will be stripping the topsoil to the back of the lot this fall and hopefully start a house in the spring so the soil will be in a pile over the winter.

Any help out there please? :)

South of Winnipeg, MB(Zone 3a)

Do you live in an area where pines grow naturally and do you know the usual PH of the soil in your area? Sorry I am not familiar with conditions in your area.

Freelton, Canada

Echoes, we do have lots of Pines around. I am sadly lacking in skills regarding the PH of soil. LOL (or not)

I just am wondering if the soil will stay acidy over the winter while it is piled up? Maybe over the winter I should educate myself on that pesky PH stuff.

South of Winnipeg, MB(Zone 3a)

Not so much a matter of skill as it is reputation. I know the soil in my own area is said to be alkaline and it usually proves true, unless it has had a lot of humus added or for me, I haul in 4 way mix. If you are in an area of naturally acidic soil, that is what you will probably have too.

Freelton, Canada

Thanks very much Echoes. I think maybe we should get some of that 4 way mix and mix it with the topsoil. We have the big equipment to do it with.

South of Winnipeg, MB(Zone 3a)

You may not need it if your soil is nice and friable. Our soil here is pretty heavy, and under it is clay you could use for pottery or bricks. Sure wish I could grow azalias and rhodos, but I have given up on those and shrubs that need acid pampering.

Champion, AB(Zone 3b)

Dear Darling Belwoodbum1

Get a soil testing kit from your local testing lab (they may have it at the Guelph university) or look it up in the yellow pages. They will analyze it and tell you what the PH level is and 'how much of what' you can add to bring it to the level you need it to be, or how to alter the PH.

Miss you....It's COLD here...below zero all day!!!!

Albertarosey :)

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)


Great yard!

I'm not familiar with your area, but I think a compost amendment is always a good thing.

South of Winnipeg, MB(Zone 3a)

for sure, compost is always a good option.

This message was edited Oct 9, 2009 8:43 PM

Freelton, Canada

LOL Yes, Jane, awsome yard. Sod looks really great.
I think I can buy a soil tester at the local nursery. (we went to see the model home again today, will send pics) Also, keep that %#*& cold out there.

Joannabanana and Echoes, I do agree with what you both say. We have access to a lot of soil that we can add and will try to get some compost also. Thanks for the advice.

ps. Jane (Albertarosey is my bestest, oldest, sister. :)


Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

Isn't that nifty! I wish my sister was a little more interested in gardening.

Champion, AB(Zone 3b)

Well,,, my favorite, slightly younger, sister, and my calgary gardening guru it's nice to have you both on one page...

Liz (blwoodbum1) your pics look great I guess it's Christmas at your house next year, huh?? I would get your soil professionally analyzed as that would give you a break down of what is lacking in your soil and how much to ammend it. Take it from big sis :)

Joanna how are you? I've had such a fun summer in my new garden and thanks for helping to beautify it. Got to admit it though it's nice to have a break from it for a while now that the cold weather has stomped on us. My flowers were awesome this year.

My sister has a green thumb as you can see in the pic below.

Have a great day you two. ..........Jane

Grand Forks, BC(Zone 5b)

Very Nice!

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