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If your soil contains too much clay or silt, it will be hard for you to work, and will make your plants work harder, too (but not better! Clay- or silt-heavy soils can be amended during tilling with medium to coarse-grained sand to improve water absorption and drainage, as well as air circulation.Amendment generally means adding substances to the soil, typically non-nutritive, meant to alter the soil’s texture or chemistry.Some mulches decompose on site to provide compost when their mulchy work is done.

Here are just a few of the exceptions to the taxonomy and strategies we’ve been examining.Compost may transfer some nutrition to your plants, but that’s incidental to its primary benefit of improving soil texture so that it allows the free exchange of air and water.Be sure to do your research and know exactly what state of decomposition organic material needs to be in before you add it to your soil, lest you just create mold nurseries and pest magnets.In “Three Sisters” agriculture, the squash leaves form a kind of living mulch.As always, do your homework: generally, for example, you’ll keep mulch a little clear from your plantings’ stem-root juncture, but some plants are grown with a little mulch piled around their base.These are extensively documented, along with the perils of poisonous lookalikes.

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