If you have a garden, don’t spend your hard-earned money on soil amendments! Instead, use your rubbish removal to amend your soil as needed and turn the rest of your kitchen waste removal into compost!
You can buy DIY soil testing kits that will help you test the pH of your soil. A pH of 7.0 is neutral. Soils with a pH higher than 7.0 are alkaline, and soils with a pH lower than 7.0 are acidic. You can also have your soil professionally tested to obtain a much more detailed analysis, including a complete nutrient profile and any signs of contamination. This will help you know what rubbish removal to use to amend your soil. The Forestry Commission offers soil tests at very modest fees. The European Union ranked the results from these labs the best in Europe.
Different plants prefer different pH. For example, rhododendrons, camellias, bilberries, and blueberries will only thrive in highly acidic soils (pH of 4-6). Tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsley, and zucchini prefer slightly acidic soils (pH of just below 7.0). On the other hand, irises, crocuses, geraniums, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, and cucumber prefer slightly alkaline soils (pH of just above 7.0). Once you know the pH of your soil, you can use your rubbish removal to amend the soil for the particular plant(s) you want to grow. It’s a little science magic in the garden!
You can use the interactive Soilscapes website to help you determine the type of soil, particle wise; you have in your area. Soil particles range in size from large (sandy) to excellent (clay), and the composition varies significantly between areas. While sandy soils drain well, often too well, clay soils retain moisture, usually two much humidity. Ideally, for most purposes, you’ll want the soil to be a healthy mixture of both, so it drains but not too fast.
The Soilscapes’ online tool was developed by Cranfield University and funded by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). You’ll have fun playing with this fantastic soil tool.
Okay, let’s look at some specific ways to amend your soil using free household waste removal:
Used Coffee Grounds
If you want to make neutral or slightly alkaline soils more acidic, mixing used coffee grounds with your soil to a depth of about six to eight inches can usually achieve this. Use up to thirty-five percent coffee grounds in your mixture, depending on how far you need to move the pH toward acidic.
How acidic are coffee grounds? It depends on the coffee, but in a famous example, Sunset Magazine sent coffee grounds from Starbucks to a professional lab for analysis. The pH came back to 6.2. These grounds also had bioavailable copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Not only does copper help plants photosynthesize, but vegetables will also uptake the copper into their tissues so you and your family will get this valuable trace mineral. Magnesium is another mineral we all need more of, and it makes flowers bloom more beautifully and intensifies their color.
Used coffee grounds are something most households have in plentiful supply daily! If not, you can always ask your friends, neighbors, restaurants, or favorite coffee shop to save some used coffee grounds for you. In doing so, you’ll be keeping them from ending up in the landfill.
If you burn wood, then you have a good supply of wood ash. Instead of liming, you can use this ash rescued from your rubbish removal to make your soil more alkaline. If your soil is too acidic (lower than a pH of about 6.5), using your wood ashes is a right and free way to get the pH closer to neutral or even slightly alkaline. Keep in mind; it takes two to three times more ash than it takes time to achieve the same result.
Wood ashes will also add more potassium to your soil. Ash is between three and ten percent potassium, depending on the type of wood you are burning. Ash from hardwoods contains more potassium than ash from softwoods. Strawberries love potassium. If you add more potassium to your tomatoes, they’ll be redder, and you’ll get more lycopene, an antioxidant known to fight cancer.
Be careful to NOT use ashes from charcoal or coal as they contain toxins you don’t want to add to your soil. The same goes for presto logs.
Nut Shells and Peanut Shells
If your soil has too much clay and isn’t draining well, add nutshells and peanut shells! These will create pockets of air in your soil, allowing it to drain better. Luckily, nutshells and peanut shells take a long time to break down, so this amendment will last a long time. The one exception to this is walnut shells because they contain a toxin called juglone that is harmful to most plants. It’s also detrimental to digging dogs and cats, so be careful with walnut shells.
Share Your Soil Amendments
If you have other soil amendments from rubbish removal, please share them on Clearabee’s Facebook page or send them via tweet! Clearabee, an on-demand rubbish removal company, is always looking for new ways to divert waste removal from landfills!