Layering Materials

Whether you're digging or rototilling, you should add fertilizer and pH adjustment material, either lime or sulfur, as you add each layer. It's probably most important to dothat bottom layer, because your existing soil requires the most amendments. Divide the total amount in half or thirds, depending on how many layers you're going to do. Again, it's not critical. It's an estimation you make merely by eye and feel. As you do each layer, begin by sprinkling over the surface the fertilizer and lime or sulfur. As that gets mixed in, and you add your next layer of new material, add another sprinkling of fertilizer and lime or sulfur.

The prepared soil mixes are fairly close to the ideal pH level. Some of them run a little acid, with a pH of 5 to 6, so you'll want to add a little bit of lime to them. None of the prepared soil mixes is alkaline, so you don't have to worry about adding sulfur. In the western states, where there's little rainfall, the natural soil may be above 7, and will require sulfur. In other states, where there's a fairly heavy rainfall, over twenty or thirty inches a year, the natural soil is anywhere from neutral to slightly acid, down to a very acid soil in the heavy rainfall areas.

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