Amending Soil with compost

When should I add compost?

If you have flower or veggie gardens that haven’t been producing strong plants with great foliage, prolific flowers, or good harvests, then it may be time to amend your soil with compost from Sargent’s. The best time to amend your soil is when you’re building a new garden, but you can amend at the beginning of the growing season no matter how old or new your garden is!

Soil Testing

The only real way to tell what your soil needs is with a soil test. Soil tests look at the texture, pH, and nutrients present in your soil.


If you remember back to high school biology, pH measures the alkalinity and acidity of something; in this case, our soil. pH is a critical aspect of soil health because without proper pH plants cannot effectively draw nutrients from the soil. Different plants have different needs, but if a soil test shows your soil is too acidic, you’ll need to amend with lime.


Soil tests also look at a soil’s texture. The texture of soil  is important so that plants can receive the right amount of moisture to their roots. A soil that is too dense or clay-like will trap moisture and promote root rot, whereas a soil that is overly sandy will dry out too quickly and plants will never get the moisture they need. Adding organic material, like compost,  peat moss, or composted manure will improve the texture of your soil. It helps sandier soils retain water, and makes denser soils loose, so water can drain at a better rate and so roots can penetrate.  Organic matter can also help improve the nutrient content of the soil.


There are three main nutrient–or macro nutrients– your soil needs; Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, also known as NPK (K is the chemical symbol for potassium). These nutrients are critical for plant growth, flowering, and fruiting.

  • Nitrogen (N) is what makes the leaves grow.
  • Phosphorus (P) makes roots grow strong and is responsible for flower and fruit development.
  • Potassium (K) really promotes the overall wellbeing of your plants.

The University of Minnesota extension program provides a soil testing service for a small fee. The test results will let you know what kinds of amendments you should be adding to your soil so you can improve the texture, change the pH if needed, and add the right nutrients to get your plants to thrive.

Shop Sargent’s for Soil Amendments

Sargent’s carries everything you need to amend your soil, so once you’re armed with your soil test results, stop in an you can shop for lime, fertilizers, compost, soil/compost mixtures, composted manure and peat moss. Bagged or bulk, we can help you choose, load up, or if needed, we deliver!