How to loosen up hard soil?

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I have very compacted soil about 6" below grade level and have heard about using sulfur soil to loosen it up,, just looking to get it workable to a depth of 12-16" for potatoes. Thanks here is a natural bug spray, been using it for about 20 years. NATURAL Bug spray: one gallon of water, one cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide, one table spoon of liquid soap, Dawn or Joy and or any sticking agent. You can spray as often as you want, will not hurt the plants, what ever goes into the soil will benefit your soil. You can also spray your plants that you want to keep from freezing, but you have to do it each time that you are expecting to get a frost. Ear wicks and squash bugs you have to hit them directly.

  6 answers
  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Oct 26, 2018

    You can rent a heavy duty tiller and you can loosen the soil as far as you want by working it down in the area you want loosened deeper than normal. I did that when I started a vegetable garden years ago. It made it much easier to loosen the soil deep than doing it by hand and only took a couple of hours vs. probably a couple of days with a hoe.

  • Lynn Sorrell Lynn Sorrell on Oct 26, 2018

    Use Gypsum and a long tined pitch fork,or I use coffee grounds, egg shells & jobes Organic fertizer mixed into the earth with a long tined pitch fork to turn the soil over or you could even rent a lrg scale tiller. For natural bug killers I buy live Lady Bugs and Praying Mantis egg cases.

  • D fuhrman D fuhrman on Oct 27, 2018

    I have no idea you could buy Praying Mantis egg cases or live Lady Bugs. who knew? Thanks for the info.


  • Oliva Oliva on Nov 01, 2018

    Dig in a large amounts of composted cow manure and sphagnum peat moss, mixed with used coffee grounds (repels bugs). Add perlite if you need additional drainage.

    The egg cases will provide natural preditors for bad bugs.

    If you had grubs in your yard this year that became Japanese beetles, treat your lawn in early Spring with Milky Spore or Grub X.


  • Schindell Schindell on Nov 09, 2018

    What do Japanese beetles look like?

    • Oliva Oliva on Nov 10, 2018

      Japanese beetles are small (about 3/8" long), hardshelled bugs with metallic colors against a dark brown background.

      http//www.oldfarmersalmanac.com or www.gardensalive.com has photos, as should any websearch for "Japanese beetles".

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Nov 10, 2018

    If you rent a large tiller, you would be surprised how far it will dig down into the soil. When I started my garden at the last place I lived, the soil was hard to hoe, that was when I rented a tiller from an equipment rental place. One of my oldest sons friends actually tilled the garden for me because the tiller was to hard for me to handle. He worked the tiller for about two hours to really dig in the tope soil, then tilled in the potting soil and sterilized manure. The soil was so soft so far down that it was hard to walk in. He just let it dig in. I made him a huge homemade dinner for him while he helped me make my garden, he wouldn't let me pay him a cent for his work. I use a cracked garbage can to grow my potatoes in now. My garden now doesn't do potatoes well, it is hard to keep soil chilled over the plants. It is at the top of a steep tier and still has a little down slope to it, when it rains the soil tends to wash away.

    • See 5 previous
    • Oliva Oliva on Nov 25, 2018

      Hi, Nancy,

      Wish I lived in Minnesota and had your soil!

      Here, it's heavy clay which turns to brick consistency when dry, and like soggy, heavy, ankle sucking muck when wet.


      If we used potting soil here, it would never work well for gardening, or in lawns. We have to resort to "double digging" or tilling top soil, sphagnum peat moss, lime, perlite or vermiculite, and greensand. It's exhausting.


      It's always interesting to learn about soil types across the U.S. and in other parts of the world, as well as to learn people's remedies for their soil types!

      Thank you for being so informative!

      Hope you have a great Holiday season.

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