Preparing Soil

Preparing Your Soil

Soil is the most important aspect of gardening.


Understanding your soil guides you in watering and fertilizing your plants. The result is healthier, more beautiful plants.


Reasons to analyze soil

If you know what your soil is lacking, you can correct it.

  • Learn what type of soil composition you have (clay, sandy etc.)
  • Find out what your soil is lacking (nutrients, micronutrients, etc.)
  • Pinpoint soil pH (alkaline or acid)
  • Bring your results to Calloway’s/Cornelius and we will help you determine how to amend your soil for the best results


Spade with Soil

Expanded Shale

  • Porous and lightweight, this fine-grained rock is formed from clay or mud
  • Opens up and aerates heavy clay soils
  • Allows for healthier root systems; improves soil drainage
  • Holds water during droughts
  • Helps reduce soil temperature extremes
  • Optimum recommendation: add 3 inches to soil
  • One-time treatment, doesn’t decompose


Organic Matter

  • Helps sandy soils hold moisture and nutrients
  • Loosens tight clay soils so water and fertilizers are more readily available
  • Reduces soil’s alkalinity
  • Reduces erosion by reducing run-off
  • Promotes microbial activity for a more healthy soil



  • Soil nutrients (N-P-K) and micronutrients are vital for plant growth
  • Complete fertilizers contain three primary nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K). 
  • Bags of fertilizer contain three numbers, such as 5-3-3 which represent a percentage of N-P-K in that bag. Fo