I am wondering what the best way is to improve a soil that is very gravely (not sure that is a word..) I thought of peat moss and manure...anyone have any suggestions?
I would suggest compost. Manure could be an ingredient of the compost.
To me, peat moss is more for a potting medium, and it has very little nutritive value. Peat moss can be difficult to re-wet when it dries out. It can give the soil some structure and moisture retention, but you can get that from compost at a lower cost.
By "gravelly", do you mean that your soil is sandy? Or rocky?
Hello Mandy...I agree with MM. I live in Kennebunk, my soil is horrible, grayish clay. So, for ammendment, I till in bags of Coast of Maine Penobscot Blend and from Agway I buy a bag of worm castings (a little pricey, but my Daylilies love it) and till in handfuls of that also. My soil is so light and fluffy, this also encourages worms. I definitely stay away from peat and go the compost route.
My soil is pretty sandy with rocks in it. Once you spend some time picking out the big rocks it isn't so bad. No drainage problems here, but have water/nutrient retention problems though!!
I will go the compost route. I have a pile that was started this summer that I have been turning pretty regulary and it is pretty well broken down. I have a pretty large area so I will have to buy some compost too..I might put mine on one half and the boughten stuff on the other and see how it compairs...
You may want to plant some cover crop in your garden area. That way you will increase the organic matter when you till it in. It also helps with retaining the nutrients that would leach away with nothing planted.
Feed the soil not the plants...