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What Is a Soil Conditioner and How Does it Work?
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What Is a Soil Conditioner and How Does it Work?

There comes a time in every gardener’s life when they need to start prioritizing their soil health. Soil is the foundation that your plants need to thrive. It’s the building block of nutrients designed to promote healthy growth, increase beneficial microbial activity, and help make nutrients more bioavailable for your plants.

As you scour the internet looking for beneficial products you can add to your soil, you’ve probably run into the terms soil amendment and soil conditioner.

These terms are often interchangeable and refer to a range of organic and inorganic additives for your soil. Unlike fertilizers, soil conditioners focus on restoring your soil environment and turning it into a crucial life source for your plants.

Before you run to the garden center and pick up the first soil conditioner you can find, you may want to educate yourself on the different options you have to ensure you find the perfect solution for your home garden.

Here’s everything you need to know about soil conditioners.

What are garden soil amendments?

Soil conditioners and soil amendments are substances produced from organic or inorganic matter. When they’re mixed with your garden soil, to improve the soil properties and add slow-releasing nutrients. It is commonly used for gardening projects to ensure you have happy, healthy plants all season.

As you may already know, your soil is integral to plant health. You may water your plants every day, plant them at the right time of the year, and have perfect weather: But that isn't always enough. Your plants also need a thriving ecosystem full of microorganisms and healthy nutrients.

That's where soil amendments and conditioners become integral to plant performance. Soil amendments are designed to help you improve growing conditions, balance the pH levels, and provide much-needed nutrients. Soil amendments complement the complexity of your soil's natural ecosystem. By incorporating amendments into your soil, you can improve soil structure, moisture retention, aeration, improved drainage, strong root development, improved seed germination and provide the nutrients your plants need to yield high results.


How they improve your soil health

When adding essential nutrients like essential vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, microbes, and other organic materials into your soil, you can ensure you create a thriving nutrient-filled ecosystem.

Here's a list of a few benefits to look forward to:

Stop weed seeds

Weed seeds will be eliminated with this naturally composted material. This will inhibit weed growth and ensure your plants don't need to fight for nutrients.

Helps with compact soil

Compacted soil prevents water from reaching the plants roots and can negatively impact root growth and decrease the ability to take in nutrients and water. Soil conditioners help to naturally loosen compact soil and improve water drainage..


Help your plants hold onto vital nutrients

Microbial soil amendments add beneficial microbes to the soil which help break down nutrients in the soil and make them more bioavailable to plants. Soil conditioners, like our EM-1 microbial inoculant, can also speed up nutrient cycling and influence the uptake of sugars.

Improve water drainage

Many heavy or clay soils are more susceptible to waterlogging. With a soil conditioner, you can get to the root of the problem before it affects plant growth. Many soil conditioners are porous and are great add-ins to your garden to help improve drainage.

​​Water retention

Locations more prone to drought or have water restrictions in place can use a soil conditioner to help with moisture retention which will reduce the frequency of watering needed. Optimal water retention can also lower your water bill and help you save every month.

Choosing the right soil amendment

Soil conditioners can come in many forms: such as cow manure, peat moss, microbial liquids, and organic compost, to name a few. They can be applied to your garden in many ways. Some conditioners are added after planting while others may be worked and tilled into the soil before the planting begins.

Here are a few organic options you have available:


Compost is one of the most popular soil amendments that you can make on your own. We suggest using the Bokashi method which is an all year round composting solution. With the bokashi method, you eliminate common problems such as unpleasant odors from rotting organic waste and pests that are attracted to smelly outdoor bins. Compost is great for improving water retention and adding vital nutrients that encourage plant growth.

If you’ve never made it on your own, try our Bokashi Compost Bin. You can easily make high-grade compost from the comfort of your home in 4-6 weeks with the help of our EM Premium Bokashi. Our EM Bokashi is enriched with effective microorganisms and is the healthy fix your garden has been missing! Our strict production process ensures that our organic Bokashi is always fresh and full of beneficial bacteria.




Chopping leaves and leaf mold can be found in your garden in the fall months. It’s great for improving your soil structure and helping with water retention. All you need to do is add the leaves into an outdoor compost bin. Keep in mind that creating leaf mold is a lengthy process. It can take anywhere from one to three years before you have compost you can use for your garden.

To increase the composting speed, we recommend adding our EM-1 Compost Activator. It’s a liquid concentrate that has a broad spectrum of beneficial bacteria. The bacteria help convert organic material into binding nutrients for your plants.

EM-1 Microbial Inoculant Soil Amendment

EM-1 is an organic soil conditioner that consists of natural microbes only found in nature. By adding it into your soil: you provide your plants with essential vitamins, amino acids, and enzymes needed for plant growth. EM-1 Microbial Inoculant can help with moisture retention, drainage, and strong root development.

Our EM-1® contains a combination of yeasts, actinomycetes, and two kinds of beneficial bacteria, photosynthetic and lactic acid bacteria. With the help of these effective microorganisms, you can get more out of your plants and build a thriving ecosystem that yields high results for seasons to come.



 Why you should always choose organic

By sticking to organic soil conditioners and amendments, you can create a thriving soil ecosystem in your own backyard. You can rest assured that all of the fruits and vegetables you pick from your garden aren’t being exposed to harmful chemicals and toxic pesticides. Healthy soil equals healthy food and healthy humans.

Keep in mind: Soil conditioner and amendments are different from fertilizer. The reason you should be prioritizing a soil conditioner is that fertilizer can't change your actual soil structure and most even if they say they are organic are harmful to the soil and are absorbed by the foods that are grown in the soil.

If you’re shopping for a soil conditioner at your local nursery, keep an eye out for inorganic conditioners and avoid toxic fertilizers that can do more harm than good.

Here’s a list of inorganic soil conditioners that are common and should be avoided if you want to focus on soil health and organic gardening:

  • Gypsum
  • Agricultural lime
  • Perlite
  • Vermiculite


Upgrade your garden with EM-1 Microbial Inoculant Soil Conditioner
At TeraGanix, it’s our mission to help you grow delicious organic vegetables from the comfort of your home. With the help of EM-1 and our Bokashi compost, you can build a thriving garden on organic materials and microorganisms. When you prioritize organic solutions, you're also prioritizing your health and the foods you put into your body.

We're here to help you get more from your garden and build a thriving ecosystem built on organic materials.

Ready to experience the TeraGanix difference?

Shop our selection of organic garden products today to learn more.



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