Florida Gardening forum: Using cat litter in our sandy soil ?

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Name: Elfrieda
Indian Harbour Beach, Florida (Zone 10a)
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orchidgal
Apr 23, 2015 9:22 PM CST
I don't even like to call it soil -- it's terrible - we all know that and we spend a lot of time amending it.
I read somewhere (don't remember where), that you can use cat litter to add to our soil (depending on where you live in Florida, as some of you may have some some clay). Here on the east coast , and close to the beach -- it's sand ! I remember the article stating that you should only use non-clumping clay-based cat litter. I've never seen it in the pet stores of wally-mart because I did look there a long time ago (even though I don't have cats). Last week, I found it at Tractor Supply when I went there for bird seed.
I haven't used this cat litter yet; maybe I should do some more research. I'm thinking that I could just dig some tiny holes in the flower beds and just sprinkle some in -- it may help hold some of the nutrients longer.
“I was just sittin’ here enjoyin’ the company. Plants got a lot to say, if you take the time to listen”
Eeyore
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Apr 24, 2015 12:40 PM CST
Elfie, I think organic material is going to do much better for you as a soil amendment than cat litter. All that's ever happened when I sprinkled cat litter outside is it becomes a sticky mess in the humidity and takes forever to dissipate into the soil.

Have you tried amending with alfalfa pellets? (horse food) Also available at Tractor Supply, about $15 for a 50lb. bag. They are fantastic, in combination with a good amount of compost as they seem to have a lot of the 'natural' biological components and the plants just jump up and grow. You can't just use straight alfalfa as an amendment, because it's pretty high in nitrogen and might burn your plants if they get too much at once.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Elfrieda
Indian Harbour Beach, Florida (Zone 10a)
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Hibiscus Sempervivums Sedums Dragonflies
Herbs Roses Foliage Fan Annuals Cut Flowers Ferns
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orchidgal
Apr 25, 2015 8:39 PM CST
I will still be adding amendments to the soil -- my compost; Black Cow and mushroom compost where needed. But all the articles I've read on adding non-clumping kitty litter to sandy soil are positive. You only sprinkle a little around the flower beds. It does help retain moisture and it does have some nutrients (potassium). I did do the front flower beds and will do the back later this weekend. I'm being very frugal with it as I don't want a sticky mess, like you said. We've had some rain since I sprinkled some and it looks fine.
Here's a link: http://www.sptimes.com/News/041500/news_pf/Homeandgarden/Tur...

The problem with adding amendments is that after a year of putting your good compost (you've diligently work on) in the garden - you can't find it anymore. It's just decomposed and you're back with sand - again ! Actually, I think I need to get back to making some more bio-char. I know that works.


“I was just sittin’ here enjoyin’ the company. Plants got a lot to say, if you take the time to listen”
Eeyore
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Apr 25, 2015 9:30 PM CST
Yes, cat litter is a good amendment for sandy soil. Not the clumping kind, but the regular old cat litter. It is made of clay and helps your soil retain moisture.

Smiles,
Lyn

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Kate
Holmes Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
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karmatree
Jun 7, 2015 11:38 AM CST
The alfalfa pellets are a really good idea. Kitty litter doesn't add anything to the soil as far as organic matter goes. I also wonder what it does to the pH?
"A garden isn't meant to be useful. It's for joy." - Rumer Godden
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 7, 2015 12:00 PM CST
Kate ...

Kittly litter slows down the drainage so that the plants have time to take up the moisture. It also improves the general moisture in the soil so that bacteria, worms and such have a moister habitat.

During our long drought, I noticed that I had a smaller earth worm population in the beds even tho' they were mulched. That's because the water I used in the garden was being sucked down by the dryer soils down deeper.

Of course, adding organic materials is what feeds the soil critters, but the kitty litter kind of compensates for the sandy soil being unable to hold moisture. Of course, if you use too much, you can end up with a soggy mess.

As far as I know, kitty litter has no impact on the pH. Of course, that depends on what is used to make the cat litter.

Smiles,
Lyn

Edited to correct signing off twice ... oops !
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
[Last edited by RoseBlush1 - Jun 8, 2015 8:41 AM (+)]
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Name: Kate
Holmes Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Not all those who wander are lost.
Bromeliad Cactus and Succulents Orchids Foliage Fan Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader
Region: Florida Tropicals Xeriscape
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karmatree
Jun 8, 2015 6:03 AM CST
Ahhh, good point Lyn!
"A garden isn't meant to be useful. It's for joy." - Rumer Godden
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Jul 20, 2015 12:44 PM CST
You must have a tiny garden, to consider using a bag of cat litter... for soil conditioner...

Mine is large enough that when I bring in a truckload of manure/wood chips/hay, it mostly just let's me know how much more is needed...

I have found that spreading used kitty litter on top of the beds provides a bit of vole relief...
But my cats really don't poop enough...
[Last edited by stone - Jul 20, 2015 12:46 PM (+)]
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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jul 20, 2015 1:02 PM CST
Stone ..

I have very rocky clay soil, but have used cat litter in small beds next to the house that I inherited when I bought the house.

My soil is so rocky, I don't have to worry to much about critters ... Smiling other than the ones that really want to get into my caged compost pile.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Molly McKinley
Florida Tundra
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MollyMc
Dec 29, 2015 3:14 PM CST
Elfrieda, I have never considered using cat litter as an amendment to the "sand". I moved here 10 years ago and my 5 acres was entirely sand with pines and turkey oaks. They grow very well in the sand.

I garden in only a fraction of the property. I mulch with pine needles, oaks leaves and whatever organic matter I can get my hands on without spending a lot of money. I have loaded my van with bags of raked leaves from peoples yard I passed on the road and everything I plant from the nurseries, the pot full of soil goes in the ground. I mulch the gardens with the chipped tree trimmings when the power company trims around the power lines. (They dropped 3 truck loads the last time they trimmed)

My sand goes down to the aquifer 120 feet down. It's a tough battle. But after tens years, I am seeing some difference in the top 10 inches of ground. It also helps to grow plants that are native to your sand. It's a trial and error in finding the plants that best like your soil.

I guess after all this, cat litter is not the solution to the sand issue. If you walk in it, it will just stick to your shoes and you'll track it in the house.
Name: Elfrieda
Indian Harbour Beach, Florida (Zone 10a)
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Hibiscus Sempervivums Sedums Dragonflies
Herbs Roses Foliage Fan Annuals Cut Flowers Ferns
Image
orchidgal
Dec 31, 2015 11:14 PM CST
You only add a little cat litter; and work it in so it helps retain some of the moisture. You're not spreading a lot out like mulch; so I doubt you'd be getting it on your shoes and tracking it in the house.
“I was just sittin’ here enjoyin’ the company. Plants got a lot to say, if you take the time to listen”
Eeyore
Miami
Rascal
Mar 3, 2016 4:56 AM CST
orchidgal said:I don't even like to call it soil -- it's terrible - we all know that and we spend a lot of time amending it.
I read somewhere (don't remember where), that you can use cat litter to add to our soil (depending on where you live in Florida, as some of you may have some some clay). Here on the east coast , and close to the beach -- it's sand ! I remember the article stating that you should only use non-clumping clay-based cat litter. I've never seen it in the pet stores of wally-mart because I did look there a long time ago (even though I don't have cats). Last week, I found it at Tractor Supply when I went there for bird seed.
I haven't used this cat litter yet; maybe I should do some more research. I'm thinking that I could just dig some tiny holes in the flower beds and just sprinkle some in -- it may help hold some of the nutrients longer.


''I don't even like to call it soil -- it's terrible''

Lol I found this hilarious because so true .

I put in a couple of 125 gallon Rubbermaid stock tanks in my soil as little ''ponds'' . It took me forever because in my case sand would be welcomed. It was more like mining , for every 1lb of soil I dug up I also dug up 2lbs of rock .




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