Thread: Sandy Soil
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Old November 7, 2016   #9
Gardeneer
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Location: NC - zone 8a - heat zone 7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PureHarvest View Post
First thought: you can not physically remove bermuda grass from digging an tilling. You most likely just root pruned it and it will branch from every point you broke it off and it will still continue its spread to take over the world. There are so many stolons and rhizomes that are still in the soil that will take off next year. It is unreal.
I would spray an area 2x the size I want to grow in if it was bermuda. Probably too late now as it is dormant most likely. Spring dormancy break and late summer before entering dormancy is the time to spray.

Your soil. You can not not change the texture of your soil. You can change the structure and % organic matter. By all means add organic matter and do cover cropping. Do not till it in (mixes up the structure). Keep adding layers to the surface, and move the material aside as you plant, then scoot it back.
Leaves or grass or hay layered over the garden will smother weeds and maintain the top layer (A horizon) which is where you organic matter is located in which makes the topsoil or plow layer. It will also help the sandy soil retain moisture.
If you do a cover crop in fall, come spring, do not till it in. Mow it down 2-3 weeks before planting and leave the clippings on to keep weeds from coming up.
You already have topsoil, mixing organic materials into the soil is a waste of your energy. Layer it on top. Look at a natural prairie or forest. Things are never mixed. Layers are added on top and the soil is always covered. Roots grow down and die off or slough off layers. Crowns die, blades die and later on top. Worms find this area the most desirable. Things are not all mixed up and the soil rhizosphere is able to become complex when it is not tilled and the organic matter then oxidized.

Alfalfa pellets at 5% Nitrogen:
Tomatoes in a sandy soil will need 120 lbs per acre of nitrogen per year added. You have 500 sqft. That is .01 acre. .01 x 120 = 1.2 lbs of N for your garden. 1.2/.05 (5% N in alfalfa) =24 lbs of alfalfa pellets for al you N needs for your 500 sqft garden. It will not be available right off the bat, so needs to be added well ahead of planting, or soluble fert needed at plant out.
Alfalfa pellets will not "build" your soil in my opinion, just add nutrients. Plant roots via cover crops, not tilling, and leaving a cover of plant material on the surface (in that order) are the top things you can do to improve your soil health.
Thanks Pure Harvest.
On the Bermuda grass, I found the roots shallow on the surface and I removed as much as I could find. In spring preparation I will remove any that has escaped.
No, they are not dormant. They are as green as can be (elsewhere )
Yeah, I cannot change my soil. All I am doing is increasing the percentage of organic/humus matter, just to improve moisture retention.
I am not going to apply alfalfa and cotton seed meal. Those are just fertilizer. I will just use synthetic fertilizers like 10-10-10 ,, 13-13-13 and some 24-0-0- My aim is to add organic mater. I keep collecting more top soil in the wooded areas produced manyy many years of fallen leaves and decayed vegetation (Humus ).
duting plant out time I will further amend planting holes to get a good bang for my resources (peat moss, FloorDry, Compost).
I will fix it. Several years ago I created close to 1000 sq-ft garden in GA re clay that could get as hard as rock. It is hard work.
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Last edited by Gardeneer; November 7, 2016 at 09:04 PM.
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