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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old March 20, 2018   #16
SteveP
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Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Joplin MO
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Thank you all for your feedback and recommendations. I have not been adding much to build up the soil in my garden. I have used Black Kow and some ProMix, mostly along the planting rows. We have a small city lot with zero trees, so I don't have leaves to mulch. I do have a close friend who has a lawn care business so grass clippings and mulched leaves in the fall should be doable. There is also a Starbucks within a mile of the house and I will see about getting some coffee grounds. I will plan on add about 6 cu ft of ProMix and tilling it into the top 6" of soil. I don't plant my garden until the end of April, so time is running out. I also bought several (smaller) bags of TomatoTone and GardenTone at the end of last fall for cheap and am considering tilling some of it in when I till in the ProMix. Will also add a few bags of BlackKow again also.

Something I have been needing to do and never seem to get done is a soil analysis by the county extension office. I think I will do that later this week and see what they recommend for Ph and nutrients. What I think I have learned is I need to focus more on building a good soil and not solely on growing the plants. Thank you again for all of your suggestions. I have a much better understanding of what I need to work on.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #17
SteveP
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Well, I spent a big portion of the day yesterday afternoon trying to get my Mantis tiller running. Rubbed a big blister between my fingers pulling on the gosh darn noodley thing. So I youtubed it and with some minor carborator adjustments, had it working like a champ within 5 minutes this morning. Major victory for me as I am NOT a mechanical type and usually screw things up worse.

They are calling for rain and thunderstorms moving in Sunday, so I decided to wing it as best I could. Here is what I am doing and am half way done after about 90 minutes of work and several short sit down breaks.

Tilled a row about 18" wide and 6" deep. I added about 3" of Back To Nature Cotton Burr compost and tilled that in with the soil. This left about a 5" trench. To the trench I added about 10 gallons of year old rabbit manure, a bag of Black Kow, a couple of inches of last years ProMix, some diatomaceous earth and some Garden Tone that I bought at the end of last season for $3. Worked it together with a garden for and raked the soil/ cotton burr compost back over the trench which made about a 4" mounded row.
So, I am half done and have 1 more row to duplicate the above process. Hopefully it will be a winner because last year was not good.

On the Cotton Burr Compost I read the Back to Nature (made in NW Texas) was the one to use because they don't spray their cotton to defoliate before picking. They just wait for a killing frost to defoliate. It really looked like good rich stuff and is supposed to be excellent for breaking up clay soils in the garden.
Now back to work because I also have 2 flower beds in the front that need major attention too. Thank you all again for recommendations. Even though I didn't follow anyone exact recommendations, it made me give it lots of thought and I also spoke to 2 Local master gardeners who highly recommended the Cotton compost for our local soil. I had everything on hand except the 4 bags of $8 compost.
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