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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 November 29, 2016   #16
AlittleSalt
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What I see commercial farmers planting in my neck of the woods is corn/rye/grains/and hay. This area has RKN problems, but all of those crops do well here.

I have Elbon cereal rye coming up all over our gardens - to help fight the RKN.
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Old November 30, 2016   #17
Bio-Ag-Guy
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My south florida garden started with about 90% white silica sand. After adding compost, all kinds of organic amendments, and mulching heavily, it is becoming quite fertile. That process took a few seasons before improvement translated into growth. A soil test gave me an idea where to start, and I believe the best is yet to come. Good luck with all your efforts!
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Old December 13, 2016   #18
Gardeneer
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I think that I have done reasonable work to improve my native soil.
--- added fall leaves.
--- added pine straw
--- added wood ash
Come spring I will add some top soil that I have gathered from the wooded area and till the garden and get a soil test.
From what I have heard from fellow gardeners being in the same situation, tomatoes do fine in sandy loam. They grow much deeper roots aand thus they can get the mositure and the nutrients that do down.
At the plant out, I will further amend the planting holes with peat moss and manure and once planted out I will do heavy mulching with pine starw which I have plenty of it.
Though it is kind of an uncharted territory ( soil and weather wise ) I think I can can grow some good plants and harvest decent crop. Per Bill's and other southerners recommendations I will have several varieties that do fairly well in the heat of south :
--- Prudent Purple
--- Indian Stripe PL
--- Creole
Out of the remaining 30 or so varieties I might be able to find some that will do ok.
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Old December 13, 2016   #19
Zone9b
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gardeneer View Post
I think that I have done reasonable work to improve my native soil.
--- added fall leaves.
--- added pine straw
--- added wood ash
Come spring I will add some top soil that I have gathered from the wooded area and till the garden and get a soil test.
From what I have heard from fellow gardeners being in the same situation, tomatoes do fine in sandy loam. They grow much deeper roots aand thus they can get the mositure and the nutrients that do down.
At the plant out, I will further amend the planting holes with peat moss and manure and once planted out I will do heavy mulching with pine starw which I have plenty of it.
Though it is kind of an uncharted territory ( soil and weather wise ) I think I can can grow some good plants and harvest decent crop. Per Bill's and other southerners recommendations I will have several varieties that do fairly well in the heat of south :
--- Prudent Purple
--- Indian Stripe PL
--- Creole
Out of the remaining 30 or so varieties I might be able to find some that will do ok.
I'm curious if you have questioned if there are significant issues with nematodes in your area. It is possible that many of the commercial crops you see growing around you are nematode resistant varieties. Open pollinating varieties are often not resistant. I also have Pruden's Purple on my spring grow list. I read 1 comment that is was nematode resistant but I have my doubts.
When I pull my plants at the end of the season I investigate for evidence of nematode damage to the roots. When I have a variety that has not performed well in a Raised Bed I often find serious nematode damage to the roots.
To avoid problems with non-resistant varieties I normally grown them in containers without native soil. This year I will also be attempting to graft a few on nematode resistant root stock - RST-04-106-T, which if successful would allow me to grow them without nematode risk in a Raised Bed.
I will be interested to see how your season goes and how you soil amendments are working.
The Best,
Larry
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Old January 3, 2017   #20
rockman
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We had very sandy soil living along a flooding creek. Our corn would lay over in a strong wind. A friend un-earthed some clay digging his crawlspace. Tilled in the clay where needed in our raised beds. Lite in carrot, potato,ect. Heavy in corn, bean, tomato, ect. So far so good. rockman
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Old January 3, 2017   #21
PhilaGardener
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I recommend checking your soil pH, if you aren't monitoring it. Between the sandy soil (low buffering capacity), pine needles and ash it is likely to move around quite a bit as you make your amendments and you want to be slightly on the acidic side of neutral (pH 7.0) for your tomatoes.
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Old January 26, 2017   #22
dereckbc
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I have not read through all the replies and apologize if this has already been brought up. I am kind of a lawn guru and familiar with soils in your area. That area is known for growing Centipede grass which may seem irrelevant at the moment. The reason Centipede is so popular is because the soil is so acidic no other grass can grow. Carolina soil PH are known to be very low of 5.5 and less which is roughly 10 times to acidic for mators and bermuda grass. Tomatoes and desirable lawn grasses like a PH more neutral of 6.5 to 6.8 with 7.0 being neutral. Acid soils will not allow plant roots to absorb nutrients, especially nitrogen. Do you notice lawns in your area being lime pale green on the yellow side? That would be sandy acidic soil.

Adding pine straw only makes the problem worse.

Last edited by dereckbc; January 26, 2017 at 11:37 AM.
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Old February 3, 2017   #23
maxjohnson
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I don't see pine straw as a problem once it breaks down, and acting as a mulch, not tilled in.
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Old February 3, 2017   #24
Worth1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxjohnson View Post
I don't see pine straw as a problem once it breaks down, and acting as a mulch, not tilled in.
I dont either.
The same with pecan oak and walnut leaves.
The reason for the pine forest floor not growing much is the pine needles act as a mulch.
Where I live certain plants have adapted to this and grow as under story plants.

Pine needles enrich soil given time.
Them like any other organic material if not allowed to break down with oxygen will turn into peat like in the peat bogs and become acidic.

At least that is my guess.

worth
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