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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 January 29, 2016   #1
AlittleSalt
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Default Raised Beds Soil

This is the soil building recipe I am using for our new raised beds:

Sandy loam soil
Oak leaves - mulch mowed
10-10-10 Fertilizer
Homemade compost - sifted - 5 wheelbarrows
Water

I tilled all the dry ingredients together and watered the beds to get the leaf decomposition started. In March, we will turn over the soil so the leaves are buried better. This is how we built the soil in our main garden back in 2010.
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Old January 29, 2016   #2
Worth1
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That will work like a champ.
Pretty much what I am going to do in the Octopus garden.
The soil that is there is a clay sandy loam mix.

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Old March 3, 2016   #3
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Are the oak leaves acidic? Nothing seems to grow where they are in my beds.
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Old March 3, 2016   #4
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Green oak leaves are acidic. Dried oak leaves are more neutral than anything else. They can even be slightly alkaline in certain conditions. A link http://extension.oregonstate.edu/que...week/oak-mulch

After years of adding dried oak leaves, the soil PH levels in our gardens are exactly the same. Adding oak leaves is just adding organic matter and some trace elements. It is building your soil organically.

The way I look at this process is I am helping nature do what it does best.
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Old March 4, 2016   #5
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You all should really watch this video about leaves and composting

(Everything You Know About Composting is Wrong: Mike McGrath at TEDxPhoenixville):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9OhxKlrWwc
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Old March 4, 2016   #6
Dutch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PureHarvest View Post
You all should really watch this video about leaves and composting

(Everything You Know About Composting is Wrong: Mike McGrath at TEDxPhoenixville):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9OhxKlrWwc
Thank you "PureHarvest" for posting the link in support of composting leaves. The title of the video is somewhat misleading, but I think that's just part of the humor of this video. I dig it! And thanks again!
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Old March 4, 2016   #7
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PureHarvest, that video is like a vintage beloved song. It only gets better with time.

The perfect use for those bent lawnmower blades. Since I started mulching oak leaves - I haven't winterized a lawnmower. I use it too often. I change the blade in spring when the new grass/weeds start growing.

When you mulch/mow leaves and dig or till them into your garden - the soil becomes spongy feeling. You can't walk on it without leaving foot/shoe prints. Water soaks in faster and easier = less water needed. It also warms up faster.

In the second picture, I'm holding some garden soil. At the far left is my thumb. I don't know of a better way to turn dirt into friable soil.
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Old March 4, 2016   #8
PureHarvest
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Good stuff guys.

The best broccoli I ever grew was nothing more than my soil, Tree-tone, and about 10" (initially) of leaves that were in bags that I picked up off the road in a neighborhood I was delivering mulch to.
They had about 30 drum-liner sized bags waiting to get picked up by the town. I had just dumped the bulk order, so I had an empty truck just begging to be loaded for the back haul. I took em all. Sometimes you can be in the right place at the right time.
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Old March 4, 2016   #9
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Thanks for the interesting link, Pure Harvest. His point about keeping leaves and kitchen waste separate is very helpful.
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Old March 4, 2016   #10
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My personal experience with oak leaves is that they pack and layer and thus block moisture and prevent my seedings from coming up. I did not shred them but used them whole as a mulch.
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