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Old February 20, 2017   #1
Jimbotomateo
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Can we complain about the drought and then gripe about too much rain? Is that double dipping.. One reason I grew in containers last year was the ground was so freaking hard.! Put a shovel in the ground last week and went in 8 inches. When I pulled a clump of dirt and grass I found earthworms! What to do? My wife says Antonio can rototill after the rains. Will that destroy my worms.? Antonio will till four inches deep then he says we rake out grass and he comes back to till 8 inches deep. No chemicals have been used on the yard for at least 30 years. I'd like to build berms out of existing soil and add something for aeration and water retention. Plastic over the top for weed control. Some kind of mulch over plastic?. I have 20 fifteen gal containers and 30 three gal containers of roots organic potting mix I could incorporate. Thinking about adding perlite. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. .Jimbo
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Old February 20, 2017   #2
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Maybe mix in some perlite or peat moss for water retention. I would save yourself some grief and skip the plastic weed stop. It has been nothing but a hassle in my experience. Simply layer mulch (bark mulch if available) 2-3 inches deep and you should be fine. Keep the mulch pulled back several inches away form the crowns of any plants you put in or are already there. The mulch breaks down and feeds the plants so you'll need to top it off a bit yearly. Deeper mulch (more than 2-3 inches) does not allow water to seep into the ground. You may still find a weed now and then, but nothing too major. I am in Central PA and this works well in my yard and gardens. Hopefully this helps. There are a multitude of videos on mulching and amending soil on youtube as well. Best of luck to you
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Old February 20, 2017   #3
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Thanks Oldschool. I have some leftover cedar fence boards and thinking raised beds now. There was break in the rain and I turned ground over with spade. 20 feet long by 14 inches wide. Does three feet wide by one foot deep sound about right? I also have a small compost pile I can add in. Wondering how much perlite and peat I'd need for that area. I was getting worms with every shovelful. Thanks again, jimbo
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Old February 20, 2017   #4
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The perlite wont help retain moisture but it will help keep it loose.
Vermiculite will help retain moisture.
Don't hurt the worms feed the worms and they will do the tilling for you.
Yes 3 feet wide is perfect.
Have you thought about just turning it over by hand to mix the stuff.
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Old February 20, 2017   #5
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I have been shaking the grass out by hand and keeping the worms. That's a great idea worth! I'll mix everything by hand. Does it matter what depth the worms are. Finding them near the top now.
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Old February 20, 2017   #6
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That is because it is so wet they come to the top.
I have seen the streets and gutters full of them after a hard rain.
They like food and moisture but not too much.
As long as you keep feeding them they will stay and multiply.
The board idea is good too they like to hang out under boards.
As for plastic dont even think about it for the most part it is a big hassle.
The have roles of thick brown paper at Home Depot at the paint section I use as a mulch or cover.
It is biodegradable and will last one season.

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Old February 20, 2017   #7
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Yes, rototilling destroys soil structure as well as worms.

All I do is add compost -- you can mix it in if you're a proponent of double digging (as described by John Jeavons), or just add a couple inches on top and let the worms do the work. A few inches of mulch is also invaluable. No plastic!
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Old February 20, 2017   #8
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If I add some compost then layer with paper do I add mulch on top of that to hold the paper down.? My compost pile is right next to my first row. Should I use it or just leave it there? I'm thinking there's probably worms in it. It's about two feet high by three feet wide.
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Old February 20, 2017   #9
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THe worms that live in compost are the same ones that live in mulch. = redworms

THe worms that you find when you turn soil are most likely earthworms -- they have a more muscular look and are larger than redworms. They're the ones that live deeper in the soil and create channels in the soil.
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Old February 20, 2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habitat_gardener View Post
THe worms that live in compost are the same ones that live in mulch. = redworms

THe worms that you find when you turn soil are most likely earthworms -- they have a more muscular look and are larger than redworms. They're the ones that live deeper in the soil and create channels in the soil.
Thanks habby I had no idea.. The pile has grass, weeds, mater plants and occasionally I throw some ground soil on it.
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Old February 20, 2017   #11
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Check out the videos Jake Mace has on You tube about his AZ yard and soil. He's gone from concrete to gorgeous stuff in five years by using wood mulch right on the ground.
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Old February 20, 2017   #12
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Originally Posted by habitat_gardener View Post
Yes, rototilling destroys soil structure as well as worms.

All I do is add compost -- you can mix it in if you're a proponent of double digging (as described by John Jeavons), or just add a couple inches on top and let the worms do the work. A few inches of mulch is also invaluable. No plastic!
Hg, what kind of compost do you use? I'd like to plant around feb one or so. I'll have to hustle to do that.
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Old February 20, 2017   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbotomateo View Post
Can we complain about the drought and then gripe about too much rain? Is that double dipping.. One reason I grew in containers last year was the ground was so freaking hard.! Put a shovel in the ground last week and went in 8 inches. When I pulled a clump of dirt and grass I found earthworms! What to do? My wife says Antonio can rototill after the rains. Will that destroy my worms.? Antonio will till four inches deep then he says we rake out grass and he comes back to till 8 inches deep. No chemicals have been used on the yard for at least 30 years. I'd like to build berms out of existing soil and add something for aeration and water retention. Plastic over the top for weed control. Some kind of mulch over plastic?. I have 20 fifteen gal containers and 30 three gal containers of roots organic potting mix I could incorporate. Thinking about adding perlite. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. .Jimbo
Jimbo if you go with plastic mulch a company called Polywest in Guadalupe sells any size you need for cheap and they even custom cut it to the length i wanted. I just stopped by there today on my way home and bought 4000 tomato trellis clips for 30 bucks. Talk to Chris if you can he is awesome and loves to help. I have bought my plastic mulch, drip tape, staples, and trellis clips from there for cheap.
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Old February 20, 2017   #14
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If you go slow with the tiller, the worms will have time to move. I have watched them pop out of the ground and slide away.
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Old February 20, 2017   #15
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Originally Posted by Cole_Robbie View Post
If you go slow with the tiller, the worms will have time to move. I have watched them pop out of the ground and slide away.
I'll see if Antonio will till slow. I plan on shoveling three foot wide rows fo r my maters to begin with and saving as many worms as I can. My wooden raised beds should add another twelve inches for a total of 20 inches or so. Wonder how much vermiculite or perlite I need to keep the ground from getting rock hard again. This yard hasn't been tilled in 20 years or more and it's always been grass. Last year we let it go dead but the rains revived it.
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