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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 6, 2016   #31
wildcat62
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Not sure about Texas but topsoil up here doesn't look like that.
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Old March 6, 2016   #32
Worth1
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Not sure about Texas but topsoil up here doesn't look like that.
It doesn't look like that here either.
I have seen some of the most beautiful rich black soil have raised beds put on top of it because people dont know how to work with it and call it clay which it isn't truly a clay.
Soil doesn't have to look like commercial potting soil.

The stuff at Home Depot came out of an Arkansas river bed.
The guy at Home depot said what do you expect it came from Arkansas.
I asked him if he had ever been to Arkansas and seen the beautiful bottom land they had and he said no.
Worth

Here is a pictuer of the Houston Black soil we have here in places.
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Old March 6, 2016   #33
efisakov
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We started few months ago composting fruits and vegetable peels/scraps, egg shells, coffee, tea, fish and shrimp waste.
We layer it with soil in a containers that have covers (do not want to invite unwanted critters). I hope in few months it would make good container soil mixed with pitmoss. I do not have big trees on the property to collect leaves. I know my tomatoes go creasy when we put fish heads and other parts in the soil and coffee and eggshells were composted for few year now.
I was surprised at how much of our waste was compostable. Too much. My containers get filled quick.
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Old March 7, 2016   #34
loulac
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Personally I like clay, though I may cuss it from time to time. You have to study its dampness carefully before gardening, you make a mistake and clay will be plastic mud or as hard as concrete. Trying to improve it with sand won’t work, they don’t mix correctly. Adding dead leaves, manure, wood chips etc. will give wonderful results and allow clay to keep a most important quality : it will still store water in summer and spare gardeners a lot of work. I had once a garden surrounded with quarries feeding a cement plant, brick plants and I enjoyed working in it.
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Old March 7, 2016   #35
Worth1
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Personally I like clay, though I may cuss it from time to time. You have to study its dampness carefully before gardening, you make a mistake and clay will be plastic mud or as hard as concrete. Trying to improve it with sand won’t work, they don’t mix correctly. Adding dead leaves, manure, wood chips etc. will give wonderful results and allow clay to keep a most important quality : it will still store water in summer and spare gardeners a lot of work. I had once a garden surrounded with quarries feeding a cement plant, brick plants and I enjoyed working in it.
Our gardens growing up were what people would call black clay but they were rich in organic matter.
If you went in right after a rain which no one did you would lose your boots in it.
My idea of clay is the stuff like potters clay that is nothing but microscopic platelets of silt with no organic matter.

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Old March 8, 2016   #36
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I always look at the different topsoils, mulches, etc. at the garden centers hoping to find a great deal. I will always find a ripped bag and dig out what is in it to see if it is any good. Mostly what I find is lot of sand and gravel. Not worth the $2 they are asking for it.

My soil here has a fair amount of clay, but I like growing in it.
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Old March 8, 2016   #37
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What preventative measures do you put in place to prevent unwanted fungal/biological pathogens, harmful nematodes, soil pests, weed seeds, etc from carrying over from season to season?
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Old March 8, 2016   #38
Worth1
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What preventative measures do you put in place to prevent unwanted fungal/biological pathogens, harmful nematodes, soil pests, weed seeds, etc from carrying over from season to season?
Fungal and biological I dont have much to worry about , harmful nematodes I dont have any, soil pest are the the slugs and snails and maybe I see two or three wireworms and the grub worms I bait the snails and slugs and dont worry about the rest.
My biggest weed seed is the elm tree seeds that dump everywhere in the late winter.
They come up by the millions.
When they do I scrape them off the top with a hoe or pile leaves and let them sprout and die in the leaves.
Wild carrot I let sprout and cut back with a hoe.
Sticky weed I rake up and compost.
Crab grass I hoe up.
The rest is of no concern it is stuff like horesherb that is a ground cover that is of no harm to the garden and is what I have instead of grass.
Small winter grasses that go away in the spring.
I also have sorrel that I wont let go to seed and keep chopping on it it is just about gone.

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Old March 8, 2016   #39
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Worth, check out what I got for free today. I called the office number on the truck of the tree crew I drove by, and they came and dumped at my farm. Gonna use it in walkways and around the perimeter of my tunnels. And on the floor of my chicken coop.:

IMG_1083.JPG

I tipped the guys and told them to keep the loads coming until I call and say I'm good.
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Old March 8, 2016   #40
Worth1
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Worth, check out what I got for free today. I called the office number on the truck of the tree crew I drove by, and they came and dumped at my farm. Gonna use it in walkways and around the perimeter of my tunnels. And on the floor of my chicken coop.:

Attachment 57103

I tipped the guys and told them to keep the loads coming until I call and say I'm good.
Truck load after truckload of this gets dumped behind my house and spread out every day.
I dont know what they are up to.

Worth
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Old March 8, 2016   #41
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This was Asplundh company. The get a lot of the contracts to clear the lines coming from all of the substations and the. Down along the highway. They had 4 crews out today 3 miles from me. Said they just started and wil be around for awhile.
I wonder if something similar is going on near you.
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Old March 8, 2016   #42
Worth1
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This has been going on for over a year.
The guy that works for the electric company owns the land so I am sure he is having them dump it on his property.
He is weird to say the least.
We have a small group of local people here that hates all outsiders they are jerks.
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Old May 14, 2016   #43
Tracydr
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Originally Posted by efisakov View Post
We started few months ago composting fruits and vegetable peels/scraps, egg shells, coffee, tea, fish and shrimp waste.
We layer it with soil in a containers that have covers (do not want to invite unwanted critters). I hope in few months it would make good container soil mixed with pitmoss. I do not have big trees on the property to collect leaves. I know my tomatoes go creasy when we put fish heads and other parts in the soil and coffee and eggshells were composted for few year now.
I was surprised at how much of our waste was compostable. Too much. My containers get filled quick.
I'd throw some worms in the containers. Add a few drain holes near the bottom,too.
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Old May 15, 2016   #44
efisakov
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I'd throw some worms in the containers. Add a few drain holes near the bottom,too.
Thank you, Tracy.
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Old November 5, 2016   #45
Gardeneer
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Good thread educational and entertaining.
Worth how many years did you have to build the soil in your gardens ?

I just moved to NC (most southern part) with better than 90% native sandy soil, about 40 days ago. Now trying to make a garden in the sand for 2017.
I have no tiller, no truck but I do have a shovel.
That is not quite correct : I do have rakes, a wheelbarrow, tarps, fall leaves, pine straw ...free to rake.
But I have about 4 months to get started and the winter is coming.
So what is the solution ?
BTW: I have started with about 500 sq-ft area. The shovel is doing just fine.
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