Dry Barren Soil

sneed(7)October 20, 2013

I tried growing veggies for 3 years and I get very poor results. My soil is more like a dry dirt, sandy and loose. I attached a photo if that helps. I added compost to one area and manure to the other area this year, but still got bad results. I planted pumpkins, cukes, tomatos, peppers, onions & clantro.

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zzackey(8b GA)

You need to do alot more. I have total sand here in Georgia. I have a small pail in the kitchen I put veggie scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds and fruit scraps in. I am making a compost pile. Composting is key to my garden doing better. Do you have any leaves you can add to the compost or local manure? Those would help too.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 3:57PM
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All I have is pile of grass clipping from every time I mowed this past summer.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 4:10PM
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sweetquietplace(6 WNC Mtn.)

Seaweed, grass, leaves, sawdust (as long as it doesn't have walnut in it), alfalfa pellets, chopped up corn stalks, old hay. Then buy some earthworms. Sprinkle cornmeal on top of the ground every few days to make the earthworms really like their new home. If you're near a Starucks, they will give you their used coffee grounds for your garden.This is a long-term project and will take several years to get it really going good..

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 4:38PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Organic material. Organic material. Organic material. I started with dry, sandy, soil, no worms and no ability to hold nutrients. Keep adding organic material--anything--fall leaves, hay (without seeds), kitchen scraps, manure. And never stop. A vegetable garden removes huge quantities of organic material from the soil every year. You have to add it back.

Clay soil? Same story--lots of organic material.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 6:50AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

If you don't have your own compost, you can buy some. It sells around $30 per cubic yard(You take delivery). One cubic yard should be tilled into about 150 sq-ft area to make it nice n fluffy, to hold moisture longer. Also , you should LEVEL the bed if possible.
That soil looks good just needs amending.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 7:31AM
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When was that photo taken, and where are you? Without knowing that the discussion is pointless. The northeast (or at least my part of it), for example, is having the driest fall by a long shot in all my years gardening, so if you are in that region there is nothing strange in what you are experiencing.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 8:30AM
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You need one foot of organic matter, or three inches of finished compost, just to get started. That works out to 1cy per 108 sqft. IMHO, burying or tilling raw organic matter is better long term, but you can do it both ways, laying down some compost where you will direct seed, and burying/laying down raw organic matter where you will plant vegetables that do well in compost piles (virtually all summer vegetables). I collect 30 leaf bags a year from curbside, just to maintain fertility, you should collect at least 100.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 8:31AM
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I use the lasagna method of layering brown (i.e old leaves run over with mower) and green (free grass clippings). You can also use straw ($8/bale around here - straw not hay which contains seeds), wood chips (some tree cutting services will dump at your house for free), shredded paper, kitchen waste as long as it's not meat, and whatever else. Check Craigslist for free manure. The important thing is she suggests a pile 24-30 inches tall (if I remember correctly) which will compost/shrink over winter. We even asked neighbors for grass clippings (as long as they don't use chemicals). My original beds are now level with the ground and are very nice soil. Take a look a lists of what you can compost to help you figure out what you can use as cheaply as possible. Good luck. BTW continue to add compost every year.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 8:37AM
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