Planting medium for veggies over grass clippings

nirenjoshi(7b)May 27, 2014

I have an area in my backyard which slopes down - about 4 feet down over 7 feet. I have filled it up with grass clippings and fall leaves and straw bales over the last 3-4 years. So now there is about 2 feet of grass clippings, leaves and straw there. I also dump old used potting mix, weeds and other organic matter in there.
I would like to plant some squash plants - zucchini, yellow squash, pumpkins there.
Here is what I was thinking of doing -
I have some large tubs from which I can remove the bottoms and sink them in the leaves/grass clippings mix. And then fill the tubs with potting mix and plant the squash in these tubs. I was wondering what I could use to fill the tubs - miracle grow potting mix? That would be the most expensive. Any other ideas?
I have seen Black Kow claiming that you could plant veggies directly into the compost bags. May be I could fill the tubs with it?
Underneath the grass clippings is all clay. And I would like to avoid having to dig all the way down to mix it all - hence the idea of planting in tubs sunk in and filled with potting mix, surrounded by the decomposing grass and other organic matter.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

MG potting mix is good stuff, I grow a couple tomatoes in it each year. I tend to use cheaper brands though unless it's on sale, or buy a bag of each and mix.

Plants can certainly grow in half-composted material - look up lasagne gardening. Your idea could work, although you might not need the tubs. Why not just dig a hole, fill it with a good topsoil/compost mix and plant in that? Is your goal to eventually level this area? If so you'll need soil, not just organic matter or potting mix. What's going to happen to the tubs of potting mix at the end of the season? If you leave the stuff there it will continue to decompose and shrink and your slope will still be there. That's why I'd suggest some topsoil and not just 100% organic matter. But if you're not trying to eventually have a level, raised bed there, it doesn't matter as much.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 1:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My goal is not to level the slope, but just make it easier to plant and walk around the plants. I thought the organic matter will settle and sink and hence thought the need for tubs. I am going to try it with potting mix.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 12:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Lisa_H OK(7)

Potting mix can dry out very make sure you keep it watered well.

I have made "dirt pockets" and planted in that. Take a bag of dirt (can usually buy for a dollar or two), push aside a small area you could like to plant in, dump the dirt there, and then plant.

I'd be surprised if you really have that much uncomposted material still. Have you dug around it it a little? I bet you have compost under a layer of the uncomposted material.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 1:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

I too would recommend more of a topsoil. You could blend in up to an equal amount of good compost, because those topsoil bags can be pretty poor.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 3:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How is the water flow in that area? You would want to make sure you don't get too much water there.

Another consideration is that you actually can use it as a raised bed area, taking into consideration about the slope. The bed border will help retain the soil and you can still grow things in there.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 10:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Potting mixes will be mostly peat moss, coir, finely shredded bark, or a mix of those. The organic matter you have put into that depression will, eventually be digested, "shrink" but might be something akin to a Lasagna bed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lasagna Gardening 101

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 7:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the suggestions. I made holes in the organic matter and mixed the clay soil underneath with some miracle grow garden soil (since I had a bag of it lying around) and planted zucchini, yellow squash, trombone squash and pumpkins.
I did not use the bottomless tubs I was thinking of using. I laid down some pink bark mulch around the plants. I have a few more plants that need to go in the ground - Charentais melons, seminole pumpkins and lemon squash.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 1:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've accidently grown huge strawberries in aged wood chips.
I also grow flowers or Buckwheat on compost piles. With only little soil and very warm compost they grow well. I'm always experimenting

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 9:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dowbright(z6 in Missouri)

minitrucker! Please tell me the story of your accidental strawberry success in aged wood chips. Anxiously awaiting your reply. COOL!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 9:01PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Alkaline compost
I thought I would pick this group's brains regarding...
what say you on on reusing ashes to soil?
We barbecue often and use charcoal (absolutely no lighter...
flyinbtsomypants (WestCent.FL Z9b-10a)
Gooey vegetable compost under kitchen sink
Fellow gardeners who COMPOST, I need some advice. I...
Lots of grass, not much "brown"?
So I live in the tropics of Australia, 4-5m of rainfall...
Compost is wet and soggy. Can I use it? It's not done yet..
Hi there. My first compost is almost a year old now....
Mikkel Nielsen
Sponsored Products
Costa Del Sol Three-Light Outdoor Wall Mount in Wrought Iron Finish
$819.00 | Bellacor
Patio Living Concepts Outdoor Lighting. Catalina Bisque Outdoor Floor Lamp with
Home Depot
5-foot Yucca Silk Tree
Worthy Leather Corner Chair - Brighton Polinesia Blue
Joybird Furniture
Dial 3 Table Clock by David Scherer
$106.95 | Bellacor
Serena & Lily Huntington Basket
Serena & Lily
Bird Cam Mounting Arm
$29.95 | FRONTGATE
Wood Chalkboard Shelf
$129.99 | zulily
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™