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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 27, 2022   #1
OldHondaNut
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Default Traditional garden w Clay

I had many gardens of good size, (40x50 or 2000 sq.ft), where I just turned clay soils w a roto tiller. I did add in on bale of peat moss and a bag of gypsum. Tilling made it a "raised bed". The veggies for fertilized w 3-1-2 fertilizer that was also used for the yard grass next to it.


It's not much different than what was described in the WWI and WWII Victory Gardens.



Wonderful results.


I may do a test of this again this year.
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Old January 27, 2022   #2
VirginiaClay
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We do the same sort of thing in our clay-soil garden here in Virginia. We just till the whole thing with a rototiller, mark off where the beds and the aisles should be, and then shovel the loose dirt out of the aisles up onto the beds and level them off. The beds end up being about 5" high, and since the soil is clay, they pretty much stay that way all summer without washing away. It's the old-fashioned "raised bed" method, from before people started building all these structures in their gardens. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

I often till in some LeafGro (composted leaf mulch), or hand dig it into the planting beds before planting. Sometimes in the fall I dig in some regular leaf mulch from the county, because it's free -- I add it to the heaviest clay areas where the soil really needs some help. We also lay down a thick layer of the free leaf mulch in all the aisles in spring each year, and that composts over the summer into nice, rich black stuff that we dig into the beds in the fall or till in the following spring.

Some years I add Bumper Crop or manure to the tomato and pepper beds before planting, but at the price of Bumper Crop these days, I feel like I'm dumping gold coins in there. We add our own compost to the planting holes as well.
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Old January 28, 2022   #3
rxkeith
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at my home growing up in detroit, we had heavy clay soil. tilling it with the front tine tiller borrowed from my uncle those first few years was a real chore. after about 15 years or so of adding large amounts of leaves to the garden, the soil became much easier to till.


then boy met girl, fell in love, moved to their own home, and started all over again.




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Old February 5, 2022   #4
OldHondaNut
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There was an article a few years ago about the $1 garden. That was the cost of dollar store seeds and they just used Fall leaves to improve the soil. I remember they made starter cups out of newspaper (what's that? lol).


It came out great. I noticed last weekend my local dollar store had 4/$1 seeds again and I bought $2. So I might try a $2 garden!


They had Large Red Cherry and I picked up one of those. The only other choice was a big beefstake tomato and those don't fare too well for me. Wish they had Rutgers like they have had before.

Last edited by OldHondaNut; February 5, 2022 at 11:37 AM.
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Old March 6, 2022   #5
OldHondaNut
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It's probably a week or two early but I planted a single Porter tomato today.



Soil building was to weed eat grass an area of a pizza down to bare soil (black gumbo) and to use a spade to loosen 12". In the 12" I mixed 1/2 cup of last year's lawn fertilizer. Once planted I topped the pizza area with a light sprinkling of compost, maybe a 1/2".
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