Planting Site ~ Improvements & Soil Amendments forum: compost

 
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Imagemarti
Feb 21, 2010 10:34 AM CST
Name: Mary (Marti) Nelson
Ventura, CA
Peace and long life
I've finally made friends with a tree trimmer and he will be dumping several loads of chipped up trees in my yard for me. He dumped a load yesterday that has been sitting for 3 months. Already starting to break down. Will be plowed in with the leaves next month. Plus I'll be able to turn in a load in the shade area for the ferns, hostas and trilliums.

I will have a nice big compost pile to start for next year also out of this deal. And he will be trimming the 5 maple trees I have.

Marti
Tahlmorra lujhala mei wiccan
(The fate of a man rests always within the hands of the gods)
Imagechelle
Feb 21, 2010 12:03 PM CST
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana
Sweet deal!
We actually went overboard planting trees around here, so last year we bought a small, used chipper shreader for the trimmings. Then we use the mulch on our pathways. Our paths are a mess of sticky clay in the spring!
Imagemarti
Feb 21, 2010 2:08 PM CST
Name: Mary (Marti) Nelson
Ventura, CA
Peace and long life
Thats what I want to do with it. Break up this red clay. I've got areas I can turn it into and let it sit till next year and than plant it next years.

Marti
Tahlmorra lujhala mei wiccan
(The fate of a man rests always within the hands of the gods)
Imagechelle
Feb 21, 2010 2:22 PM CST
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana
Marti~
I used some mulch for loosening up our soil also. The one bit of advice I didn't heed though was don't till it in too deep. I dug it in about 12" and disturbed my soil structure a little too much. The things I had planted in that bed did fine, but I might have had to water a little less had I only gone down 4" or so.
Imagemarti
Feb 21, 2010 9:25 PM CST
Name: Mary (Marti) Nelson
Ventura, CA
Peace and long life
Thanks for the advice. I had thought about having the compost and leaves plowed under. Maybe I better think twice about that.

Tahlmorra lujhala mei wiccan
(The fate of a man rests always within the hands of the gods)
Imagechelle
Feb 21, 2010 10:48 PM CST
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana
If you use a rototiller it will probably be fine. They only have a range of depth of from 4 to 8 inches. What I did was far deeper than that. Afterward, I did a lot more research and most of the books I studied had very viable reasons for not disturbing the soil layers quite so deeply. Now I just pile on compost and use a garden fork to loosen the top layer. This seems to give the best results with our rock hard clay. The loosening starts the process of allowing more moisture to penetrate, and the compost covering keeps it from drying out. Here is a photo of a bed that I did this way. This was last summer.

I was ecstatic with the results. It was the first year that my pansies,(in front) bloomed all summer long in full sun!

Thumbnail by chelle

Imagemarti
Feb 22, 2010 9:07 AM CST
Name: Mary (Marti) Nelson
Ventura, CA
Peace and long life
Beautiful garden!!! I'm just chewing nails waiting for mine to look like that. The one reason I'm thinking about plowing this yard is that there is nothing growing here except pasture grass. If left uncut it will grow up 2 - 3 feet tall. There has been nothing done with this yard for over 10 years. They just mowed and left it alone.

The soil here is red clay, very sticky and holds alot of moisture. It needs lots of amendments. I am working on making raised beds using the lasagna method. I am worried that if I don't plow it first, the beds will stay with wet feet. That under the lasagna bed will just be swampy. What do you think?

This is a view of the east side of the trailer and facing south. This will be my sun area. This picture was taken in the late afternoon. In the mornings and early afternoon, its all sun.


Marti

Thumbnail by marti

Tahlmorra lujhala mei wiccan
(The fate of a man rests always within the hands of the gods)
Imagechelle
Feb 22, 2010 10:14 AM CST
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana
Good morning Marti,
If your main concern is a swampy area, (we have lots of those in our yard as well) I would suggest bringing in extra soil from other areas of your yard, or have some brought in, and pile it up about 12". Then put in amendments, (compost if you have it or can get it) and then start your beds of any kind in that top layer. If you till the area, or add amendments first, you can run into problems with most of the moisture going down deeper than your plant's roots. If your bed is going to be on a slope, or higher area, you would not need to add a higher level.
Imagemarti
Feb 22, 2010 11:21 AM CST
Name: Mary (Marti) Nelson
Ventura, CA
Peace and long life
Hadn't thought about that. I had thought about just building up the beds but like I said I was worried about plants having wet feet. I am planning a raised bed along the fence in the picture. The bed will run about 180 feet front to back and 4 - 5 feet wide. I found some siding material that I will hook along the fence to keep the dirt off the fence and build the bed up from there. I am getting some 2x6 that I can use out in the open part of the yard for raised beds. With a bad back and knees I need to fix my garden so I don't have to get down on the ground, so I'm working at making my raised beds 2 feet deep.
Tahlmorra lujhala mei wiccan
(The fate of a man rests always within the hands of the gods)
Imagechelle
Feb 22, 2010 11:38 AM CST
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana
Great idea! That sounds even better. No worries about wet feet there, unless they are your own! LOL Raised beds are dreamy, I have one 18" high in the veggie garden. I can sit on the sides to pick the beans!

I'm in the process of adding links to reference materials. Check out my favorites in the sticky thread in this forum.
Imagemarti
Mar 1, 2010 9:22 PM CST
Name: Mary (Marti) Nelson
Ventura, CA
Peace and long life
I'm having 2 loads of composted horse manure brought in and 1 load of sand. That plus my loads of wood chips will give me a good base for my garden.

The tree trimmer called me today. He has another load of real fine chips for me. Pine and maple. I think I'll work alot of it into the area where my shade garden is going. Most of the plants for that area say that the plants like lots of compost. Plus he is trimming 5 trees for me and will put everything thru the chipper and pile it up in the back yard for me. Next door, my niece is having three trees cut down to the ground. The trimmer says he'll cut me some plant stands out of the trees and nice size logs for sitting on.
I plan to put some in the garden where I can sit and enjoy watching the butterflies and birds as well as my garden.

Tahlmorra lujhala mei wiccan
(The fate of a man rests always within the hands of the gods)
Imagechelle
Mar 2, 2010 7:25 AM CST
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana
That sounds great, Marti!
Now that the weather is starting to break here I will need to check on my compost piles too.
Imagemarti
Mar 2, 2010 7:54 AM CST
Name: Mary (Marti) Nelson
Ventura, CA
Peace and long life
We seem to be staying in the 30's & low 40's. I'm getting real ansy to get out and start planting. Our last frost date is April 15th. I'm getting seeds started in the house. Some of the seeds say start 6 -8 week before last frost.

Tahlmorra lujhala mei wiccan
(The fate of a man rests always within the hands of the gods)
Imagechelle
Mar 2, 2010 8:17 AM CST
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana
I'm going to start my seeds in the greenhouse this year. A friend gave me one last summer and I am just waiting until we start seeing sun on a more regular basis. I hesitate to put a heater in there as you can see in another of my forums I already had a wee problem with melting some of it. http://cubits.org/planthaven/forums/view/gogardeningwithatwi...
I think it would be best for me to let the sun do most of my heating, don't you? LOL
Imagemarti
Mar 2, 2010 11:57 AM CST
Name: Mary (Marti) Nelson
Ventura, CA
Peace and long life
I think that would be best!!!
I have the plans to build a greenhouse and will work on it this year for use next year.
Tahlmorra lujhala mei wiccan
(The fate of a man rests always within the hands of the gods)
Imagechelle
Mar 2, 2010 12:57 PM CST
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana
You will love it! Just came in from cleaning mine up, all the tropicals I was experimenting with wintering over made it! I also have spring bulbs sprouting, so soon will have pics of BLOOMS to share. Happy, happy, joy, joy!
Imagekenboy
Apr 2, 2010 3:52 PM CST
Name: kenboy
Big Sandy TX zone 8
If you have hard clay, the best thing you can do is to treat with Gypsum. It does not let the molecules in clay stick together, so it is much easier to dig in and it lets water permeate through so no standing. Do not add sand to clay,
Clay + Sand = Bricks. I have composted our red clay for about five years now and can grow almost anything. I add composted material when I plant something but other than that I just dump loads of compost around my plants several times a year. My compost pile is 20' X 30' X 6'. I counted one year and I had gathered about 6,000 bags of leaves. If you plow compost in, it needs to be well composted but if you just put it on top, it does not need to be composted at all.

Thumbnail by kenboy

Imagemarti
Apr 2, 2010 3:57 PM CST
Name: Mary (Marti) Nelson
Ventura, CA
Peace and long life
I'm having 2 loads of rich compost delivered and one load of sand. the three will be mixed together and added to the leaves and woodchips I am composting here. This is the mix I used in Calif with heavy clay and it worked well.
Tahlmorra lujhala mei wiccan
(The fate of a man rests always within the hands of the gods)
Imagekenboy
Apr 2, 2010 4:35 PM CST
Name: kenboy
Big Sandy TX zone 8
If you take horticulture 101 they will yell you never add sand to clay. I am sure your mix is a big improvement to what you have but it is not because of the sand. No comment on the Gypsum?

Thumbnail by kenboy

Imagemarti
Apr 2, 2010 4:39 PM CST
Name: Mary (Marti) Nelson
Ventura, CA
Peace and long life
I've never used gypsum. Do I get it at Lowes. How much do I use for 1/2 acre?
Tahlmorra lujhala mei wiccan
(The fate of a man rests always within the hands of the gods)

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