vegy garden soil

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by vegyman, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. vegyman

    vegyman Member

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    port moody B.C
    last past spring i constructed a 25'x25' x20"deep raised bed garden with 15+ yards of top soil on top of weed screen. I planted various vegetables with less than mediocre results. The soil mix is a regular top soil mix with some organic material and some manure, pre-mixed. what can i do to my soil over the winter to turn my mediocre results into lush green vegy's. I have room to top up the garden with manure or soil.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Sample it and send the sample to a soils lab for analysis.
     
  3. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    The biology and physics are also important. Squeeze a handful of your slightly moist soil, does it clump together, fall totally apart, or somewhere in between. Probably has good crumbly texture coz it was purchased, they will mix in sand and manure/compost to make it at least look good.

    The biology will be upset by the moving into your site. That will probably improve over time, esp. if you help it along. Sowing some kind of green manure now on any vacant areas is very helpful, and cheaper than buying in a load of manure.

    Managing nitrogen is often the toughest thing, and hard to determine from soil tests. Slowly building the organic matter by green manures and any compost you have around, applied to the upper layers of the soil, gives you some reserves of N. Plus I have always had to supplement this, either seed meal, feather meal or fish. Almost all the sad looking veggie gardens I've seen have been folks trying to grow an "organic" garden, assuming that meant no fertilizers as well as no sprays. Very few soils can release enough N in a season to support plants like cabbage/brocolli, celery, corn, etc. On the other hand most of our northwestern soils have plenty of potassium, so adding more is either a waste or upsets the balance of other minerals like phosphorus. The soil test is a fairly cheap way to determine where you're at with all those.

    You are right to be thinking now for next year's garden...good luck with it!

    Glen
     
  4. Ralph Walton

    Ralph Walton Active Member 10 Years

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    "Topsoil" used to be just that: soil removed from the top layer of some other site, often in preparation for a building of some sort. All too often what is now sold as "topsoil" is a blend of shredded wood, sand, and enough actual topsoil or compost to make the resulting product look black. The biology is more notable by it's absence.

    Analysis is always the best start, and almost anything you grow in it from here on will improve it. The dump at Burns Bog used to have a good compost operation; check out the seaweed threads here. Annual fall rye is popular and will somewhat supress the weeds over the winter.

    Ralph
     

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