creating soil?

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by doodah, Oct 24, 2007.

  1. Karalyn

    Karalyn Active Member

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    Boy, that would be hard to take care of the peat moss. Very touchy stuff.
     
  2. cec

    cec Member

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    BARAGA is a peat bog. It's not soil really and horsetails grow out of it from (I've heard) fourteen feet down. Also it sort of flakes and splits so water runs through the cracks and nothing but the surface gets wet unless you actually mix it together with water.
     
  3. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Well then maybe try some of the acidic loveing plants. Do what they can do in the hard rocky soil dig hollows and fill with some compost stuff and plant. OR do as I am doing because of drought using root barrier material or pots and sinking them into the soil (peat) and filling them with the good stuff that is water holding. [we have very strong water restrictions] Are you able to fork peat over and add composty material??? to try and create some more usable soil. Eg horse manure leaves some sand, wood shavings etc.

    Liz
     
  4. 1950Greg

    1950Greg Active Member

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    Langley, B.C. Stones throw from old HBC farm.
    cec you must live in south Burnaby where farmers grow blueberries and cranberries, these do well in these conditions. Very high acid and ample water then add peat which is perfect for root growth. Adding stones I'am not sure of though most likely they would sink to the bottom anyway. You would be better off adding real soil at about 1 to 1 for a more balanced mixture. As for the lime unless you add a whole lot ,like two to three tons an acre you will not move the PH level at all. Natural peat is like one giant door mat in consistency it really doesn't break down because bacteria and worms will not live in peat it's too acidic. Adding stones interesting maybe course sand.
     
  5. Karalyn

    Karalyn Active Member

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    Wow, I'm learning a lot about this "stuff". Maybe coarse sand and gravel from granite stones. Granite gravel is real fine and the I think the ph would counter the acid if I'm thinking right. At least that is what I read about in my koi pond books. Of which I had already been using granite stones for my waterfall and it was a good thing. ;-)
     
  6. MdeHaan

    MdeHaan Member

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    Gravel or pebbles do "hold water" because of the large surface area, and surface tension holds a thin layer of moisture around each pebble.
     
  7. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    The chips would be useful, as mentioned.

    From what you shared, if I was living there, I wouldn't compost all my chips, but just some.

    Some finer compost first, then chips on top.

    How many acres do you have where you can prune plants moderately and get chips from their limbs?
     
  8. scottish piper

    scottish piper Member

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    I agree the best thing is to consider raised beds or even large container planting , after selling our last house we are now living in a trailer here in Creston BC , it is situated on extremely hard compacted soil , mostly clay , rock and gravel.
    At first i didn't think we would ever get a garden to grow here , then I got a chance at a whole lot of old 2x4's that were used for cement forming , all I had to do was haul them away.
    I used them to build large beds and slowly found enough soil to fill them all , now we have a wonderful yard with lots of garden space , all done on top of the original hard ground.
    Not only do things grow great in them , there is less bending over when you tend your garden , and they hold moisture very well.
    I do find that most trees grow well in this soil , as well as grapes , the drainage is good but there is very little nutrients so I use a water soluble fertilizer on those.
    As for stones holding moisture , I can say I believe it , I mulched our whole yard with about 1 to 3 inches of crusher chips (similar to pea gravel but more sharp and angular) and in the hottest of summer days you can rake back the rock and the ground is very moist under it.
    I attached a couple of photos to show you how we've done our yard , it was a barren lot 3 years ago , believe it or not I planted that willow in the center as a little twig taken as a cutting from the property we sold 4 years ago , it really seems to like it here.
     

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  9. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Congrats on a really great garden. Love your planters. Amazing what happens when one thinks outside the square. Well done

    Liz
     
  10. doodah

    doodah Member

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    I have 10 acres of forest from which I gather a lot of material throughout the year. Most of the forest is coniferous, but there are alder and big-leaf maple.

    I chip almost anything I can get my hands on and mix it into the soil. The soil is mostly sand and rock so any organic material helps as there is virtually nothing in there to begin with. I also put the material on top to act as a water-conserving mulch.
     
  11. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    This all helps to get livestock (worms etc) into the soil. I used to gather all the autumn leaves years ago to build a soil that was old sandunes. A lot of problems keeping it moist but the leaves helped and grew a good garden. You might need to add a bit of lime to sweeten the soil if you are using a fair bit of conifer material Particularly for a vegetable patch. My dad would go far and wide to clean out people's hen houses and stables for the manure. His garden was really something else. It is currently up for sale again and I must say the photos look pretty good. I hope the new owner is very garden orientated.

    Liz
     
  12. Karalyn

    Karalyn Active Member

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    Beautiful garden! There is nothing like getting free wood and other materials that would help in gardening. Yippee!

    Is the willow a globe willow, because if it is it is going to get bigger and bigger, but then ours have been growing for 30 years. LOL And will definitely outgrown your planter which I really thinks is lovely!
    Thanks for sharing!
     
  13. Beekeeper

    Beekeeper Active Member

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    cec

    The soil at BARAGA has a peat base but has been gardened for a long time and is excellant if used properly. A good addition is sand which I add from time to time. Pea gravel is rather impractical. The addition of nutrients is also necessary, I have a small truck and add manure when I can get it as well as seaweed. I grow great vegetables.
     
  14. Acoma

    Acoma Active Member

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    Not sure if any of you per this thread still debate the wood chips? I would tend to believe, as would Durgan, that wood chips mixed into the garden bed would be benificial. My belief is also based on rototilling the bed each year after the crop is done, and fresh compost is applied to replenish the depleted nitrogen. Think about it this way, the chips are breaking down by roots, watering, worms, and weather. After a full year of being in the ground, and rototilled again, the chips are quite minute in size and full of nutrients for the next crop. It also creates the extra pockets of air for the roots to grow, worms to florish. Applying the wood chips in this manner yearly, with fresh compost is quite good. If you don't plan to rototill the crop each year, then I would agree with not going this route. If you do, it is a great way to go. I compost each year, and will apply the wood chips as well. They are free from the tree trimming people anyways. Also, great mulch for the trees, shrubs, etc. Natural and free.
     
  15. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    That's the way it happens here too. However just watch soil acidity. Not sure if I am right but some wood chips raise acidity and the break down can cause nitrogen depletion. I always add blood and bone to my chip mulches. I also have access to large amounts of wood shavings of all types of timber. I tend to use this everywhere including as animal litter. Again if it is put on raw I always add a manure under it.

    Liz
     
  16. johnnyjumpup

    johnnyjumpup Active Member

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    Re: small rocks trapping water. This works. Think of how much heavier a pail of wet sand is versus a pail of dry sand (very tiny particles). Something to do with more surface for the water to cling to.
     
  17. Ottawa-Zone5

    Ottawa-Zone5 Active Member

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    Liz mentioned "Raw" mulch. I have a 5'x5'x5' pile of mulch in open as of November 1. Will it still be considered raw in coming Spring? If yes, what will it take to be counted as "Not Raw".
     
  18. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I think it will take a bit longer than the time you estimate to compost down. When I use the wood shavings they are just that from planks of dried wood. I bring them home in bags and spread them. I try and pick windless days and hopefully there will be some rain to dampen it down. This method combined with the manure/bone meal around each plant still takes a year or so to start looking like compost. When I rough it up every so often there are usually a lot of those manure worms in the bottom layer. I have no idea where they come from but I have plenty of them. The air temperature will also play a big part in decomposition. We rarely get below 5 C here in winter but the lack of rain is slowing the breakdown somewhat so your climate will play a big part. What sort of mulch is it???
    I know our hard wood eucalypt mulch takes a time to breakdown. Also depends on the size of the chips.

    Liz
     
  19. Ottawa-Zone5

    Ottawa-Zone5 Active Member

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    It is mixed mulch but mostly cedar mulch (less cedar leaves more wood). I was not expecting it to compost by spring but was thinking from point of view of activeness to cause burn or other damage to plants when fresh. Piles of snow will be sitting on top of it iduring the winter and early spring. My question was basically to ask as to when should I consider it inert (other than causing some acidity to the soil). Can I mulch th evegetable plot with it next summer?
     
  20. Acoma

    Acoma Active Member

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    Think about the big picture. The wood chips are acidic in nature, true. If one thinks about ratios, then one inch of wood chips for 5 inches of aged manure/ or other mixed nitrogen ready to mix. As Durgan does it, this is an excellant method. I mix a cold compost for fall that is ready for the following fall (snow here). I use my compost bin for summer mixtures ready at will. Each fall, the goal is to do the 5:1 ratio of the compost/ chips. Then I rototill it in. Each previous years chips degrade and mix into the soil for water bonding, moisture retention. Yes, use bone meal, or other quick additives if needed. But do it in EARLY SPIRNG, OR LATE FALL. Do not attempt quick fixes to gardens. I have access to large amounts of leaves, aged and fresh manure, vegetables, straw, mulch, etc that give me optimal compost. Not sure for the rest of you. Go with resources available first, use methods to bring balance, then it is trial and error. Remember, it takes 3-4 years of modification, trial and error, to get optimal garden growth.
     

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