Fixing soil

Manda_Rae

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What can I do to make this area soil healthy to plant in for next year?
I mostly have raised beds but I would like to start planting a few things in ground. What can I do this year to repair for next year. Besides buying a bag of dirt an throwing it on top.
 

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digitS'

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A bag of anything won't cover very much, Manda_Rae.

It would be great if you could put a pickup load of good compost on it. But, it's seldom that gardeners can make enough compost to feel that they have sufficient to use it on new garden sites. What would you think about growing something for soil improvement?

On poor quality ground, I'm a believer in cultivation that makes full use of what topsoil there is. If you can come up with lots of plant material, composting-in-place may work for you. Creating new beds by removing several inches of soil would provide some soil to cover collectables. Adding to that an inch or two of soil from paths might cover a good amount of material to decompose.

I have grown winter rye sown about the first of August and had an abundance of material to be pulled and buried by June. Coarse, frost-killed garden plants can be gathered in the fall. A trench 8" deep would be a good home for it.

If the ground hasn't settled by the following year, the large seeds and resulting large plants of squash may grow well on that bed. After that season, the ground should be ready for most any garden plant, maybe even without cultivation.

I have also brought new ground into veggie-ready condition by growing flowers on it the first year. Some flowers grow well and quickly from seed - saving bother and expense of transplants. You may be comfortable using conventional fertilizer on ground intended for ornamental plants and moving on to organic the following year.

Steve
 

seedcorn

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Get a soil sample.
Coat area with grass clippings, manure from horses or rabbits. Cover with leaves this fall. (Stables usually have a problem getting rid of shavings/manure. Same with rabbit people.)
Next spring, spread some 10:10:10 on area and till it all under.
While not perf3ct, it will support plants.
 

heirloomgal

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Beans & peas also give a great benefit to soil for the following years planting. It was customary here for years to convert barren fields to crop growing areas by planting field peas for a year or two.
 

Manda_Rae

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I wouldn't mind growing a cover crop for it. I just would like to utilize the area eventually. I had a mobile chicken coop in that area for a short while. I couldn't look locally for manure.
I'll try the barley too!
 

flowerbug

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if you plant buckwheat you may have critter issues as the deer and others will eat it if they can get to it. winter-wheat or winter-rye (the grains, not the grasses) planted in the fall will help a great deal. if it is primarily sandy soil add some clay and organic material to improve the water holding capacity. you won't need much to make a big difference.

around here we can usually get wood chips for low cost or even free. they are useful as mulch in the gardens or on pathways for several years before they'll start breaking down and then after that they've started to become humus which can be used in the gardens along with partially digested bits of wood which are ok in small amounts for a garden too.

since you had a chicken coop on there you might not need any additional fertilizer on that area.

i don't really know what soil quality you have there. do a youtube search for how to do a simple soil analysis. that will tell you a lot about the area. :) have fun! :)
 

Manda_Rae

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if you plant buckwheat you may have critter issues as the deer and others will eat it if they can get to it. winter-wheat or winter-rye (the grains, not the grasses) planted in the fall will help a great deal. if it is primarily sandy soil add some clay and organic material to improve the water holding capacity. you won't need much to make a big difference.

around here we can usually get wood chips for low cost or even free. they are useful as mulch in the gardens or on pathways for several years before they'll start breaking down and then after that they've started to become humus which can be used in the gardens along with partially digested bits of wood which are ok in small amounts for a garden too.

since you had a chicken coop on there you might not need any additional fertilizer on that area.

i don't really know what soil quality you have there. do a youtube search for how to do a simple soil analysis. that will tell you a lot about the area. :) have fun! :)
There is definitely clay in our yard.
I have tons of mulch. I had a local arborist drop a whole load for me in the fall.
 

ninnymary

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Buckwheat is another fast growing green manure crop that will help immensely. In your region you can still get two crops by fall. Seed it heavily and when its 10 inches or so tall; till it in and repeat. Some of the clovers will do the same thing but it would take longer.
This year I planted red clover and after it stopped flowering I just pulled it out. Was I supposed to leave it in the ground?

Mary
 

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