i'm going to plant a small vegetable garden in our backyard. Currently
an entire section of the back is piled with woodchips and in some spots
several inches deep with sand. This was something the previous owners
of our home did - probably because of kids and dogs. What measures
should i take? I know that getting the woodchips out and potentially
relocated is a prerequisite but have wondered about the sand issue. If
my garden will not physically be planted in the spots where the sand
is, is it still necessary to get rid of it?
Also, since we are in a city (chicago), is it unwise to plant directly
into the ground? Am I better off planting in a raised bed filled with
topsoil and compost? I should mention that in spite of the woodchips
and the sand, the soil is rich and moist.
I would go with the raised beds. So easy to maintain and keep critters
out. My beds are 4x8 and I used rough 4x4s to make them (2 high for
eight inches of height). I filled them with bagged soil, peat, compost,
as well as a dash of composted manure and bone meal. Each year, I add a
little of each component to spruce it up. You might consider using the
wood chips to surround the raised bed. It would help resist slugs and
snails and keep weeds away (I usually put landscape fabric under the
woodchips for double protection). The woodchips make a nice pathway
around the beds.
As for the sand, if it's not in the way, it won't hurt anything you
plant. Heck, you can even add a shovel full or two into a 4x8 bed if it
hasn't been used as a toilet by the kitties.
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