What to grow in sand?

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Hello,
I will start by saying that I've had success with Corn, Basil, and Cucumbers. I've got radishes growing but they never looked like radishes... They've been growing for over 4 months now and they are pretty plants with bright red stems, nice looking leaves. Can a radish be eaten months after it's 30 day due date?
I've got some carrots growing but the carrots look like they are still two months from maturing. The leaves are growing upwards, are about 6 inches. The roots aren't developing very much at the moment.
I've planted some cabbage but the cabbage doesn't seem to be taking to well.
The sandy soil is slowly turning into a better (not so sandy) soil, I'm thinking it'll take another year though before it's fully where it should be.
So my main question involves what to grow in sand in order to improve the quality of the sand? I've reworked the corn stalks into the sand and that seems to have helped a bit, and I keep adding dead leaves and such and keep watching bugs appear.
One other question... involving basil. I know basil will die if I let it bloom. If I let it bloom will it seed itself and create more basil plants? And if I have sweet basil next to purple basil next to lemon basil... what can I expect if I let them all bloom?
--
Jim Carlock
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Jim,
Look around you. Tampa Bay produces most of the winter (Ruskin) tomatoes. Plant City is famous for strawberries. If you drive down h-iway 60 you will see fields of Collard and Mustard greens.
I understand your frustration with the sandy Florida soils. I moved to Anna Maria Island from Lakeland a few years ago and have been burying every bit of organics I can get a hold of (leaves, 7-11 coffee grounds, seaweed, even barber hair.) Keep adding leaves, especially oak leaves.
Cropwise, try peanuts (Spanish) or peas as a Nitrogen fixing green manure. Be sure to plant Marigolds to fight off Fla's biggest plant pest, Root-knot Nematodes. In the cool weather (winter, lol) plant Corriander and let it go to seed and dry out to attract ladybugs.
You can forget about growing root crops around here. I have never seen any home garden grown ones of any size. I don't know if it is the texture or the chemistry of our sand. Stick to cruciforms and fruiting vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant or peppers.
Good Luck,
Ed Upshaw Anna Maria Island "A Quaint Little Drinking Village, With a Fishing Problem."
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"Laser6328" wrote:

Driving down 60 I've seen fields of cows. Maybe some trees farther on down closer to the east coast. It's been a long time, maybe 8 years since I've done the drive to Miami.
I've had success with Mustard Leaf. The leaves grow pretty nicely.

I'm seeing dead leaves are working great at turning sand into something more than sand. And coffee seems to help as long as it's mixed with the sand and left a few months with some other composting marterials before actually being used... (it kills cucumbers if applied directly to the topsoil and watered in).
Coffee grounds seem to be no good for cucumbers. The cucumbers seem to love a 1-2-1 ratio of fertilizer though.
I've got some pigweed growing that is supposed to draw things up and I kind of like it as it has these sharp thorns on it and it grows to about 5 feet high and vines like to climb it. I haven't found very many details about using it to bring nutrients up to the surface, most people seem to call it spinach (or amaranthus?). It must have come in some of the cow manure soil I bought from Home Depot, I don't know where it came from.

The peanuts won't survive the squirrels. The squirrels ate up about 50 cobs of corn I grew.

I'll keep that in mind. I'll have to do some research on the Nematodes. I think it might be possible that those could have taken out the cucumbers. I'm only assuming that it was the coffee grounds that did it. Everytime I've put the grounds in the area where the cucumbers are growing, the cucumber leaves started turning brown and looking rotton. There was a problem with silverleaf whitefly on the cucumbers over the summer, where I found that washing the leaves with dish detergent or just plain water seemed to seemed to help... but then some of the things I was washing off the leaves were Asian ladybugs... so I'm not sure if I did more harm or more good. At the time I was messing with the coffee grounds and a second set of cucumber plants, I stopped watering the leaves and left all the white, yellow and brown specks (eggs?) on the bottom of the leaves. I watched quite a few lady bugs in their larva stages develop. Those leaves on those cucumbers gradually turned brown and dried out. One vine is almost completely leafless, produced about 5 or 6 cucumbers before losing all it's leaves and is currently leafless. So I believe it was the coffee grounds that are doing in that particular cucumber vine... it looks pretty much done in.

The cucumbers seem to attract ladybugs very well, just passing that along back to you. I'll keep the Corriander in mind. The Cucumbers I've had success with are the Poinsett 76 / MarketMore 76 varieties. I did get some Yamato Cucumber vines going but they never fruited... and it appeared that the coffee grounds killed those, but perhaps they don't last all year long... maybe they only last for about 3 or 4 months at most... because if that's the case, I might need to rethink the coffee grounds.

I've got some carrots potted in a rich soil that seem to be growing right now. They just are growing up at the moment, rather than down. :-) I think you're right about the root crops.

Cruciform? What exactly is that one? I looked it up at: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=cruciform
And all I see is having four parts... or cross and most of the links tend to go to religious references, assuming the cross that Jesus Christ and others have hung upon as used by the Italians?
I did find cucumiform though which indicates an object in the shape of a cucumber. :-)

Thanks, Ed. -- Jim Carlock Post replies to newsgroup.
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I looked up cucumbers in one of my trusty Rodale "How To's" and it seems that they like acidic soils (5.0-6.8) so I don't think that coffee grounds hurt your plants. You do need to give them lots of Phosphate and Potasium.
How wet is your soil? Could your leaf browning be caused by fungus? That would start with round spots and soft spots on fruit.
Someone may correct me but I believe "Curciforms" are leafy plants with opposing leaves. The ones that we keep hearing are good for us: Spinach, Collards, Turnips, Brussle Sprouts, etc
Ed.
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"EDUPSHAW" wrote:

The soil is sand for the most part that has been turned and mixed with some dead dried out leaves, some dead dried grass clippings, some dead dried oak leaves, a variety of other leaves and stems. As sand it drains very well. The other stuff I've mixed in seems to keep it from draining so quickly.

Cruciform according to the definition at dictionary.com: (Bot.) having four parts arranged in the form of a cross.
I'm thinking along the lines of maybe Spanish Needle, where there are three leaves on a stem. I don't know. Maybe someone else can help out.
While going through things, I found the word cucurbit...
And it is possible, based that what I thought were Asian LadyBugs are really cucurbit beetles (spotted cucumber beetles). The leaves started to dry out and wilt. I'm pretty sure some of the ladybugs I saw were actual ladybugs. But there were quite a few bugs out there. I watched some as they developed through their larva stages. I've spent the last hour or so looking up stuff on cucurbit, cruciform and all and I have to give up on it and get some other things done. Perhaps there was a combination of ladybugs and spotted cucumber beetles.
I should have took some pictures of the bugs. :-)
--
Jim Carlock
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Jim Carlock said:

I've rarely seen ladybugs on my cucurbits (cucumbers, melons, squash). But I *always* see cucumber beetles. They can spread diseases such as bacterial wilt and mosaic virus.
I grow my cucumbers in a screened box, to exclude the cucumber beetles, which means I only grow the types that set fruit without pollination. Otherwise the bacterial wilt will wipe them out.
My soil is really sandy, too. My main fertilizers are alfalfa pellets and compost made with shredded leaves and large amounts of coffee grounds. That works for me because my soil test revealed abundant amounts of phosphorous but very limited amounts of potassium. Phosphorous tends to stick around in soils, but potassium leaches. Coffee grounds and alfalfa add nitrogen and potassium but not so much phosphorous.
Youshould consider having your soil tested to find out what your critical nutrients might be...
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
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Here in Australia some ladybirds/ladybugs are attracted to the leaf of curcubits and potatoes, and they rasp the green layer off the leaf to leave a transparent patch. You see this small area of damage right where each bug is located on the leaf, so they are strongly implicated! I pick the ladybugs off the leaves and squash them. They obviously are not the helpful ones that eat aphids.
What to plant in sand? I grew the pink sweet potatoes (yams) in some unimproved very sandy soil, growing them from slips (rooted lengths of runners). It was difficult to keep the water up to them during the height of summer, but I covered the soil surface with leaves and compost and the plants thrived and produced a heavy crop of delicious tubers. Harvest as needed.
--
John Savage (news address invalid; keep news replies in newsgroup)


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Jim,
John Savage is right about Sweet Potatoes growing easily in sand.
DON'T DO IT!!!!! DON'T DO IT!!!
I have ruined two gardens by growing sweet potatoes. They are more persistant than nut-sedge or wire-grass. Once they are established, that's all you will grow. Even "Round-up" does not kill them all.
Ed
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Hi Jim, The radishes sound doomed. Have they bolted (produced flowers)? If so, the seed pods that develop are edible. Cabbage really does better in a heavy soil. The split between what grows and what doesn't my not all be due to the sand. It may be a division between what grows well in hot weather and what does better in a cool climate. Possible?
To improve the soil, about all you can do is keep adding lots of organic material. It will probably take more than you think.
Steve
Jim Carlock wrote:

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"Steve" wrote in message

No flowers yet.

Very possible. Alot of stuff doesn't like the heat of summer here.

Funny... I cleaned out the gutters last week, a couple years ago a tree started to grow in the gutter. I think I found alot of good stuff in the gutters. The tree that started growing in the gutter is now growing on the side of the house, is about 14 feet tall.
-- Jim Carlock Post replies to newsgroup.
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On Thu, 11 Nov 2004 19:45:10 GMT, "Jim Carlock"

Basil reseeds like crazy in my yard. I don't know how much it cross pollinates, but I find versions of Lettuce leaf, lemon, Italian, and cinnamon basil growing in the lawn, in clay, through the fence, and in the flower beds. I just crush a leaf on any of the plants and sniff to figure out which one it is if I can't tell by the leaf. If it doesn't have a good, strong scent; it gets pulled up.
Penelope
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"Maybe you'd like to ask the Wizard for a heart."
"ElissaAnn" < snipped-for-privacy@everybodycansing.com>
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Things that help with sand.
1) drip irrigation, since sand gets dry so damn fast. 2) much more organic matter than you think. Conside one foot deep topdressing 3) sunken beds. This and 2) mean that you may have to dig up and dispose of some of the sand, and replace it with compost 4) most veggies do well in sand but, as others said, cabbage, fava, horseradish will not. 5) more frequent fertilizing
Some of my sandy beds are not so sandy anymore, but they did take over one foot topdressing, and the manure I use has chunks of clay mixed in, which helps. Veggies with a large taproot that is not eaten will help deposit organic matter at depth (example, dandelion) but this method will get you somewhere very slowly. You will just have to dig the sand, spread it one the lawn, and come in with tons of compost, or restrict yourself to what grows well there. I am sure watermelons will do wonderfully.
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Just some thoughts-- If I'm wrong Cereus will correct me.<g> I'm convinced that my current garden is on an ancient beach site. [50 feet away is pure clay with a rubble topping, so I'm not complaining]

That seems to indicate that you manage to keep water in there for the plants. That's the first trick with sand. You're also growing things that take a good dose of Nitrogen [corn & basil] and some that depend more on Potassium. [cukes]

Your root crops seem to be suffering. They need a high am mount of phosphorous. My garden is the same--- the only way I've ever had any decent carrots, beets or radishes was to side dress those rows with a fertilizer high in phosphorous. [the middle number in the fertilizer name-- I usually end up with 10-60-10 because that's what they carry at the local nursery.]
I give the whole garden a dose in the spring, but then I just concentrate of ph & heavy mulching. I use all my grass clipping green on my tomatoes and peppers. Then I side-dress my root crops every couple weeks with the 10-60-10.
Bring some soil samples to your local Co-operative Extension [or whatever the county agriculture people are called in your state] and have it tested.

Probably pretty tough-- but it won't hurt you.

I never grew cabbage, but I wonder if that could be Phosphorous, too-- don't they have a long taproot?

-snip-
There's been a garden on my garden site for 50 years. [with a couple 4-5 year breaks] I add a couple tons of organic matter every year. It is amazing how much the sand can swallow.
Jim
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

I'm in central Florida and also have a sand garden. Jim, are you serious about the ton of organic matter or was that just a way of saying "lots an lots"? And if you really did mean a ton, how big a space is it?
I generally have pretty good luck in fall and spring if I add lots of compost. I grow a variety of leafy greens, some beans, tomatoes and my zucchini is doing well this year. Summer is just too hot to grow much (a local friend has good luck with black eyed peas). I sometimes think that the mustards will grow in beach sand.
David
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-snip-

It was a wild-ass guess. The garden has shrunk to about 50 by 50 as I get older.
I'll try to estimate a little closer-- I mow about once a week from June through August I mow my lawn & bag my grass. - To keep the math simple and guess that I probably miss a couple weeks we'll call it 10 mowings. I empty the bag 6-8 times each mowing, so that's 60-80 bags of grass. 50 lbs per bag [another wild guess] would give me 3-4000 pounds of grass. I probably add a few hundred pounds of maple, ash & oak leaves to that in the fall.
I've been doing this since 1986 [with a couple years off for illness]. The previous owner had a garden on this spot since the 50's at least & he said he took most of the clippings from his side-business [he and his sons mowed a few lawns] and turned them directly into the soil.
Still, there is just a very subtle difference between my garden and the mason's sand that I order from the concrete vendor.

A least I don't often have heat problems. Upstate NY--- usually my neighbors complain about cold & wet ruining their gardens. [most of the county is clay-- my garden is an oddity] The sand works well for cold & wet.

I should try to grow more of them. My kids like broccoli & cabbage.
My biggest weeds are purslane, lamb's quarters and garlic mustard. When the purslane starts disappearing I know I'm making some headway--- but it usually comes back with vigor in a couple years. [at least it's tastey] The garlic mustard [a brassicaceae] does indeed persist anywhere I neglect for more than a couple weeks.
Jim
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I live south of Tampa and for years tried to have a decent garden. Composted everything I could find in the neighborhood and after 10 years, nothing changed. A lot of near pure sand full of root knot nematodes.
After vapam was pulled from the market, the nematodes always won.
I started expirmenting with hydroponics and today after 20 years of learning, I have an abundance of vegetables year around. Hydroponics has it's own problems, but it eliminates most of the problems of growing in this sandy nematode filled soil.
Norm
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On 11/16/04 8:58 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@pghconnect.com, "Norm

Composting everything in the neighborhood for ten years and still a "lot of near pure sand...". I don't think you live south of Tampa I think you must live on the Sahara desert. Bill
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Or on a giant sandbar...
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Maybe it was the Vapam that helps create sand?
I'm trying to keep this simple and unwordy so discard this line and read on...
Cucumbers do grow in "amended" sand. They prefer shade here in Florida, and if put in direct sunlight, they will grow if watered daily. It doesn't seem to take much to make the sand healthy for cucumbers. A good bunch of dead dried leaves, some dead dried branches, and most importantly, some a banana peel added monthly or less. <g>
I don't seem to be having a problem right at the moment with instant sand. I know the summer sun and vacant patches of "sand" which I'm working (mixing leaves into) will get over the problem of sand, as well as adding some more of the 1-2-1 fertilizer. That seemed to work pretty good with only one application in the spring.
I'm going to turn the discussion around right now... I haven't started researching nematodes yet and I don't know what those are. They seemed to have been a problem for Norm Rohrabaugh.
2 IMPORTANT QUESTIONS ABOUT NEMATODES: What promotes a healthy nematode and what destroys a nematode? I don't even know what a nematode is right at the moment, I'm assuming it's a bug (beetle that attacks roots).
Maybe what's killing the cucumbers are root rot nematodes ? Nawh... the cucumber leaves were attacked and whatever infected the cucumbers started at the leaves... and it then worked its way from the leaves inward. I'm assuming the whiteflies did them in... There was a problem with silverleaf whiteflies... I can pretty much positively identify those are the ones that attacked the Yamato cucumbers. And there seemed to be whiteflies that attacked the MarketMore 76 cucumbers, the leaves didn't get the white looking lines (of poison?) running up gradually making the whole leaf pale.
The leaves on the Marketmore 76 cucumbers died and once the leaves died, the vine itself started dying, starting from the outermost part going back down to the roots. I'm thinking that is from a lack of leaves now, rather than a poison running back to the roots. The base stills seems to be okay, but it is definitely NOT growing any new leaves or stems... so my lack of a full understanding on what whiteflies do is slowing my resolution in this matter... as well as the fact that coffee grounds DO seem to be a problem for cucumbers... but perhaps there's something in coffee grounds that promote a very healthy whitefly and attracts whiteflies? I'm thinking along the lines that coffee grounds might be beneficial for cucumbers if there are no whiteflies around? This is all hypthetical stabs in the dark though... but perhaps someone out there might be help out...
I'm not sure I need to pursue the root rot nematode thing at the moment... I'm 90% convinced that it was whiteflies.
ASIAN LADYBUGS, CUCUMBER BEETLES, and WHITEFLIES... But that brings me back to the Asian ladybugs, they are benificial, right? They seemed to be attacking the whiteflies. But they do also look like cucumber beetles. So I guess I need to seperate the Asian ladybugs from the cucumber beetles visually in the next attempt.
I've already started another set of cucumber vines. I'm hoping I can get the Yamato variety to fruit this time. I'll be spraying the undersides of the leaves daily to get rid of all whiteflies and whatever else attacks the undersides.
DISH DETERGENT ??? I've positively identified that spraying water works very well in this manner. I've also identified that spraying dish detergent does not "seem" to present a problem. I tried it over the summer on the Yamato cucumber vines (those are the ones that never fruited). So I'll just stick with water this time, :-), unless someone has already done some research on the effects of dish detergent... (the bottled variety that you use to clean dishes in sinks, NOT the stuff people stick in a dish washer).
There's a lot of stuff here and I hope I've presented it very clearly... and alot of it are just throwing ideas up in the air for people to add onto. There are quite a few issues involved so if folks reply, I'm asking that the replies at least start with the question that was asked that is being answered... then perhaps leave the unanswered and relavent questions after your signature, or inline with comments that you don't know the answer and/or a suggestion. Thanks!
-- Jim Carlock Post replies to newsgroup.
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I'm not much on "Sand farming", but have been around farming for most of my 70 years.
Okay, the Root Knot Nematodes--Pull up one of your dead vines- -if the roots has tiny small knots on them--you have a nematode problem.
The leaves turning white and dying- -Could be a lack of trace minerals necessary for making Chlorophyll - -could be PH of your soil.(sand).
My recommendation is- -give them a little shot of MiracleGrow, and watch them grow.
Oh yes, some Cucumbers require polination(Honey bees) to produce- -while others don't. Have a good garden- -We are winter bound here!
On Thu, 25 Nov 2004 20:05:27 GMT, "Jim Carlock"

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