I live on a sand dune. That is, what ain't lava boulders. Nice southern
Utah sandstone sand. I want to plant some melons by some of the tree rings
where they seep out. Lots of regular water, but little nutrients.
Question: Where I plant, should I till out a cavity and put in peat moss
and other bagged amendments? Locals here say melons grow fine on sand, but
I'd guess you'd have to at least add some fertilizer.
I live right down the road from you, and I had some luck with making small
mounds of old leaves and grass, covering that well with commercial soil, and
just planting in that. The soil helps the seed to sprout, and as the
organic stuff underneath rots, the roots go down and eat up all those good
nutrients. By the time they hit the clay underneath they were so strong
they could make it in anything. I used drip irrigation to keep the water
right at the roots.
Add as much organic matter as you can get hands on, preferably already
rotted. Melons are heavy feeders AND need some water retention in the soil
as otherwise they will wilt excessively on hot days even with regular
watering. Peat most is a very expensive way to do this. I would use lots
of horse (or cow) manure plus compost if available plus some chicken manure
and also lime if the soil was very acid. A cavity will be useless as a well
grown melon will send out roots well beyond that. Mulch the surface well
and plant through it.
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