rotavator or top soil

I have a very large garden, that needs tidying up. its basically a base. with bit of rubble.
Im not sure if i should rotavate it or throw top soil on.
Any one any ideas?
Fiona
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fi0n4


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On Thu, 11 Feb 2010 08:13:56 -0500, fi0n4

To me "rubble" means rocks, stones, and other non-biodegradable trash... I'd haul all that rubble out first... and if you have to ask you're much too lazy for gardening.
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fi0n4 wrote:

Don't worry about him. He needs to take the most caustic way of saying anything, it's his problem nothing to do with you.
David
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I would just build a raised bed and research square foot gardening.
Rich
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fi0n4 wrote:

You don't tell us much. There is not to be gaioned by simply churning up rubble if that is all there is. How do you know what is under the surface? Have you been all around and dug holes to see? You might be surprised if you haven't.
The nature of the base and the rubble are important, as is the size of the plot, your budget and your hopes. "Large" garden could be 1/10 th of an acre or 10 acres depending on your background. What is growing there now? What do you want to do there? How much time and money can you afford to put into this?
David
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"> I have a very large garden, that needs tidying up. its basically a base.

Til it up good! mix in some air, nutrients, fertilizer, and enough bags of a good topsoil to cover the whole area at least a couple of inches. Your work will be worth the effort if you put the time in now.
Donna in WA zone 8/9
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Consider Cover crops.
<http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/covercrop.html
Bill
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Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA


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Bill who putters wrote:

Consider raking out the "rubble" or it's all just a waste of time, effort, and expense... no matter you bury rubble it'll keep working its way to the surface, and that the soil is tilled/loosened much faster... after the first year you'll be right back where you started, only worse.
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Lelandite wrote:

I don't see that there is enough information to suggest that. There are situations which fit the description where that would be a waste of effort.
David
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She states she has a "base". I'd still go for the works. My gardens have always liked the little extra's I give them....both flower and veggie. You should see my bosenberries right now....can't wait until summer.
Donna in WA
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I just ask that you look at 3 web sites.
(1) http://www.plantea.com/no-tilling.htm You may want to look at Lowenfels book: "Teaming with Microbes" <(Amazon.com product link shortened) 5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid66037779&sr=1-1> and probably available at your local library.
(2) http://www.mdvaden.com/double_digging.shtml The first, and last, dig isn't necessary, but it speeds things up dramatically. (see below)
(3) http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/1999-04-01/Lasagna-Garde ning.aspx
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the link did not work.
(2)

My "soil" is sand. A neighbor dug down 8 feet to put in his septic tank....still 100 % sand. I used a mini tiller for both my flower and veggie gardens: 1st to turn over the soil and to get it loosen to the depth I needed (then was the time to pull out any rocks/rubbage/garbage prior owners threw out). Then I supplimented with bags of chicken manure with a topping of loam. True, tiller's are not always necessary but why not use one instead of one's back? And I'm wondering just when God may call back this land I'm living on. The rubbage also contained clams shells.
(3)

actually kinda of wishywashy on the subject and I expect more then that from MotherEarthNews. But I'm sure the author of the article was still paid the same even if it had been a substantial reading. I've found that their magazine has gone done in substance, value and inspiration since the 70's.
One thing I did do last Fall: I asked my neighbor if I could rake up all his huge maple leaves. After he got up off the ground from the shook, he told me I could rake all I wanted. Dumped literally loads of the dead leaves on my flower garden. Then asked another neighbor down the road if she could spare a couple wheel barrels of road apples. Heck, she loaded the barrels up and delivered she was so happy to find a local place to dump.
The road apples went on top of the leaves. From the flowers I see just now waking up, they're happy. The garden still needs work but that will come at a later date. I have about 200 little flower seedlings just waiting for it to warm up past the danger zone of frost.
Donna in WA

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5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid66037779&sr=1-1>
That's odd. I don't know which link that you are referring to, but I just pasted both of them in, and they both work fine for me. Sometimes computers smell fear, and they won't cooperate.
Check with your local library, where you can peruse the book.

Since you have sandy soil, you may want to add some clay to it (to slow the leakage and bind nutrients) along with organic matter. If you are near the ocean, get some seaweed too.

I hope you can manage that.

weeds, an annual application of manure and leaves, as you are already doing, and maintaining the mulch in your garden at 2 or 3 inches, you are lasagna (no dig) gardening, just as they said at that horrible website.
I've been gardening like this for the last 4 years, because it is easier on an old man than digging or using power equipment. YMMV

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reference http://organicgreenfingers.com/questions/39/how-do-i-start-organic-gardening
What about 16 foot gardening. When we are done we will have a 4X4 foot raised bed.
Soil:
If you live in a new house the your grass is probably planted into a thin layer of poor topsoil over a thicker layer builders rubble like mine was. If you have good soil then you can count yourself lucky and plans straight into the soil, having first removed the grass. This answer is for those with the bad soil! If you have bad soil then it makes sense to make a raised bed. It helps with drainage and allows you to bring in some good soil without trying to improve the whole garden.
The materials:
Around where I live the builders suppliers and diy shops sell pressure treated 8X2 inch boards in 8 foot lengths. Check that the treatment is not harmful before buying and then buy two. Also grab a length of pressure treated 2X2, some galvanised 4 inch nails and some steel 4 inch screws. You will also need some compost for this job. Get as much as you can up to about 10 cubic feet (300 litres). See if you can source rotten farm manure, spent mushroom compost, council compost. If you have no alternative You will have to buy some bags at the garden center. Buy soil enhancer and compost, about half and half. Either way if you have very heavy soil prone to waterlogging then add a couple of bags of horticultural grit or sand. If they want to charge for delivery just ask if they can drop it off when they are passing they will probably deliver this lot for free, especially if you are not in a hurry for delivery. .
A site for the bed:
Now choose the position for the bed. It should be in sunlight for most of the day. Try to have it near a water source. You might want to hide it away at the back of the garden or show it off right at your back window.
The frame or raised bed:
Measure carefully and cut the two 2X8 boards in half making sure the cut is square. You can normally use the back of your saw to do this marking. Cut the 2x2 board into 8 pieces about a foot long by making angled cuts. You will be driving these into the ground so hence the angle! Lay out the boards on their narrow edges to make a square frame overlapping the end of each piece over the next. Nail together by nailing into the ends. This frame is about 4 X 4 feet. Move the frame to its position and leave it there for a day or two. Review the siting carefully and invite other interested parties to do so also. It will be harder to move quite soon.
Put the frame in place permanently:
Take the pieces of 2X2 which we are using like pegs and drive into the ground inside the corners of the frame. Leave a few inches sticking out and then drive two screws through each one into the frame. Drive one screw into one piece of the frame and then one at 90 degrees from into the other. Do this from the inside. You can use one peg in the middle of each side also for extra strength.
Digging:
Now the next bit is optional but I recommend it. Start by skimming off a thin layer of sod the width of the spade across your square and then dig up about down to the depth of the spade and move this away temporarily. Start the next trench by skimming off the next line of sod and turn upside down in the first trench. Cut each sod into quarters with the spade. Put about 5 inches of compost or so on top of the upside down sod in the trench . Now dig the next trench down to a spades depth and dump into the first trench on top of the compost. Use a fork to break the soil up and mix slightly with the compost. Continue until you get to the end and use the stuff you took away at the start to fill in the last trench. You should have some compost left! If youre not digging you can just pour the compost into the frame but this isnt ideal.
Sheet mulch:
As a sheet mulch put a layer of old cardboard boxes flattened out carefully on top of the soil/compost in the frame. You can use newspaper and to help it stay down you can put down a piece and then wet it. About a layer of half a newspaper is enough. Put an inch or two of compost over the sheet mulch. The sheet mulch will keep down weeds and rot away in about a year.
Planting:
If you can get a bed like this ready in the autumn or winter and leave until spring then you will be ready for planting but I think that might be another question or three!
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well, if I'm doing everything right without the benefits of reading your recommendations, what's there to complain about? I'm a long long time get-my-hands-dirty gardener. At least 50 years of sowing & reaping and sharing my goods.
I'm an old woman but the new (small scale) machines are so much fun to use. I'd hate to think something new would stop me from trying it! That day hasn't arrived yet.
Yours in bountiful yeild,
Donna in WA

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