soil or compost

would I be able to use compost instead of packaged soil for my garden? would a combination be better? just trying to cut down on cost.
--
ackeiyword


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Gardening with potting soil? That would be expensive.
You're garden soil shouldn't be more than 10%, or less than 5% organic material.
Garden soil should be 30% - 40% sand, 30% - 40% silt, and 20% - 30% clay. You can check your soil by scraping away the organic material on top of the ground and then take a vertical sample of your soil to 12 in. (30 cm) deep (rectangular or circular hole). Mix this with water in an appropriately large glass (transparent) jar. The sand will settle out quickly, the silt in a couple of hours, and the clay within a day. The depth of the layer in relationship to the total (layer/total = % of composition) is the percent that fraction has in the soil.
Garden soil needs a constant input of nutrients, i.e. carbon, e.g. brown leaves, and nitrogen, e.g. manure in a ratio of C/N of 25. This is the same ratio you will what in a compost pile. -----
Let it Rot!: The Gardener's Guide to Composting (Third Edition) (Storey's Down-to-Earth Guides) by Stu Campbell
<(Amazon.com product link shortened)94901182&sr=1-1>
p.39
Compostable Material Average C/N
Alder or ash leaves ............................ 25
Grass clippings ................................ 25
Leguminous plants (peas, beans,soybeans) ............................. 15
Manure with bedding ........................... 23
Manure ....................................... 15
Oak leaves .................................... 50
Pine needles .............................. 60-100
Sawdust................................. 150-500
Straw, cornstalks and cobs .................. 50-100
Vegetable trimmings ........................... 25 Aged Chicken Manure  ........................  7 Alfalfa ................................................ 12 Newspaper........................................ 175 -----
http://www.composting101.com/c-n-ratio.html
A Balancing Act (Carbon-to-Nitrogen Ratios)
All organic matter is made up of substantial amounts of carbon (C) combined with lesser amounts of nitrogen (N). The balance of these two elements in an organism is called the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio (C:N ratio). For best performance, the compost pile, or more to the point the composting microorganisms, require the correct proportion of carbon for energy and nitrogen for protein production. Scientists (yes, there are compost scientists) have determined that the fastest way to produce fertile, sweet-smelling compost is to maintain a C:N ratio somewhere around 25 to 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen, or 25-30:1. If the C:N ratio is too high (excess carbon), decomposition slows down. If the C:N ratio is too low (excess nitrogen) you will end up with a stinky pile. (cont.) ------
No reason to till after the first preparation of the garden (no reason to till the first/last time but it does speed up soil development). Spread out your soil amendments: € N: € 18.37 lb. chicken manure/ 100 sq.ft. (2.88 oz/sq.ft.) € € P: € 3 lb. / 100/sq.ft. (.48 oz/sq.ft.) € € K: € How much wood ash should you use in your garden? The late Bernard G. Wesenberg, a former Washington State University Extension horticulturist, recommended using one gallon of ashes per square yard on loam to clay-loam soil, and half as much on sandier soils.
Cover this with newspaper (to block light from weeds and provide a barrier to sprouting weeds). Cover the newspaper with mulch (up to 6" in depth). Spray the garden bed with water, and wait 6 weeks before planting (if you can).
A dibble can help with planting. The dinky little ones from the nursery may be of some help, but I prefer a sharpened, old, shovel handle for making a hole through the mulch and paper for planting seedlings.
Adding drip lines takes a little time, but saves a lot of time during the season.
That's all I know.
Good luck.
--
- Billy
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In article

€ Manure Chicken Diary cow Horse Steer Rabbit € N 1.1 .257 .70 .70 2.4 € P .80 .15 .30 .30 1.4 € K .50 .25 .60 .40 .60 € Sheep Alfalfa Fish Emulsion € N .70 3 5 € P .30 1 1 € K .90 2 1
€ Sources: Rodale's All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, An Illustrated Guide to Organic Gardening, by Sunset Publishing, and the Rodale Guide to Composting. €
--
- Billy
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ackeiyword wrote:

Packaged soil is the most expensive way to get good soil. It is much cheaper to either have it delivered by truck in bulk (quicker) or to build you own soil in situ by improving what you have with compost and other amendments (cheaper but longer). The amendments you need depend on what you start with.
David
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I notice on Craigslist (tfui!) that people are always advertising what they call "clean, no weeds" soil FREE, u-haul.
Anybody ever done that?
BTW - I endorse the previous posts in which they point out that nursery potted soil is not sufficient; needs to be mixed with some honest earth and modifiers.
HB
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Higgs Boson wrote:

Around here this is often described as "clean fill". Typically it is from an excavation (and contains much subsoil) and the originator wants to get rid of it without paying a fee for transport and dumping. The content depends entirely on where is was dug from, it can vary from soil to sand/clay/rubble/stones mixtures. Generally it is used by those who want to build up an area and the content is not important provided that it will compact and stabilise. You would be lucky to score good growing soil this way but check it out as it isn't impossible.
David
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Mulcher25;910859 Wrote: > I'm not sure on thr pricing off soil or compost. However my answer to > you`re question would be. What do you want the soil/compost for. Because > if you need the soil/ compost for building up levels then your probably > best checking prices, but if you are after imrpoving your gardens > fertilty then i would suggest growing green manure, which can be brought > as seeds very cheapy and they will improve the soil so much , if you > were to grow a spring mix then you could turn it over in early summer > and leave the green manure to feed the Earth, and if you did want colour > this season there are plants which grow in poor soils very easliy. So > perpahps you could combine both. Improve a patch and grow plants that > like poor soil in another patch. It is what im doing in my garden this > year
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'David Hare-Scott[_2_ Wrote: > ;910688']ackeiyword wrote:-

> build

> you

I agree with David. To get good soil at a decent price, it is cheaper to buy it in bulk and have it delivered. It is a little bit messier but you can use the dirt for several different areas too. I had soil delivered to my house this last summer for some landscaping. We had soil leftover to use the soil in our 'plant containers' (http://www.newprocontainers.com /) and were able to use them around our house. I definitely recommend that you buy soil in bulk.
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Mulcher25


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Only thing I'd worry about is if the soil came from a "Super Fund" site <http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/index.htm> or from the site of an old military base, industrial site, or gas station.
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