Using Compost without Soil?

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snipped-for-privacy@leavethisoutblueyonder.co.uk wrote:

Point taken. Good lurking ;O)
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- Billy
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You can vastly improve that clay soil by growing rye and buckwheat on it. Afterwards, include legumes or clover for nitrogen. Look for seed mixes called "Green Manure".
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- Billy
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On 2010-04-30, Naga Jolokia wrote:

That clay needs lots and lots and lots of peat moss.
--
Bud

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Can you explain why that is? Peat moss is expensive, and only produces short term water adsorption, which, with clay soil, isn't a problem.
It would be better for Naga to save his money and look at this site: <http://gardening.about.com/od/soil/a/GardenSoil.htm
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- Billy
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On 2010-04-30, Billy wrote:

I looked, and so what? There is still a need to loosen the clay. Start with a 3-4 inch layer of sand, add peat and if the soil is clay, it needs at least 4-8 inches of peat moss. Use spading fork to get a real work out or the easy way, a tiller. Go deep. Add compost on top, if ya got it or as you say there are winter cover crops, I'd prefer clover to add nitrogen and then plant what ever you want to grow and produce some edible crops. You can grow some beans and peas to increase nitrogen content in one area and then put corn in the next year. Gardening is not a one time project, it takes a few years to get the soil you want. And it is organic soil. Yeah, one does notice the difference in taste.
There is nothing like getting ones hands in the dirt. Now I can't but the several years I did, there is nothing like sitting in the garden and watching what is going on with the insects ane how they interact with the plants.
--
Bud

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A damn fine answer, . . . to a different question.
On 4/29/10 8:58 AM, Naga Jolokia wrote: Hi all,
Is it alright to use compost straight without mixing it with soil or other additives? I plan to fill up some raised beds with cheap compost that I can get from a local recycle center.
Thanks.
The above is the question that Naga wants answered. He has clay soil, but is going to use raised beds. K?
By this time, I suspect he has both hands over his head, and is running off into the bush, to escape the crazy people.
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- Billy
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On 5/1/2010 1:21 PM, Billy wrote:

Hi everyone,
I actually learn a lot from these answers.
I just got the first yard of compost today. Perhaps at least 5 more loads during next week.
http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/LUESA/Solid+Waste/Compost-Yard+Waste/Home.htm
At about $25 a yard--more like three yards--to me, it's quite a much better deal than the bagged stuff from Home Depot.
The stuff looks marvelous. It's all black with small pieces of partially composted wood chips. I think that would help a lot with the drainage but I am quite sure that without added sand, this stuff is going to retain water for a much longer period. I initially plan to add only sand to improve drainage, now per your suggestions, I think I have to mix in some clay to help the stuff binding together.
My next question.
I need to redo the lawn. Currently, my lawn is really not a lawn at all. It's mostly bared, hard clay soil with weeds and a few strains of grass. It looks quite terrible. From my understanding, the grass roots can't penetrate the clay and also that the water can't get down to the soil deep enough to support the grass.
I plan to put a layer of compost mixed with screened fill dirt on top of the clay.
My question is: How thick the new layer of soil should be to support the grass and retain water for a reasonable period? I am looking for the minimum thickness, not the optimal one, for the obvious reason of cost. The question can be asked in another form: how deep the root of the grass normally reach down into the soil?
Many thanks for your suggestions and help.
Naga
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Gaia's Garden, Second Edition: A Guide To Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway (Amazon.com product link shortened) 580298/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid71266976&sr=1-1
p.27 Our love of tidy but not very diverse yards is imprinted on us by our culture. The immaculate lawn, under siege from ecological writers every- where, developed in the mild and evenly moist climate of Great Britain. Its implications are deeply woven into our psyche. A lawn in preindustrial times trumpeted to all that the owner possessed enough wealth to use some land for sheer ornament, instead of planting all of it to food crops.
And close-mowed grass proclaimed affluence, too: a herd of sheep large enough to crop the lawn uniformly short. These indicators of status whis- per to us down the centuries. By consciously recog- nizing the influence of this history, we can free ourselves of it and let go of the reflexive impulse to roll sod over the entire landscape. ------
Before you plant your lawn, you might consider more of park type setting with edible landscape.
Otherwise, I'm sure someone will be along shortly to tell you about lawns.
I hope, whatever you do, you do it organically.
--
- Billy
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On 2010-05-02, Naga Jolokia wrote:

Use some gypsum to loosen that clay soil along with your thin layer of compost each year.
--
Bud

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Bud wrote:

There are much better; that is cheaper and more effective ways to deal with clay than by adding peat moss unless you are filling something the size of a hanging basket, in which case you didn' t need to have the clay.
David
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yes, provided as other people have said it is from a food grade growing source, it will work fine as a growing medium.
Whether it is the best thing to use. Well, what is the perfect soil anyhow.
If you make a raised lasanga garden you can pack it with partially composted or even uncomposted material provided you have a few inchs of soil or fine compost on top as a planting bed.
If that is what you have to use, use it. If you choose to mix some soil into it, that'll work as well.
As a new gardener I fretted for some months as to whether the raised bed I had filled with composted horse poop would be any good for growing. Eventually in spring the crops came up and said to me 'relax son, we'll grow ok here'.
Rob
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Naga Jolokia;885602 Wrote: > Hi all,

>

Compost soil is very rich soil and used for many purposes but it is much better if you put soil in it .. Composting is only a simple way to add nutrient-rich humus which fuels plant growth and restores vitality to depleted soil. .
--
ezylala


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