Making topsoil

I have a load of dirt. It is probably fairly sterile; that is, not too much humus in it.
I want to convert it into topsoil. What I have done in the past is to add peat moss and manure. This seems to work OK, but I'm sure there are better options..
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
(There used to be an active gardening newsgroup. What happened to it?)
Thanks, Gary
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start a compost pile, add grass clipings leaves etc, mix in dirt and add some water and stir occasionally.
or just pile it all up and leave sit for a few years.......
either way nice rich topsoil will be your reward.
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Just add organic matter like grass clippings and leaves, it will degrade by itself, you need to test it to determine if its to much clay or sand, google how to do it. Its simple like getting it wet and see how it clumps for clay and draining for sand. But you cant go wrong adding more yard waste to uping the organic matter content. Grass clippings dry out so you wont be adding nearly as much matter as you think, leaves I would do by weight , adding 20-30 % by weight will help any soil, since grass can dry out maybe 50% you could add by weight since it will dry out. Google on how to test and ammend soil, there are specific recomendations for different problems, but you realyycant addd to much organic matter for gardens. I know one nursery for shade plants that has all it plants in just clippings and chipped trees, it all turns to dirt rapidly.
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On Sat, 30 Oct 2010 19:25:37 -0700, G Mulcaster
-snip-

rec.gardens seems to suffering from a lot of spam- but you can help it with some on topic stuff. a few folks are still there. [ rec.gardens.edible seems in the same shape]
Jim
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G Mulcaster wrote:

Well there's still alt.home.lawn.garden, although it isn't as busy as this group.
Jon
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I have a long counter that gathers junk, in front of large windows facing east and under a huge fluorescent shop light. Good place to grow plants, right? Is it feasible (and reasonable) to swap out the ballast and tubes in the shop light to turn it into a grow light? Or should I just get rid of the fluorescent light and replace the whole thing with a purpose made grow light?
If starting from scratch, what would you use?
    Una
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Oops, wrong thread and can't cancel my own post either. Please don't reply in this thread; I started a new thread.
    Una
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snipped-for-privacy@att.net (Una) wrote in

Well, wrong thread or not, if the tubes are compatible with the fixture and ballast, they'll work. Why buy a whole new fixture?
--
Best regards
Han
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On Sat, 30 Oct 2010 19:25:37 -0700, G Mulcaster

Thanks all for the helpful responses. Regards, Gary
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