I just watched a video:
Watch This BEFORE Buying Garden Soil for Vegetable Patch
He makes the point that you have to add organic material
even to the best imported soil. He makes his point at
9:00 on the video.
What is the best way to get this kind of stuff into
my ground pots? Can I buy a bag of this stuff on
Amazon? What is it called?
The stuff he had was from down under.
you can buy bagged compost at many garden
centers. it is often composted cow manure
or composted chicken manure added to perhaps
some other fillers.
most composted cow manure is very poor in
terms of nutrients, but yes, it is an organic
material and can be useful in a garden if you
have poor/heavy soil.
study composting and how to do it and i've
often mentioned ways of getting organic materials
for free or low cost here.
as a side note, i hate raised beds as he's
done there. huge expense and added labor.
you can also tell that he is in a pretty
wet climate, which is not the same as where
you are at. raised beds in arid climates
are asking for baked and too dry roots and
more moisture loss from the breezes.
if you want to see what arid alkaline soils
can do with compost check out the greening
the dessert (search on that phrase on youtube
and you'll find some videos about that). i've
been watching them from the start.
Horse manure is really great stuff if you can get it. Maybe check with
a nearby stable or agricultural college; any place that keeps horses is
invariably generating "horsepucky" and may well be happy to give it away
for free. Alpaca or lama manure might also be good but I can't say for sure.
An organic farmer once cautioned on using stuff from a stable because it
may contain considerable pesticide used to keep flies down there.
Where I live there are a lot of mushroom houses and depleted mushroom
soil is available. The only concern is weed seeds.
We have a flock of sheep and don't use pesticides in the barn, so we have a good supply of sheep manure. In fact, we're going to shovel out the sheep barn in November to throw on the garden. Then again before the annual shearing in May.
There are a lot of mushroom houses across the state line in PA but we haven't tried any of them yet.
I built a three-bin compost system some years ago. Each bin is 4 feet wide, 6 feet deep, and 8 feet high. We fill one with weeds each summer and rotate using them each year as they compost. Here's a picture:
if you can find some plain cardboard (usually places will
give it away for free) or newspapers you can put that down
first and then top with your mulch and that will do a great
job of smothering weeds for a while.
i much prefer it to using herbicides.
the problem with late fall application of manures is that
if there is any run off during the winter it can move those
extra nutrients into the surrounding water ways.
best to apply nutrients when plants are actively growing.
don't waste 'em! surface tilling in is better than leaving
them exposed (all the volatile components will dry off as
compared to the soil microbes being able to get at them).
I tried that on some little trees I am truing to get rid
of. First I cut them back to the ground. Then I placed
a big old piece of cardboard on top of them with a big
old rock to keep it in place. The SOB's just grew out
around the cardboard. These were 2' x 2' pieces
Next attempt, I am going to try to girdling the branches.
I really, really, really do not want to use round up on them.
Oh and they are completely immune to cussing at them!
Ya. I have heard the bad stuff can ruin your garden!
I will make sure and get something that has been hot
Seems to me that scat would be so full of grass seeds
that hot composting would be the only safe way.
I have tried burying table scraps, but it does not
What Happens When You Bury Kitchen Scraps in the Garden?
Did exactly as he said.
Could not figure out what those balls rolling around my
garden were. Then I realized it was avocado pits from
two years ago that worked their was out of the soil.
No wonder I have no worms!!!!
little trees coming back from seeds or coming up
from roots or what? is it a bush? do you know what
cardboard is cheap enough and it can always be
put down in bigger pieces and a few layers and
overlap the seams so light doesn't get through.
one thing nice about it though is that it is
also an organic material which will eventually
end up as worm/plant food. in your rocky soil
you might have a hard time burying what bits of
it are left, but to keep them from blowing away
in one low spot here what i did was cover the
cardboard with chunks of bark that a friend gave
me from his firewood splitting. so it just looked
like a layer of bark being used as a mulch. after
the 2nd season i had to refresh the cardboard so
i did that, but that gave me four years of weed
free coverage for an area that was otherwise always
a lot of work to keep after all the weeds that
would sprout there. as a low spot any seeds from
the surrounding areas would get washed into there
or blown there.
recently we came into 550 engineering bricks so
we've covered the entire low area there with
landscape weed barrier and then put the bricks
down so i won't have to redo the cardboard any
more and we have a brick path from and to nowhere
but it is a good temporary spot to store and use
the bricks until we decide to do something else
if you're going through all that just cut them
off with some loppers. they work really well and
are not that expensive. i have a pair that i can
use to chop off branches up to three inches thick
and they don't need any electric power or anything
do use them, just a little muscle power. :) i
use them to keep any sprouting trees out of the
north hedge and to trim branches or to cut up
brush into smaller pieces. very handy. i use
them quite often as we have a lot of honeysuckle
bushes that can use trimming.
what you could be doing with them is letting
them grow and then cut them off and using that
organic matter as a top mulch to hold in moisture.
eventually they well break down and turn into
humus (in an arid climate that's going to take a
lot longer than here so you should get a few years
out of them).
around here pieces of wood laying on the ground
last several years. where they are weeds aren't -
ok, well weeds will grow around or through them in
places. i still like them left as larger pieces
instead of going through the effort of chipping
them (some people buy wood chippers to deal with
brush and leaves, but i want the organic materials
here to last as long as possible so i never have
chipped anything and don't want the added expense
and maintenance of yet another machine to deal
some chemicals are unaffected by hot composting.
an avocado pit is a big chunk of pretty hard
organic material so it takes some time to break
the other thing is that most gardeners have
more moisture and soil to work with to begin
with. in an arid climate things are going to
work much more slowly.
in a moist bucket with worms if you put a
fresh avocado seed in there it will sprout. i
dry mine out for a few months before putting
them in, or if you have a way to crush them or
cut them into pieces then they will turn into
humus faster, but i see no real reason to add
work to the process if i don't have to. i like
to keep things simple here. :)
they need moisture and organic matter and
enough depth to the soil to escape the heat
(if they are earthworms) in the middle of
the summer. for me it freezes solid here too
in the winter so they also like to get down
below the frost line if they can. if they
can't they'll hibernate or leave cocoons
behind for the next generation to continue
when the conditions improve again.
in the middle of a prolonged dry spell you
can dig down and find them curled up in little
balls waiting for the rains to return.
the common composting worms (the red wrigglers)
live near the surface and you may not even have
them in your area other than in some woodlands,
but then perhaps not if those woodlands are
isolated enough that they were never introduced
when i first started worm composting here it
was during a spring dry spell - i could not
find a single red wriggler even under logs or
at the bottoms of some of the ditches. so i
did use the belgian night-crawlers to get going
and they have done pretty well, but eventually
i did get some red wrigglers for the surface
layer of the worm buckets and i also found a
few other species of worms here to use in them
so i have around 4-6 species of worms in them
and around the property.
i like worms so when i come across a good
book or article about them i'll put it on the
reading list. :)
ide, 6 feet deep, and 8 feet high. We fill one with weeds each summer and r
otate using them each year as they compost. Here's a picture:
The bin is open to the air; the sides are woven field fencing and the remov
able doors in the front are metal mesh stapled to 2x4 frames. My wife, who
uses the compost, says that she does indeed get weed seeds in the home grow
n compost. However, every year we get a pickup truck load of compost which
does not contain any weed seeds at the county landfill for $10 . For starti
ng seeds, she fills the bottom 2/3 of the pot with the home brew, then make
s a sterile mix of county compost, peat moss, and perlite for the top third
. Any weed seeds in the bottom section die out before reaching the surface.