The local nursury is selling compost. $23/yard vs $20/yard for loam. Their
loam is way to rocky. I am building raised beds. Will a raised bed of
compost have enough structure for growing large shrubs?
I know this sounds like a crazy question, but this stuff is so light and
fluffy. Really nice though.
that would be good for raised beds, if i used it i'd probably want to
pack it down a littel so it wasn't so loosed.
but ther may be more economical stuff around?
1.. that composted waste they create and refuse/garbage tips etc.,. in
lots of places they give that to local people.
2.. mushroom compost straight from the farm, lots of retailers around
but if you have a farm within driving distance some often give it away
and others have a small charge.
see our site for pic's of how we do our gardens.
With peace and brightest of blessings,
len & bev
"Be Content With What You Have And
May You Find Serenity and Tranquillity In
A World That You May Not Understand."
Unless the bed is raised 3-4 feet above the natural grade, you will
create problems using only compost. What you should do is dig down
inside the bed to a depth of at least 4 feet from the top of the
expected planting level. Break up the clods; a four-prong "potato hook"
cultivator is excellent for this. Then mix the compost with the native
soil, using enough compost so the result comes to the top of the raised
bed when packed down firmly. Use a spading fork for mixing. (Don't use
a pitchfork, which is likely to break.) While mixing, include some
phosphorous (bone meal or superphosphate); phosphorus does not leach
through the soil and must be placed where roots will find it.
The result will be a soil mix that does not inhibit shrub roots from
growing beyond, into the native soil.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
18" might be okay for annuals and perennials. Even then, tomato roots
might go 6 feet down in good soil.
For woody shrubs, root might easily grow to a depth equal to the height
of top growth.
Note also that I said "from the top of the expected planting level". If
the bed is 2 feet above the natural soil, then you have to dig down into
the natural soil only 2 feet.
If you have a good mix of compost and natural soil in the RAISED bed
that totals 4 feet, then roots are very likely to grow even deeper than
the soil was prepared. If you have no mix at all, the roots will be
reluctant to grow beyond the compost. Compost by itself is too friable
to provide a good anchoring of a shrub.
Just a followup...
The stuff was just too light. Therefore, I did a mix of about 1/2 soil to
1/2 compost. Probably more soil near the bottom of the hole. That seems to
set the plant better. Then I top dressed around the plant with all compost.
Lots of transplants. Lets hope they take. Thanks for your time.
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