I had a bad garden my first year this year.I think my land has to much clay
and rock.So i tilled it up yesterday for next year and i want to dump on a
load of top soil on it this sat. for next year.I heard alot of different
ways to make it better next year.One told me to put leafs down before i put
the top soil on.I'd like more advice if someone could help me. Most things i
read say i need nitrogen,phosphorus, and potassium, So how can i get all of
these three to put on my garden for next year.By the way i'm in wisconsin.
Cold weather is on the way and another month it will be freezing. So please
someone help me out.
You don't need expensive chemicals. Most of the phosphorous people
pay big $ for and dump on their lawns just runs off in the rain and
goes in the nearest body of water. Here in NJ Lake Hopatcong (NJ's
largest lake) has to pay big tax $$$ and buy special "de-weeding
boats" because 1 pound of phosphorous runoff from well-manicured lawns
makes something like 10,000 lbs of weeds. At that rate the lake would
become a meadow within about 1-2 decades. And a couple weeks ago a
big smelly blob in Egg Harbor township waters in the southern part of
the state turned out to be caused by runoff from people's lawn
Anyhow, I have the same type of soil...granite and clay. Luckily the
rocks aren't mammoth size so I dig em up and they make good walls or
even solid raised bed borders. Im able to get about 12-16 inches down
before rock removal (and thick orange clay) becomes too daunting. I
also mix in compost from my kitchen (vegetable+fruit scraps, coffee
grinds, used tea bags & brown paper). Old sunflower stalks and scraps
from the previous season are also dug under. In autumn I shred & bag
the leaves with the lawn mower and dump 6-12 inches of shredded leaf
& grass compost on top of the garden. Wood ashes from the fireplace
are put over the garden in winter, so the snow is darker and absorbs
more heat. I also have very acidic trees around the area, so the
ashes and shredded leaves slightly cancel each other out.
It will take one or two more years but your garden will be an
extremely good one, with all the required nutrients.
The "putting leafs down first" under the load of topsoil could do a lot.
What would've been better, during the tilling phase, would've been to have
worked quality compost, or cheap woodshavings or peat or leaves or other
organic matter, deep into the soil. If the topsoil you add does not have
much organic matter in it (& all too often what gets delivered as
"topsoil" is only sterile fill-dirt lacking in organic matter) you may
still have mediocre soil when all is said & done. So if the topsoil is low
in organic matter, mix it liberally with peat, compost, leaves, or a fine
grade of woodshavings, or all of the above -- if you're near the woods, go
get bags & bags of fallen leaves & mix those in. If you can get to a
rabbit or llama farm, their poo is not too nasty & can be added to the
soil to compost in situ, especially if you won't be planting in it much
When the topsoil (mixed with organic material) is spread out, you should
lastly thinly topcoat with steer manure (composted) -- I stay steer manure
only because it which is the cheapest commercial compost, it could be any
compost. Then when you're planting stuff, every hole you dig for every
plant should have a lion's portion of a quality compost mixed in, & be
sure to make every hole larger than necessary so you can really get the
organic content mixed around each spot very well. Chances are this will be
so successful for future plantings you won't need artificial fertilizers
at all. Using all those chemicals won't be nearly as good as enriching
the organic content of the soil, as soil "manufacturers" its own nitrogens
from organic content thanks to the actions of microorganisms that live
most numerously in loamy moist soils. So a soil with good organic mix in
it rarely needs nitrogen fertilizer, & I tend to use (if any fertilizers
at all) the low-nitrogen types for woody shrubs & evergreens.
A lot of commercial gardening advice is to add all those chemicals because
commercial advice is oriented toward encouraging dollars to be spent on
products. In reality, it's bags of chemicals are not the best way to
restore or maintain soils. Use a mulch mower to not be carting away
nutrients in grass clippings, let autumn leaves turn to leaf mold in the
gardens, do an annual thin topcoating of composted manure or whatever
you've composted yourself from garden rubble, & you'll be shocked how
little fertilizer is ever called for. If you harvest fruit or veggies &
toss clippings, more fertilizer will be needed than if everything is
recycled back into the gardens.
There are by the way many sorts of plants such as cotoneasters &
manzanitas that do surprisingly well in poor soils & even help bond
nitrogen to the soil improving it by their presence. If there are some
areas you didn't get round to plowing & enriching, working with plants
suited ot harsh soils can also have a good outcome in those locations.
-paghat the ratgirl
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
compost compost compost :)
you could try course vermiculate and/or some peat moss....not sure of the
size...but you are best off staying in the organic world....it doesn't yeild
the big hug crops first thing (like chemicals will) but time pays off and
you can have an absolutley GORGEOUS garden in a few years that is WAY more
healthy....next its time for heirlooms :)
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.