I live on top of some sand dunes. Southern Utah iron powder blowsand.
I know there are plants that love sandy soils, and some that love loamy
soils. Can someone give me some advice on planting directly into sandy
soils, really sandy. Or, I can mix it with whatever % of compost required.
I planted some watermelons this past summer. Nice spot. Sandy area.
Irrigation system. They didn't do well at all. I think probably I
Help on dealing with sandy gardens appreciated.
Ideal soils, from a fertility standpoint, are generally defined as
containing no more than 5% OM by weight or 10% by volume
Take a soil sample with surface organic material scraped
aside. Sample should be taken from a hole 8" to 12" deep (the material
from that hole is your sample). For organic analysis, the sample would
first need to be dried and weighed, then aerated and held at a temp
greater than 455F for several hours, and then reweighed.
If you put a similar sample in a large jar with water and shake your
sample until it forms a slurry, the sand will fall out after five min.
or so, the silt after 20 min., and the clay after 24 hours (descending
particle size). The height of each band in comparison to the total
sedimentation will give you the approximate composition of your soil.
Good soil will be 20 - 30% clay, 30-50% silt, 30 - 50% sand, and 5 - 10%
organic material. Amend soil appropriately.
No reason to till after the first preparation of the garden (no reason
to till the first/last time but it does speed up soil development).
Spread out your soil amendments:
18.37 lb. chicken manure/ 100 sq.ft. (2.88 oz/sq.ft.)
3 lb. / 100/sq.ft. (.48 oz/sq.ft.)
How much wood ash should you use in your garden? The late Bernard
G. Wesenberg, a former Washington State University Extension
horticulturist, recommended using one gallon of ashes per square
yard on loam to clay-loam soil, and half as much on sandier soils.
Keep garden well mulched (2" - 6").
If you have time to grow a cover crop, make it buckwheat, or rye,
because they produce a lot of roots (organic material) for your garden.
Don't use chemical fertilizers, because they will be washed away in
bah! humbug! :)
some plants grow great in straight organic compost or
high organic content soils. squash, tomatoes, potatoes,
melons to name a few.
the squash we had growing this past season were planted
on top of a heap of rotting wood that was layered with a
few inches of dirt between the layers. i was hoping for
mushrooms, but it turned out too weedy and Ma decided to
cover it with carpeting (several layers) to smother the
weeds and then we cut small holes through the carpeting
and planted squash. by the end of summer we had stems
over 3 inches across and plants ranging out 20-30ft from
the holes (this was obviously not a water limited planting).
a few of the other squash plants i grew were sited on
top of gardens where 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the area below
the plant was taken up by shredded wood or bark (down
several feet). at first they grew slowly, but as the
season went on they picked up and fruited well. we had a
cold/cloudy month of June so was it that which stopped
them from growing faster or the competition for nutrients
from the decaying organic material? i couldn't say for
sure, but they did fine and produced. that is all i can
ask of a garden plant.
cheers and etc. :) hope y'all aren't freezing...
The author of that page seems to have the impression that soil in
residential areas has been previously well prepared.
Maybe current construction does that, but not earlier (post WW2)
developments. The only really good soil I've had in a residential
development was around a house built in 1905. That lot was never
My soil (house built & lot scraped c1960) is clay with about one
inch of grass roots on top. The material in the roots might be
called topsoil, but that would be generous. Digging in the sod
gives reasonably good plant health for one season, maybe two. After
that, squat. (That was this year, large disappointment and small harvest.)
I can confirm that ground ivy loves the stuff. :-)
The old pile, that I was supposed to spread before the snow started,
is cacooned in the stuff.
12F this morning, predicting 4F tonight.
I'm ready for spring.
|Drew Lawson | If you're not part of the solution |
| | you're part of the precipitate. |
You seem to be in a cranky mood. Obviously, you're not a snow bird.
The OM guide line isn't mine, so I gave its provenance. Somewhere in her
writings, Ms. Chalker-Scott notes that when you have too much organic
material in the soil, it will pollute ground water in the same fashion
as chemical fertilizers, i.e. with the release of nutrients.
Yesterday, I was headed out to work when I found that the padlock on my
garage gates was frozen solid. Finally, I wrapped a tissue around it,
squirted some "guick start" on it, and stuck a match to it. A minute
later the lock was open, and my glove was on fire!(no damage) God, I
hate morning that I have to go out into. It's so cold here that the hot
air balloons have given up.
the new Kool Aid
more crinkly than cranky. like the tinman in Oz who
needed some oil after a rain.
it can, but remember that the OP is in upland somewhat
dry/arid climate. OM in the upper soil isn't too likely
to be leaching much of anything. more likely wind erosion
and sun baking off volatile compounds will be his losses.
oh man! i'll admit i am laughing, but still i'd hate
less sugar if you can find it, it's amazing what
people are paying for tea/sweetened tea at the stores.
this is the same stuff you can make yourself for pennies
on the gallon...
cheers and i hope the cold is only temporary for you
there. it sure isn't here. this winter started much
earlier than the previous two. looks like the propane
might just squeak by at one refill this winter.
If that is the major issue then I think that with high clay soils I could
afford more organic material as the clay will bind the soluble nutrients
better. The reasons that I don't use a really high proportion of organic
matter is that it is a waste. Overall I get the best outcome spreading it
I have had a pumpkin volunteer in the compost heap that I let go. It did
very well! The grass downslope from the heap is always overfertilised
anyway so there isn't much I can do about that. With 150m of pasture
between the gardens and the dam/creek/river I don't think much is going to
escape into waterways. Unlike those who apply chicken litter often to their
pasture my dam does not have an algal or water-weed bloom.
Happy Solstice to pro-, and antipodeans everywhere.
Finding myself out of harness for a couple of days, I want to take a
moment to expand on the practice of over "mulchifying".
Beyond the potential to pollute water ways, and aquifers, the excessive
nitrogen released from concentrated organic material 15%, i.e. OM by
weight (equivalent to 30% compost by volume) or more, can also adversely
affect your vegetables. Excess nitrogen leads to rapid growth which
render lettuces more vulnerable to insects. It seems the bugs are
attracted to the nitrogen in their leaves, and because of the more rapid
growth of overly nourished plants, insects find their leaves easier to
pierce. This is also a reason to avoid chemical fertilizers, at least in
amounts usually recommended.
I must admit that I don't take everything stated by Professor
Chalker-Scott as gospel, but she does raise questions that need answers.
Now I think I'll go out and watch the days grow.
the new Kool Aid
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