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 Post subject: Need help with my dirt
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:04 pm
Posts: 53
Location: Breckenridge,TEXAS
Brand new to this board and also to organic gardening. Have raised a vegetable garden off and on for many years. Only using the plant it, water it, pick it and eat it. :D

In the last 5 or 6 years I have come across a problem where this method doesn't work very well. Bought a place next to the lake and made a garden there. Heavy clay, when dry I cannot dig. Water twice a week with rainbird sprinkler for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, usually not enough. Water it for 2 1/2 hours, too much. Can't seem to get it exactly right. Also at first of season, vegetables seem to be fine and as season goes on they get smaller. At the end of the season yellow squash is a mottled yellow and green, sort of like a zebra. Watermelons and cantalopes taste like it is sugar free from the start.

Have been reading books and reading posts on this site on getting the soil corrected. Rather large 75 feet by 60 feet. Need input on what and how much to add to soil. Have started a large compost pile, although not enough for this garden.

Read that adding gypsum to soil would help loosen it. Is this so? If so, how much for 1,000 Sq ft? Book stated 10 to 15 lbs., gypsum bag lists 40 to a 100 lbs. for sodium control, I hope not this much. Using a cheap pH meter I get a reading of 6 to 7.1 on different areas. 4 to 6 inches of compost I do not have or cannot afford all at once for a garden this size. Would appreciate any help on what else to add and how much.

I have many more questions but this post is probably long enough. :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 11:29 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 10:51 pm
Posts: 747
Location: Garland, Texas
tommyr wrote:
Brand new to this board and also to organic gardening.

Welcome :)

tommyr wrote:
Read that adding gypsum to soil would help loosen it. Is this so?

Try using the search function for the word gypsum and you'll find several threads discussing most member's preference. That is going to be ammending the soil with compost (and others). The reason (as you'll read) is to improve the life of the soil by increasing the microbial activity. Healthier, looser soil reducing watering requirements and improved crop (be it vegetables, grass, or oranamentals.

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 Post subject: tough soil
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 9:43 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2004 9:38 am
Posts: 53
Location: joshua
tommyr;
for a limited budget i would start with lava sand 20#/1000sq/ft to help loosen and condition the soil. I would add dried molasses @ 10#/1000sq/ft to encourage microbial activity, and mulch where possible with hardwood or cedar mulch. it's not an instant fix, but begins the process of building healthy soil which will equal healthy plants.
good luck
bj


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 Post subject: bj taylor
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 10:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:04 pm
Posts: 53
Location: Breckenridge,TEXAS
Thanks for the info. Guess I kinda misquoted, really not a tight budget. No local composters here, 100 miles from Ft Worth. At 3 to 5 dollars a bag I really don't think it would be feasible to put down 4 inches of compost at an estimated cost of $2200 to $2500 for the compost alone. Knowing this would you suggest to increase the amounts you stated? Do you know about the gypsum? If so do you recommend it?
I plan on having a few raised beds (outside of the garden plot) for the below ground and more delicate plants that have different watering needs.
Thanks for your help.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:42 pm 
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Posts: 2884
Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
I've been reading about ramial wood chips as a miracle soil restorer. I think they've changed the name because the search for ramial seems to give results for the 90s but not more recent. Anyway, ramial wood chips are identical to what you see being chipped up on Anystreet, USA on any day of the week. They are the young wood in branches less than 2 inches in diameter. So they are free and abundant if you just ask for them. You only have to spread them one inch deep to get the full soil building effect.

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