Photo by Melody
Are you ready? It's time for our 14th annual photo contest! Enter your best pictures of the year, for a chance to win a calendar and annual subscription here. Hurry! Deadline for entries is October 21.

Soil and Composting: Your Opinion and adviceplease.

Communities > Forums > Soil and Composting
bookmark
Forum: Soil and CompostingReplies: 109, Views: 1,153
Add to Bookmarks
-
AuthorContent

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

December 13, 2010
9:38 AM

Post #8257794

I have had this long bed in the back of my yard for about 37 or so years.
It had tall evergreens in it--which got bent over to the ground in last winter's 4' of snow.

They never straightened up--so I asked my neighbor to cut then back by half. Done!

Then the idea came to me that i could make this bed into my new vegetable bed.
This area gets full sun.
My neighbor will do most of the work and i will pay him...whatever.

This bed measures 21' x 3 1/2'. It has been edged by landscape timbers two deep,
which will be removed as they are half rotten anyway.

So my plan was hatched...
See what you think? Logistic advice is welcome.
I have pretty much decided in my brain what I wanted done--but there may be
some "glitches" I am not aware of...
***Mind you--this soil where the evergreens were is packed and full of tree roots.
It cannot be dug up!

1--Cut the remaining evergreens down as close to the ground as possible (done!)
2--Remove existing landscape timber edgings and get rid of them.
3--Build a raised bed out of PT 4x4's bout 16" deep.This would take 5 layers of 4x4's.
The first one would be, pretty much, buried in the ground, right where the old edging was.
4--Lay a double layer of commercial (the gray) weed block over the soil.
to keep any roots from coming through. I have 2 huge Maples in the back.
5--Cover the weed block with about 2" of some kind of river pebbles to hold things
down and to also aid a bit in drainage.
6--Bring in a load of topsoil and fill the bed, mixing in bags and bags of composted,
shredded leaves from 2 years ago. I always save my leaves this way--in black trash bags...
Hopefully, I will also mix in some bagged humus/manure and let it all settle.
The problem is--that this bed is not even at stage #2 yet...and it is now freezing...
My neighbor just did not start on all this soon enough...Oh well...I shall see how far he gets...

Additional plans--

Use a 4' x 4' space at one end of this bed to build an open Compost Bin--about 4x4x4...
This was an "AHA" moment thought!!! Why not???? My black plastic "Earth machine" bin is
NOT very functional and is now starting to crack and weather...I hate it!

The stumps were just cut down to the ground level--yesterday. Small progress...
The right side end--where the bag is--would be where I would build the compost bin.
It is a perfect place for it! Still need plans for that!
This would remove 5' from the total length of the bed--making it perfect for 2-8' lengths of 4x4's.
These would be staggered and nailed together by 7" spikes. The ends of the bed would also
be done the same way, using 4' lengths of the 4x4's.

I would then put 3 privacy fence panels 8'x6' high (Shadowbox kind) all along the back of this bed
to provide a backdrop--and to hide my neighbor's trash cans and other stuff...He dumps all kinds of things back there...
out of HIS sight--but I have to look at it all...

Time for a picture so you can see what i am talking about...

Here is the bed looking straight at it from the Patio. My property line is pretty much
where the bed ends. The "junk" behind it and the garage belongs to my neighbor.

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

December 13, 2010
9:53 AM

Post #8257812

Here is a length-wise view of this bed.

Behind the end, where the bag is, continues my corner bed--which I have always
called my "YUK" bed--to those that are familiar with my garden bed woes...

Right behind "the Castle" is my other neighbor's property line.
You can see the split rail fencing we all share.

The construction of the compost bin is not an immediate concern.
Will work on that next year---but suggestions are welcome any time...

Some still unknowns-----------

I have Googled plans for building one--still not sure of the best way. No palates!
I like the idea of boards with a 1/4" wire mesh lining to keep out critters and hold things in.
I would not lay the weed block under this area--as I do not want to block any earthworms
setting up a home in this compost pile.
I have thought of just laying down paving stones as a base. What do you all think?

Thanks for any comments/advice so far.

Gita

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Indy
Alexandria, IN
(Zone 6a)

December 13, 2010
11:05 AM

Post #8257914

I am guessing that the evergreens are a cedar type and would not rot for 50 years.
Have you considered making a bed adjacent to the existing bed...out in the grass away from large roots? Then maybe you could remove those old roots at your leisure.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

December 13, 2010
3:36 PM

Post #8258425

indy--

I do not remember what the evergreens were called.

If I move the bed adjacent to the one I have now--that means I will be moving the bed
just 5' closer to all those maple roots.

It will have to stay where it is...

Thanks for your input, though...Gita
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

December 14, 2010
1:49 AM

Post #8259057

Have you considered hiring someone to grind up the roots & stumps?

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

December 14, 2010
4:38 AM

Post #8259172

puddle--

My neighbor has already dug out the evergreen stumps. Evergreens have rather shallow roots.
Looks like he just had to chop out some of the bigger rots and out came the stumps.

The main issue here is not the roots from the evergreens--but the roots from my two
40 years old maples, which run all over the lawn and also in this bed...
I did mention that above in my first post.

OK! Any comments on my plans on how this bed is to be built? Are they reasonable?

Gita
Indy
Alexandria, IN
(Zone 6a)

December 14, 2010
7:38 AM

Post #8259507

If you have maple roots in the bed, that is very bad. I suggest that you dig a trench a dozen feet from the bed and cut all roots off that are headed that way.


Maybe you could rent a ditch witch and still trench it 3 feet deep. I don't think it would kill the tree...trees are 360 feeders.

This message was edited Dec 15, 2010 1:28 PM

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

December 14, 2010
9:09 AM

Post #8259668

Weed blocker did not work for me, the oak tree roots and burmuda grass grew right through it.

I don't recommend buying topsoil unless you are able to personally inspect it first.

Maybe you could make some raised beds above the ground to keep out the tree roots.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

December 14, 2010
5:04 PM

Post #8260412

Indy---

I am a 73 year old senior lady. No helper here...Digging a trench is not something I can do--
seem a bizarre option.

I have a bed already.
It is going to stay there!.
I am trying to make something better out of this bed to grow veggies in.
The suggestions offered here do not seem to be very helpful or reasonable..

Besides--cutting ANY roots within 10-12 feet of a tree would surely kill the tree. Not doing that!
You have NO idea how massive the roots are all over my back lawn. maybe you have never
had a mature Silver maple growing on your property. Bad choice back in 1971--but it is too late now.
This is not a feasible option...

Honeybee--

My weed block will be buried 16" down--with 2" of stone on top of it. There will be 15"-16"
of soil on top of this all.

I plan to buy the topsoil from a place where I know they have good soil. We have about 4 places nearby
that sell topsoil. I will either--go visit them and check it out--or call them and give them the 3rd degree.
Did you read my first post here? I said I was planning to build a 16" raised bed.
I also wrote about all the composted leaves Nd humus I have to mix into this bed.

From past experience, though, I know that the Maple roots will go anywhere they want to go.
Flat bed---raised bed--freshly dug up soil, etc...Been there--seen that. I battle them every Spring!
My property is small. I live in a development...

That is what I have been fighting all these years in all my beds in the back yard.
Trying to do something different...as in a raised bed with weed block and stones for a base.

If I may say again--I am seeking advice here more on a structural level.
My steps in planning to build this being feasible?. I cannot accept the unreasonable
suggestions given here...
Sorry! I don't mean to be ungrateful, but, so far, I cannot see any of the options offered as doable.

I do not have the kind of $$$ to pay a landscaper to come and do this for me.
I have formulated a plan---and my back yard neighbor will be doing the work.

That's all I can afford. I shall pay for all the materials and then give him some money for his work.

Gita


prpjt
Texarkana, AR

December 14, 2010
6:46 PM

Post #8260668

Gita,

Your plan looks reasonable for what you are working with. I also have maples, and can sympathize with your plight. The structure of the bed looks good, but I will add one comment.

In my yard I did the same thing, built raised beds. I however did not use weed cloth or gravel. 16 inches is a lot of dirt for grass to grow up through. I have not had any grass issues in the 16 inch beds, but grass does come up through the 8 inch ones. I live in the south, and have St. Augustine and Bermuda grass.

In a 16 inch deep bed I would not lay a weed barrier. If the soil drains reasonably well, I would not put gravel at the bottom. The gravel and weed cloth is a tool used to control grasses and weeds. You are not going to overpower maple roots with gravel. The maples in my yard lifted a 4 inch thick concrete sidewalk. If they really want to invade the bed, they will. I however, have had no root problems in my deep beds.

God luck to you.

prpjt

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

December 14, 2010
7:18 PM

Post #8260720

prpjt,

Thank you for your reasonable advice. It is welcoming...

Well--I have already bought the weed block--I could return it to HD.
Not having to need gravel would solve a big problem--and a lot of money.
I was not so worried about grass growing through here--but the Maple roots. They can grow through anything...

This bed is not accessible by truck, so any soil or stone delivery would have to be wheelbarrowed
from the driveway to the bed. A lot of work. Besides--there would be a steep delivery charge--$30-$40.
I had, actually, thought of buying the stone by the bag at HD because of these issues.
$3.47 a bag x maybe 20 bags--not so bad...

Still will need to do the delivering with the top soil. I figure i would need about a yard and a half.
Have to find some good soil...

I am a bit upset that this did not get started earlier. I had talked to my neighbor since spring about this.
Now--he does do couple different jobs--but i would have liked the soil to be in place--
all mixed up with the good stuff--so it can "do it's thing" over the winter...

I suppose it is still doable--over some warmer winter days to come.

Will keep everyone updated here...
I also posted this on "MY" Mid-Atlantic Forum--but have not heard from anyone.


Thanks, Gita


HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

December 15, 2010
6:13 AM

Post #8261227

[quote]Maybe you could make some raised beds above the ground to keep out the tree roots.[/quote]

I'm quoting myself above.

If you raise your beds up off the ground, maple tree roots will not be able to penetrate them. If you do a search on "wheelchair gardening" you will see what I mean. Your beds don't need to be "waist high" just a few inches off the ground will work.
ladygardener1
Near Lake Erie, NW, PA
(Zone 5a)

December 15, 2010
6:36 AM

Post #8261266

Gita, I followed you here. prpjt, had a lot of good advise.
Glad you clarified getting out the evergreen roots, I was going to say that the evergreens I know do not have a tap root, heck they blow over in some of the very strong winter winds we get here.
Think about building a 2 compartment compost bin, rotating the fresh with the cooked,usable compost. It is convenient having them close to the veg garden. I would not worry about critters in the compost, I have never had that problem, you are not putting meat, bread or dairy in there that will attract them. That being said you will save $ by not buying wire mesh.
I am thinking of 6 2x4s. 3 in the back and 3 front, the middle one is your divider for the 2 bins. Attach boards on the back, sides and middle with rust-proof screws. You could leave the front open or build "gates" that can be removed for easy access, Maybe hooks and eyes to hold them in place.
If you are going to grow root veg, parsnips, and long carrots you may want to have one end of the garden deeper. Also less bending.
I use newspaper and/or cardboard covered with composted leaves as a weed barrier. I cut holes and plant through it or leave space between to plant in rows. This breaks down by the following spring. It also hold moisture in the soil so you are not watering so much.
If you plan to plant garden peas you should set a goal to have this done by March. I don't think I'd hold off planting in the fresh made bed.

Good luck in your plans. I hope I have helped in some small way.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

December 15, 2010
7:20 AM

Post #8261341

prpjt "" I however, have had no root problems in my deep beds."

Maybe maple roots are not so interested in growing upwards, into a raised bed? at least not for 16 inches. Gita, I haven't had anything to add besides what's already here. Your plan for stacking the timbers sounds great and I know you have done that method before.

which way does the sun come in your yard? I'm wondering if the privacy fence will make the bed warmer or cooler. Could you be lucky enough that your back of the house faces north?, putting the fence on the north side of the bed? I think I remember it is west and that will work well.
vadap
Aurora, CO
(Zone 5b)

December 15, 2010
8:22 AM

Post #8261491

Gita, I wouldn't bother with the weed block. As you well know, silver maple roots will go where they want. I tried the weed block, and after 2 yrs, it broke down enough that the roots pushed through. They also managed to go between where they were overlapped, about a foot on each side. Silver maples are evil, evil, evil!!! Oh yeah, that's in a raised bed by about 10" and the roots will go up enough to disturb veg roots. I have resorted to cutting the roots at the edge of the bed when turning over in the spring. Best that can be done. As to adding topsoil and/or compost this time of year, don't really know. I'm doing a lasagna bed today as we have had a very mild winter so far here in Denver. The mountains are another story! Best of luck. Paul.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

December 15, 2010
4:58 PM

Post #8262377

Honeybee--

Your assumption re the maple roots is wrong! They will grow up through anything...

years ago, I had 2 whiskey barrel planters near my S. Maple. The planters were sitting on the ground.
I started them in the fall--and by spring, I could not even stick a shovel in the dirt. it was FULL
of the Maple's roots! all coming in just from the hole in the bottom. ONE hole!!!!
All meshed and matted. A whiskey barrel is--about 18" or so high. See? They can grow to anywhere!

One benefit of a 16" high bed would also be that it will keep the rabbits out.
I don't think they jump that high???

Lady---YES! You helped a lot! Love ideas to ruminate on...

I have seen the 2 compartment bins--and they look great--but all I can spare in this bed is a 5' area--total.
4x4's come in 8' lengths. The bed is approx. 21' long. If I remove 5' (for the bin), that leaves 16' for the bed--
or perfect for 2 lengths of 4x4's.
I think a 4x4x4 bin will be enough for me. Anything is better than the SEM (Stupid Earth Machine) that
I have been dealing with. One is supposed to turn compost over to mix it and to aerate it. Can't do it
in the SEM! Nope! That's why it takes years to compost!

I emptied it this past spring--got 2 lg totes full of the "good stuff"--even though it kept sprouting melons
and tomatoes and all that. Endlessly! Probably, b/c the temperature never got anywhere near what it
should be to kill all the seeds. Threw the un-composted stuff back in it.
I DID have a lot of worms in there--and plan to throw any and all wormsthat I come across into
my new bin to help them set up housekeeping...
I think the wire mesh will help for those critters that like fresh fruit. I eat huge amounts of Melons and
everything else--and just dump the rinds in the composter.

As far as the veggies I would grow will still be a few tomatoes, lots of Dill, would like to try some Leeks,
Maybe some Garlic (??), Bush Beans, maybe some Pickling Cukes, as I make my own pickles, might try
a few potatoes--just for fun...etc...Sugar snap peas would be great---maybe next season...

Sally--
My back yard faces SW at a slight angle. Neither of my 2 back yard neighbors have any trees--
so I should get really nice sunlight here. The small bed behind my shed (AM sun only) was not the
greatest for my Tomatoes. They did OK--but could do better...This past summer was not great
for tomatoes...They did rather poorly. Maybe the soil is no longer as fertile...

The front of my house faces North--with a slight touch of East sun angle.

The Privacy Fence's main function is to screen the view I have of my neighbor's "junk" and trash cans.
Also--it will give a finished look tot he bed.
However--since I LOVE the "Shadowbox" fence--something/anything vining/climbing could grow there as well.

vadap--

YES! Silver maple roots are evil--evil-evil!!!! Been fighting them forever! Love the shade in my
back yard though. It is 10* cooler just to walk into the back yard...
Your suggestion to cut any roots at the edge of this bed as i dig it up in the spring is a good one.
Been doing that in my "YUK" bed forever--to NO avail! The tree just sucks up any and all water there.
For those that do not know--my "YUK" bed is the corner bed in my back yard.
It is only feet away from my maple...I salute anything that grows and thrives in it...Believe me,
the list is LONG! Amazing as it is!

Thank you all for your input! Gita

Here is a view of my :YUK" bed. See how close the Silver maple is?
This is the bed my new one will connect to--with the Compost bin in between the two.


This message was edited Dec 15, 2010 8:09 PM

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

December 15, 2010
5:00 PM

Post #8262383

Here again is the bed that has had all the evergreens cur out of.
Follow it up to where it ends (the bag). The bed going from there is my :YUK" bed.

Just a refresher picture...The stumps are now all dug out...

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Click the image for an enlarged view.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

December 15, 2010
9:29 PM

Post #8262774

I read Honeybee's suggestion as boxes elevated from the ground, and therefore the roots WILL NOT grow up across airspace and into the beds.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

December 16, 2010
8:23 AM

Post #8263353

sallyg - thank you so much for your post- I was trying to explain the same thing to Gitagal :)

Gitagal - The following is a quote from Wikepedia:

[quote]A plywood bottom can be attached to the bottom of a box, which can then be placed on a tabletop or raised platform[/quote]

You would only need to raise your bed a few inches off the ground to prevent tree roots from penetrating the bed.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

December 16, 2010
8:58 AM

Post #8263421

honeybee--

I did not pick up on that---sorry!
Sally--always the logical one--did!

How would all the worms get in if I did that????

Gita...:o(

PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

December 16, 2010
11:56 AM

Post #8263675

Gita, just dig some worms up and put 'em in. Or just buy a small bag of worm castings and add it in; there are always some eggs mixed in among the castings.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

December 16, 2010
3:11 PM

Post #8263964

Any worms???? Even from my garden? I have already done that to some extent in my SEM.

I am always digging up worms in my beds...especially after a heavy rain...
Do they have to be the big, red ones--or just any?

I have NO idea where to buy worm castings...I always thought ''castings" were their ''poop"...
Worms make eggs?????????????? I did not know that...How DO they propagate?

I feel so ignorant all of a sudden...I should know all this...

Gita

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

December 16, 2010
7:24 PM

Post #8264275

Any worms you find will work. I'm sure there will be worms in your leaf bags.

I'm just thinking an elevated plywood bottom may change the way the beds are built though.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

December 17, 2010
6:02 AM

Post #8264655

Sally--I am not really considering doing the elevated part--but I may put down a
"pad' with flat paving stones--like I have under my SEM.
May have to even out the base with some sand first...
That would still allow drainage and wiggle room for the worms.

yes! I will have to be dealing with the roots...I already know that.
They are already there in this bed--some as big as my arms.

Gita
ladygardener1
Near Lake Erie, NW, PA
(Zone 5a)

December 17, 2010
6:44 AM

Post #8264728

Gita, here is a site for you to look at, read all the comments also. One person said he cut cost buy using pine, it will not last as long a the expensive ceder but he said his first one lasted 10 years.
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20258509,00.html

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

December 17, 2010
8:19 AM

Post #8264870

Here's a link about the Life Cycle of the Earthworm:


http://www.ehow.com/facts_5488680_life-cycle-earthworm.html

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

December 17, 2010
1:10 PM

Post #8265250

Thank you both!
I will try to save both web-sites for future information.

Lady--
Much of the raised bed info does not apply to me--as i am working with an
existing bed...but the technique is worth considering...
I am still leaning towards 4x4's..as a longer lasting and more sturdy material.

Of course--the man doing the work may have his own ideas. Don't think so--but he may.
I hope to be there when any of the work is done to offer my input...

Gita
cindylove
Lewisville, TX
(Zone 7b)

December 26, 2010
1:27 PM

Post #8277669

Hi Gita,
I am sorry to do this.. I hope you understand it is to help you not hurt you..however, if you've already started your garden then just disregard this advice. This past summer I have learned how to prepare a weed free garden...the preparation includes placing newspaper on top of the grass/soil, etc to where you want to have your garden. Of course, secure it as it has to stay on the area for 5 weeks...then you can add soil, etc then plant. I am sending you this as I too am preparing a new garden & I have grass to deal with. I have existing gardens where I put weed blocker but the weed blocker has long disintergrated! In between it's holes, etc come back the weeds & grass. I am also trying to be environmentally friendly as some day I want my yard certified as a habitat. So.. by putting newspapers down they will decompose & form a healthy topsoil. I live in a mobile home park so I too am limited.
If you haven't started I hope this helps. As to what to use for a raised bed, I used landscaping rocks. I recently joined a "Freecycle" group where people post things they don't want & was able to get a HUGE load of patio bricks that I will use for the "new" garden... I can only garden with raised beds here in Texas!!!

Good Luck & happy gardening!!

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

December 26, 2010
4:24 PM

Post #8277882

Cindy--do not worry! Why would i think you want to hurt me?
I appreciate all input--whether I will use it or not...

This is ONLY for the one bed that I am planing to convert to a 16" raised bed to grow veggies in.
Look at the pictures a bit higher up of this Post. You will see what i am talking about...
That is as far as it has gotten, and I don't think he will do any more on this until early Spring.

I still do not see the harm in putting down the double layer of dense weed block.
NOT the thin black stuff! This is light gray and is of commercial quality--like a dense felt.
Some people even use this as an underlayment when making their ponds.

I will not use the stone--have decided on that...

Thanks, Gita
cindylove
Lewisville, TX
(Zone 7b)

December 26, 2010
5:29 PM

Post #8277962

Gita, I did take a look.. & I liked what I saw with what you have..it looks very similar to what my parents have in their back yard..& at the back of their shed too...that's why I thought I could relate to yours hahaha.
They too have the grey weed block... & it really didn't stay in place even with a lot of dirt over it so it blew "upward" & sure enough the weeds came in with a vengence...now I am not saying don't use it... to each their own I say. I thought that with what I suggested it would save you bringing in more topsoil than you wanted to. hahaha.
I love gardening so much that I tend to have a habit of "developing" other people's gardens as my own! hahaha But I would never enforce it!!
I can't wait for spring either... we don't get snow ( usually) but the ground is just as hard year round so it makes it easier to work in spring/ early summer.
patti47
Lynnwood, WA
(Zone 7a)

December 27, 2010
12:49 PM

Post #8279111

Since you have seen the power of those maple roots over the years and especially how they came through the hole in the pots, I am surprised you still believe something, other than an air space, is going to stop them. How about an airspace, like a trench, around the perimater of your raised beds? It would be effective if the maple roots are shallow. I've heard it called air pruning. I had a compost pile full of big-leaf maple roots years ago. I wasn't expecting that.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

December 27, 2010
2:29 PM

Post #8279244

patti---

YES! I believe--and I will see it haappen!
I cannot do what you suggest. Can you imagine the lost effort to dig a trench where the roots are
as thick as my wrists???? That is a lost cause! NOT what I plan to do...
Perhaps you have some strong husband/son/grandson to do this. Here--it is only me!
And--I am 73. Not feaeble or helpless--but there are limits...

That is why I want to go ahead with the double layer of commercial weed block.
The only concern I have is that it will block worms from getting into the soil of this bed.

However--I can always transplant any worms I dig up in any of my beds--to this bed.

Be well! Gita
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

January 8, 2011
5:14 PM

Post #8299607

Gita, I've seen your maple roots... I don't think the weed barrier (even the really good stuff) will stop them for more than a season or two, and then you'll have a new raised "yuk" bed. I really like the idea of adding a bottom to your raised bed to create an air gap and keep the roots out. You're tearing out the structure/timbers of your old raised bed anyway, so you may as well think of it as starting from scratch... if you want to keep some of the good soil from the bed, just shovel it out to one side and add it into your raised bed box at the end. Other than adding a plywood bottom to the bed, I don't think it will cost you much more in materials than what you've described... you can either return the weed barrier or use it to line your new bed (to help hold in the dirt). A liner for the bed is probably not necessary, just mentioning it because I saw that Gardener's Supply is selling liners for their beds now, but that's probably only needed if you're putting a raised bed on top of something like a patio.

I don't think anybody is suggesting your trench around your bed by hand, but you might be able to get/hire somebody to come in with a trenching tool, like they use to put in those "invisible fence" wires or when they're running cables underground. I'm not sure how long a trench would stay, though, and when the sides start collapsing the roots will find their way across again, unless you filled it with gravel maybe? But by the time you hired somebody to make the trench and added gravel, you'd probably be well over the cost of building a bed with a raised bottom.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

January 8, 2011
6:14 PM

Post #8299697

Jill--

Thanks for your input...
Seems nothing will be done now until early spring. My neighbor just did not do
what I had expected him to do by now. Of course--he was working 3 different jobs.
As it is right now--the bed is as in the picture--only he dug out the evergreen roots--
and that was not that huge a job. They are fairly shallow.

I am at a loos what to do with the bottom of the bed-to-be. Thought I had it all figured out..
I don't know about raising the bed base???? What would hold up the plywood base?
Or do you envision it just laying flat on the existing bed? No air gap?

The existing bed surface cannot be dug into--all the maple roots are there.
As I think about it--some kind of "block" would be the easiest.. How about stacks of newspapers
on top of the weed block?

The idea of a trench along the bed will not work either.
Years ago, my husband dug in a 2' aluminum flashing--straight down the sides of my :yuk" bed.
and the roots still grew into the bed. Of course, that was years ago--
and the maples were still very actively growing.

At least I am now convinced that I do not need a 2" layer of rocks...

Do you know of a source for ideas on this somewhere?
Everyone here has been very helpful--but I just don't know...:o(

Gita

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 9, 2011
8:48 AM

Post #8300459

Dave's Garden has an "Accessible Gardening" forum. Although it's for the disabled, you might find some useful hints about raising your garden bed off the ground.

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/f/disabled/all/

I am having a similar problem as yourself with the roots from my giant oak tree. I have to rake back the soil, cut the roots, and replace the soil! Tree roots are tenacious, as you have discovered.
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

January 9, 2011
10:37 AM

Post #8300631

Gita, think of it as building a large rectangular planter box. Raising the bottom of the bed up off the ground (yes, with an air gap, which may mean 6 inches up from your lawn level to accommodate the raised soil there now if you can't dig into it) will give you more total height to the bed... and I think you'll love having a garden that's so much easier to reach into!

There are probably good construction plans out there (I'm sure the accessible gardening forum is a good place to look)... I tend to "overbuild" and so would probably use pressure treated 4x4 posts (either seal it well or use the new kind that's treated with some sort of citrus stuff), six of them altogether (4 corners plus 2 for the center of the long edges) plus some 2x2 stakes if needed to give the sides more support between the large posts... post height would be about 18-19 inches plus the depth of your post holes... frame out the bottom with more 4x4's placed behind your 4x4 posts (the 4 inch thickness should give you your air gap, even if you place the edges close to the ground to give you a more traditional look), then use plywood (marine grade?) panels across the "floor" of the bed.

You might be able to save money by using plywood for the sides also, although I think I would use 2x4's (three boards tall, nailed to the back sides of the 4x4 posts for best support). Then I'd top off the whole thing with 2x6's placed flat to give you an easy place to sit if you wished. This would give you room for 12-14 inches of soil in the bed itself, which seems like enough to me, although you could certainly add one more 2x4 to the height of the sides.

Oh, and for your compost bin... I would *not* put it into direct contact with the surface of the soil, or the same thing will happen as happened with your whiskey barrel... happy happy maple roots, digging into that rich compost! If you don't want to build a base to put it on, maybe you can find an old wooden pallet at HD that you could use to make an air gap.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

January 9, 2011
11:02 AM

Post #8300671

Merry had another idea too. She D-mailed me.
NOT so off-the-wall as she thought. Link below.

Click on it and see what you all think...
I have to almost think that this idea would also be doable...

http://davesgarden.com/tools/mail/pm/648491/

Jill--
I have to re-read your post above. I did read it, but had a hard
time visualizing what you were describing. Building is not my forte!

I am at work right now--place is dead--as there is a Ravens game today.
NO people in the store--hardly any phone calls--and I have to
go eat lunch.

Thanks----Gita
cindylove
Lewisville, TX
(Zone 7b)

January 11, 2011
5:27 PM

Post #8305540

I couldn't access the link Gita..it said I had to login first & I already am! hahaha Maybe another time...

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

January 11, 2011
5:32 PM

Post #8305555

Cindy--

It was a link to a D-mail that Merry sent me.

I can open it----don't know why you are having a problem...

Anyway--no matter what--I know it will work out one way or another...
I appreciate all the suggestions/contributions--but I also need to do
what I can do and afford. "Simple" is the word..."Reasonable" is another word.

Gita
ladygardener1
Near Lake Erie, NW, PA
(Zone 5a)

January 12, 2011
4:47 AM

Post #8306079

Gita, the link is to your personal mail and anyone opening it would need your pass word. And you don't want to give out your pass word, ever.
You will have to copy and paste the content of the mail here or copy, paste it to a D-mail to Cindy.
merrymath
Morrisville, PA
(Zone 6b)

January 12, 2011
4:58 AM

Post #8306094

Here is what I d-mailed to Gita

Have you considered container gardening ideas? That's what I would do.

1st You could cover that area with weed block and stone. And then use containers.

Last summer I purchased nice heavy plastic 5 gallon tubs at Dollar Tree. I was thinking of drilling holes in the bottom for drainage, placing small mesh basket (3/$1.00) upside down, cover basket with a few layers of newspaper or cardboard (I can get all the cardboard boxes I want for free) and use Tapala's 5-1-1 planting mixtue.

You can move and rearrange your containers according to conditions.

Use individual size water bottles, cut off bottom, leave cap on and make small pin holes in neck of bottle for water to drain ... insert bottle capped end deeply into planting mixture ... use this method to deeply water plants.

I do not think Dollar Tree still has the 5 gallon tubs that I bought. But what about these?

http://www.dollartree.com/cleaning-storage-hardware/mops-brooms-sponges/rectangular-pails/212c259c259p309870/index.pro

You could decorate the exteriors and spray with a clear acrylic.

MARY

Then, I started the following thread

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1148597/

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

January 12, 2011
4:57 PM

Post #8307450

Here is the rest of my D-mail-----
Hope this multi-copy will come through.

I have an idea for your problem growing area. It is a wee bit off the wall. If you want me to share it with you let me know.

A check to you was sent in Friday's mail.

MARY
Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

Sun, January 9, 2011
08:27 AM
Why not? How off-the-wall is it?

No ideas are weird...I am just gathering them--don't know what I will use...

Thanks, Gita
merrymath
Morrisville, PA
(Zone 6b)

Sun, January 9, 2011
10:03 AM
Have you considered container gardening ideas? That's what I would do.

1st You could cover that area with weed block and stone. And then use containers.

Last summer I purchased nice heavy plastic 5 gallon tubs at Dollar Tree. I was thinking of drilling holes in the bottom for drainage, placing small mesh basket (3/$1.00) upside down, cover basket with a few layers of newspaper or cardboard (I can get all the cardboard boxes I want for free) and use Tapala's 5-1-1 planting mixtue.

You can move and rearrange your containers according to conditions.

Use individual size water bottles, cut off bottom, leave cap on and make small pin holes in neck of bottle for water to drain ... insert bottle capped end deeply into planting mixture ... use this method to deeply water plants.

I do not think Dollar Tree still has the 5 gallon tubs that I bought. But what about these?

http://www.dollartree.com/cleaning-storage-hardware/mops-bro...

You could decorate the exteriors and spray with a clear acrylic.

MARY
Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

Sun, January 9, 2011
01:33 PM
Merry--

That is not so off-the-wall...Some good ideas!

SO? In your scenario I would still build the 16" high walls all
around this bed--do the double weed block--add the stones--
(which I had decided NOT to use if the bed was to be filled
with soil)--and set the containers on top??
Many people use 5gaL. buckets as containers. Black ones
would look the best...but lighter color ones might stay cooler.
Also--I have MANY lg., black pots collected from all the years I have
been working around plants. Some of these are extremely sturdy
like 22" ones that large tropicals come in. Food for thought...

One negative would be that elevated planters often get quite hot
inside them--and so does the soil and the plant's roots.
Roots under the soil stay cooler and the plants do better...

The positive would be that I would not have to, immediately,
worry about maple rots...nor bunnies chewing off any leaves...

In time--I am sure I would start filling this bed with soil--even if it
iss just from the pots that everything grew in.
ORRRR----I could fill the bed 1/2 way and then dig the containers in.
How's that grab you?

You got my mind going...I may link this to my initial Thread I
started about all this--on the "soil and composting" thread..
Lets see what others say...

Thank you so much for your ideas...Gita
merrymath
Morrisville, PA
(Zone 6b)

Sun, January 9, 2011
05:09 PM
Would you believe I just thought of some other outside the box (is that better than off the wall?) ideas. Think I will share a bit in the Mid Atlantic thread about them.

And If you use large containers there are things you can do avoid over heating (at least I think there are).

MARY
merrymath
Morrisville, PA
(Zone 6b)

Sun, January 9, 2011
06:46 PM
The one with looney-tune ideas started a new thread

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=8301122

MARY
Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

Sun, January 9, 2011
07:00 PM
Mary--

We must think alike! To me--everything has a second (or third) life--
if only you use your imagination and your resourceful mind.
I see something discarded--and I thinkk WOA! Will share more on your Thread...

Your new Thread should be a lot of fun----

Gita

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

January 13, 2011
10:47 AM

Post #8308641

Gita I may have a better idea than all that work with the soil, weedblock, rocks etc. I became a strawbale gardener just under three years ago because of the forum here on DG but unlike other bale gardeners at the time I surrounded one row of my bales with lumber. After the first year of growing in them I dumped the other row of decomposed hay/straw whatever you use into the enclosed row and by the following spring I had the darkest, richest, most worm laden mess of dirt you ever saw. I haven't looked back since. At the end of each growing season I just toss the used up bales into the "box" row and sow into that the following year. With great success I might add. I had tomatoes up until December this year!! This is a pic from April 27th of '08 when I first started.

Doug

Thumbnail by postmandug
Click the image for an enlarged view.

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

January 13, 2011
11:09 AM

Post #8308693

This is a pic from the other end on July 27th. See the difference in fullness of the boxed in row of maters? I don't have any current ones but come spring when it thaws out I'll try and take a couple of the actual "soil" that's left after they decompose more over the winter.

Doug

Thumbnail by postmandug
Click the image for an enlarged view.

merrymath
Morrisville, PA
(Zone 6b)

January 13, 2011
4:55 PM

Post #8309264

Gosh postman, I really like that concept!

Gita, it seems super easy and relatively inexpensive.

Here are some helpful links

http://www.carolinacountry.com/cgardens/thismonth/march09guide/Straw3.09.pdf

http://www.4042.com/4042forums/showthread.php?t=12405

MARY
cindylove
Lewisville, TX
(Zone 7b)

January 21, 2011
5:27 PM

Post #8323190

Yes those pails are a great idea!! I am trying to recyle things myself..I am hoping to use an old cooler..I want to take it apart so I can use the shell for the exact reason you want to!!
I use a lot of containers as I am limited to yard space & I hope this year I can build a new small garden to plant just Texas Natives. I like containers for large shrubs/trees & any plants that may be an invasive one.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

January 23, 2011
6:44 AM

Post #8325561

For large rubbery tubs- try the charity thrift store. The big one I go to had several for a couple bucks each, and having no lid would not matter in planting.
Anybody with an inground or large pool might get chemicals in large, 3-6 gallon, buckets. Chlorine and pH adjuster...There seems no chemical residue after rinsing. I have plenty of fungus and algae growth in those buckets when I use them for rainwater.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 21, 2011
8:36 AM

Post #8384195

Postmandug,
Could you explain your straw bale rotation process a little more, please? I'm a bit confused.

I know you start off with the two rows of straw bales as in the picture. One is enclosed (let's call this the RBB, for Raised Bale Bed), and one is not. Am I correct in that you grow in the RBB while the other straw is sitting and decomposing? Then, at the end of that growing season, you shovel the decomposed bale material into the RBB for growing in the next season?

I love your putting the frame around the bale, effectively creating an inexpensive Raised Bale Bed. This is a true $$$ saver.

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

February 22, 2011
7:59 AM

Post #8386217

I grow in both rows, but after the growing season the unenclosed row is so decomposed I just add it to the enclosed row for the following season.

Doug

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 22, 2011
8:08 AM

Post #8386243

Ok, I get it now! So, two more questions.

1. When you grow in the straw, do you first pull a trench down the middle and put in a bit of soil or potting mix to anchor the plants, then just pull the straw back around the roots?

2. When you add the unenclosed, broken down straw to the enclosed row, are you dumping it in under the new bale or on top of the new bale? I'm gonna guess, underneath the new bale, so the new plant roots will grow down into the rich medium...well, then again, putting it on top would make it more available to the new plant, which would have the organic material right there to help it get established.

Ok, which is it? Over or under the new enclosed bale? ^^_^^

Linda

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

February 22, 2011
8:20 AM

Post #8386271

I just dump it in on top. By the time the next planting season rolls around it's usually decomposed even more and down inside the boards. After the bales start the decomposition process (before planting begins) they are usually soft enough to just use a garden trowel or someting similar to make a "crack" in the bale and drop your tomato plant down in it and push it back together. See the Strawbale Gardening forum for detailed instructions.

Doug

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 22, 2011
9:34 AM

Post #8386424

How much should a bale of straw cost?
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

February 22, 2011
10:57 AM

Post #8386572

"See the Strawbale Gardening forum for detailed instructions."

True, everything you'll ever want to know over there, and non-stop experimenting, too.

A bale of straw will vary region to region...$2.00 to $7.00 (yikes!). Some folks use hay.

Shoe (who also loves Doug's enclosed/non-enclosed system.)

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 22, 2011
12:19 PM

Post #8386716

I just read the whole "test" thread postmandug started. As far as I'm concerned, that's all I need to read!

Thanks, Doug!

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/840638/

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

February 23, 2011
8:58 AM

Post #8388180

Made a new convert huh?

Doug
Soferdig
Kalispell, MT
(Zone 4b)

February 28, 2011
9:14 PM

Post #8399156

Use hay and the more composted (old) the free-er they are. Also the nitrogen in hay will feed anything you plant. Yes there are a few seeds but hey, how many blow in from the field up wind?

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

April 30, 2011
3:22 PM

Post #8530762

Thought I would bring you all up to date...

Found a really nice man to take on building my raised bed...
He is such a perfectionist--makes me happy! As I like to do things right as well.

Today was day #2 of his working on it. The walls have been built and the posts cemented in.
These will hold the 2 panels of "Shadowbox Fencing" . They are 6'x8'. the fencing boards
alternate--in and out---in and out----so if you look through the fencing sideways--
you would see daylight. I like that aspect...

After Monday--all that will need to be done id fill it with top soil and amendments.
Called a couple of places...They are all out of top soil to be delivered--due to the high demand and all
the rain we have been having...
Hope they will get back to business early next week. They said to call back...I will...

The framed bed is now 16'long x3'x wide and 14" high.
There will be an area approx. 4'x4' at the far right (not part of the elevated bed) that I will have
someone construct a compost bin. That is NOT, at this time, a priority...
The bed is--as my Tomatoes are waiting and growing taller and taller...

Here is a picture as of today. The now completed bed--minus the actual fencing panels...
Posts are in.
The bed itself is 5-4x4's high. Giving the total depth of about 14".

Gita
Gita

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

April 30, 2011
3:37 PM

Post #8530793

Because of the almost daily rain--the soil was easy to dig out and work with.
Thank goodness!!! If it were totally dry--it would be next to impossible...

Before the Topsoil is delivered--I will cover the bottom of the bed with a double layer
of Commercial grade Weed Block--(the gray stuff). Then pile the soil on top of it.

Looking at he size of the finished bed--It will, easily, require 2 cubic yards of soil.
Plus my 4-5 bags of composted, shredded dry leaves...Plus a dug in layer of my
own compost. Don't have too much of it! i can get chicken coop bedding for about
$6 a black trash bag-full and can dig that in as well...

Still pondering the "mineralization" bit...How about some Builders sand????
Or--the coarser pavers underlayment to do the same????

I work at a HD--and would like to use that which is easily available to me...

Here is another picture---This is the 4'x4' end of the bed NOT part of the raised bed.
This will be my Composting area. Still have not decided on how to build it.
NOT a priority at this time. The bed is--as my veggies are getting way too big
and need to be planted,,,
Will keep you updated...
You can also go to the Mid Atlantic Forum and check out the "What's Happening in Your garden"
Thread...We yak a lot over there about what everyone is doing...
Gita

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

April 30, 2011
3:40 PM

Post #8530797

A view from my BR window at the whole thing...

I can't wait to have the fencing panels put up so I don't have to look at my neighbor's trash any more...

Just because he cannot see it--it seems OK to just pile it on...His big garage shed hides it all...
Then that is ALL I have to look at!!! YUK!

Gita

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Click the image for an enlarged view.

critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

May 3, 2011
4:05 PM

Post #8537663

Nice, Gita! Bet you can just "see" in your head how it will look filled with plants, with the fence panels along the back.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

May 3, 2011
4:57 PM

Post #8537764

Jill--

What i can MOST see in my head--is NOT having to look at my neighbor's junk--
and trimmings, and "The castle" (for his Grandkids)--and his 3 HUGE trash cans, etc...
He just throws anything and everything behind his "garage" building.
He doesn't see it---but that is ALL I have to look at every day!
What I worry about is IF the 6' fence will cut off too much of the sunshine I want here???

AH! Just my bed filled with whatever. May not all happen this Summer--kind of a late start--
but next year for sure! This will be my veggie bed. So far--all I have to grow is Tomatos.
May buy some Pepper plants and some Bush Beans...we will see...

Waiting patiently for top-soil to be available from the businesses that deliver it.
Must be the rain----OR---the high demand at this time...None of them have any!
I will need 3cy. delivered. Some of it may be shared with my neighbors...

The man that is building all this lives a good 1/2 drive away. Near Edgewood...
He wants to come when BOTH the soil and the Fencing panels are here...
Gas costs so much--and he has a big p/u Truck...I understand!

More rain in the forecast! More issues with all this! But--I have waited for this to be
done for a year and a half. At the worst--it may delay my Tomato planting...
They are leggy enough already! At least 16" tall! Gonna be digging a lot of "tranches"...:o)

Stay tuned!!! More pics to come as this progresses...I am SOOO excited!
Lots of $$$$$$$ spent. But--I hope it is worth it.

Jill--While i have your attention-----Ahem...
*****How are Hellebores propagated? My neighbor wants some cuttings (???)...
I told her I do not know HOW--or WHEN it can be best done...
She does not know much about gardening--so i do not want to go to any extremes to
provide her with what she can buy herself...
This is my OLD Spanish neighbor...NOT the Pakistani one.

Also---tried seeding some of your Tomato "mix" seeds you shared. Not all came up...Old???
I don't care--just wandering which ones did--or which ones did not. AHHHH--The mystery of life!!!

Gita


critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

May 3, 2011
5:15 PM

Post #8537800

the tomato mix seeds were collected 2 years ago, August of 2009, so they should be fine. sorry to hear they didn't germinate well! I only managed to save a "mix" that year because Joyanna had just arrived... but I was making "rainbow bruschetta" with all the best tomatoes I'd picked that week, and I was seeding the tomatoes over a strainer so I could catch the juice, and I just couldn't toss out that strainer full of seeds!

If you get the panels before the topsoil, just lean them against the posts for now so that they help block that view. Don't worry too much about the sun... if it turns out not to be enough for veggies, you know you'll find some other lovelies for that nice bed! I think runner beans and cherry tomatoes are both said to do well with less light. Beans and cucumbers you can easily plant from seed to fill any leftover space after you put in your tomatoes. :-)

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

May 3, 2011
6:02 PM

Post #8537897

AHHH! YES!

This bed will be a future adventure!

G.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

May 7, 2011
5:25 AM

Post #8545260

Wanted to show you all the finished product...
I hired a man to build it--at $15 an hour.
Materials, soil and labor came close to $700.

Oh, well! Looks very nice...Gita

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Click the image for an enlarged view.

PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

May 7, 2011
1:57 PM

Post #8546107

Beautiful! Few things excite a gardener's heart & mind like a fresh, new bed waiting to be planted. This one's not only going to screen the view of your neighbor's junk, but it'll be fun to cultivate.

I hope you'll post pictures after you fill it.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

May 7, 2011
3:19 PM

Post #8546250

Anything borne out of such a labor of luv will be well worth the adventure.

I do believe you've given birth!

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 5, 2011
12:08 PM

Post #8673999

If you still have a choice, and are thinking of sand for drainage, use the coarsest you can get. Or very fine gravel - like smaller than 1/4" , but 1/16" - 1/8" OK.

I now like pine bark mulch better, because it is coarser and will decompose over the same time scale that I expect to be able to add plenty of compost over. In other words, I hope mixing in pine bark mulch and fines will aid drainage for 2-4 years, buy which time the soil will be 'organic enough" to provide its own structure and drainage.

Corey

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 5, 2011
2:31 PM

Post #8674282

Corey--I no longer have a choice...The bed was filled with NOT
the greatest garden soil but I had to order it sight unseen as the man
who built my bed was coming the next AM to schlepp the soil one
wheelbarrow-full at a time from my driveway to the back side of my yard.

The soil was dense and heavy--and had many big clumps in it.
It was dark OK--but had absolutely NO earthy aroma to it.
I was really upset--but it was a done deed. 3 yards delivered--$100.
I would have rather bought it from some better quality places--
but they were out of soil to deliver--or they were too expensive for my taste.

Anyway--so as Dave wheel barrowed the soil--I was in the bed with spade in hand--
trying to break it up as we went.
In went 4 bags of last fall's shredded leaves--not yet composted.
Then a couple bags of good garden soil from HD. Mixing this in as
Dave is bringing more of the yukky soil and dumping it in the bed...
Lastly--I spread a thin layer of Mushroom Soil over the top and that was that!

Planted 8 tomatoes--4 Bush Beans--and 2 zucchinis. That filled the bed.

Must have worked! Look at all these Maters! The tallest one on the right is a Sun Gold.
I have 3 Cherokee Purples, one NOID from a mix of seeds I got at the Plant Swap--
but it looks like a big, sturdy one. We will see...
Then--I brought home a broken off top from a "Big Boy" from work (HD) and put it
in water and forgot it. A week later--I pulled it out--and the WHOLE stem was
covered in long, white roots! Planted that too...

Been pinching out the suckers between stems--and if they are a good size--
I have been rooting them. More to share!!!...:o)

On the opposite side of the bed (left side) I planted 2 Zucchinis. One yellow--one green.
They have grown monstrous! But me thinks something is chewing off the blooms...
There's an old rabbit roaming around--and plenty of squirrels too. Also--Chipmunks...
WHO is the guilty party?????

In between the Tomatoes and the Zucchinis--I have 4 bush bean plants.

Everything is growing OK! I am happy!

Here is a picture of the Tomato end--the taller ones are climbing over the fence panel.
That is about 7' at this time...

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 5, 2011
2:33 PM

Post #8674286

Here is the other end of the bed--with the 2 Zucchinis in it.

Behind them, against the fence, I planted 4 Cannas...They will look ice!

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 5, 2011
2:38 PM

Post #8674291

In the small bed on the East side of my shed, where I used to grow
my Tomatoes--I planted to "hills" of pickling Cukes--as I like to make my own
Pickles--that are out of this world! Garlic Dill and spices and vinegar, etc...
3 days in the fridge--and you can whoof them down. YUMMMMY!!!
Will post the recipe at the bottom--or in the following "window"...

Here they are! I am a loss what else I can tie to what to contain them????

To the left of these are a few Strawberry plants I am trying for the first time ever.

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 5, 2011
2:52 PM

Post #8674317

Here is my Pickle Recipe! Please try it! It is winner!

Gita’s Refrigerator Garlic-Dill Pickles


Need:
3 wide-mouthed jars (pickle type), or Mayo. Jars
One BIG bunch of fresh Dill
6-8 cloves Garlic (or to taste)—diced or thinly sliced.
10-12 pickling cucumbers--(such as Kirby). Fresh is best!
Store cucumbers are WAXED, and no way you can remove it!
If you must use store cukes, score them through the skin with a fork
and slice them thickly. They also have more seeds! But…it will
work if no others are available.

To Do:
Stuff jars ¼ full of fresh dill, stems and leaves! Sprinkle a generous
amount of the chopped garlic on top. Mix up a bit.

Stuff jars as full as you can with speared/sliced cucumbers, inter-
dispersing them with some more Dill and a bit of garlic.
For MY taste---I usually have too much garlic in these. Some love it!

Prepare the Broth:
In a 2Qt. saucepan, combine the following:
2 and a half cups water….3/4-1cup white vinegar (can add a bit of
Apple Cider vinegar too)…1 rounded, regular Tbs. KOSHER, or
Pickling Salt (DO NOT use regular, iodized salt!!!).
1 reg.Tbs. Sugar, 1tsp mustard seed, 1tsp. Pickling
Spice….or--1-2 Bay leaves…6-8 pcs. Whole Allspice,
And about 1 tsp. Hot pepper flakes.
**You can also just use "Pickling Spice" in place of all these spices.
I just could not find it and "winged it" adding my favorites--no biggie!

Bring broth to a boil. Lower heat and simmer all, stirring often,
For about 15 minutes. Keep VERY hot until ready to use!

Filling Jars:
Stirring constantly, to distribute spices, ladle hot broth
evenly into filled jars until all contents are covered. Seal jars.
Invert each jar a couple of times to mix contents.
Let jars cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate.

Pickles are ready to eat in 3 days! They will be delicious and
crunchy! Use them up in about 2 weeks, as they will soften
with time

Enjoy! Gita

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 5, 2011
3:26 PM

Post #8674406

GitaGal

Cool - a spade to breqak it up and remove the compaction. A garden fork might have beeen good, too.

4 bags of last fall's shredded leaves to feed it organic matter and good soil plus Mushroom Soil to innoculate it with good soil life forms. A raised bed to minimize future compaction.



Clearly, there's nothing wrong with THAT soil! Maybe the heavy clumps were partly just that it had been compressed and lost structure that it would otherwise have been able to maintain.

If you can get "heavy" soil loose enogh to drain and receive air, it will probably be richer and more reentive of water and minerals than sandy soil.

And now you have all those roots and probably worms in it, they will help keep it "open" and not compacted. Maybe keep adding compost and mulch on top.

(I think that's one reason my clay soil is reverting: I need to KEEP feeding it more than I have been).

Corey

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 5, 2011
6:38 PM

Post #8674779

Coirey--

As I dig around mu yard--with all the rain we have had---I see many worms...

I pick up each one and walk over to my new raised bed--dig a small hole--
and deposit the worms in there.

Trying to get the "system" going.

The heavy clumps were also, partially, responsible for we had had all
these Monsoon rains here forever...You would think that they would have covered their
soil piles with something, tough...I think that was part of the reason...
BUT--I still wondered just how "Organic" the soil was b/c it had absolutely
NO soil fragrance! None!

I will not know until next year just how good or bad it is...

So far--so good! Gita
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

July 5, 2011
7:17 PM

Post #8674877

Do you drink coffee or tea? Spent grounds/leaves are basically "wormnip."

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 6, 2011
2:14 AM

Post #8675294

neither too much...I drink one cup of "Tasters Choice" in the AM. NO grinds...

but--I can go to the closest 7-Eleven and get all the coffee grinds I want.
If I let them know ahead--they will fill a bucket in one day...

Gita
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

July 6, 2011
10:55 AM

Post #8676218

Gita, your garden pics look great! I'd call it a success. You've sure waited a long time for this day. Big time congratulations to ya!

Shoe

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 6, 2011
1:48 PM

Post #8676547

Lots of nitrogen in coffee grounds! I think itts the most valuable thing in my heap.

And it does seem to attract worms - little caffeinne addicts, I guess.

Corey

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 6, 2011
2:11 PM

Post #8676580

Shoe---

Thanks a lot! It has been "in the works" about 2 years...

Corey--

Would too many coffee grinds be too much Nitrogen for tomatoes?
Of course--they are already close to 6' tall...I'd rather have more fruit than leaves.

Thank you both! I love chatting about things like this!!!

Gita

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 6, 2011
4:40 PM

Post #8676823

>> Would too many coffee grinds be too much Nitrogen for tomatoes?

Oh, man. I don't know. I would GUESS not, because "a lot of nitrogen" might mean 0.5% when talking about things to add to a compost heap, but mean 23% when you have a jar of Miracle-Gro in your hand and that's too much for tomatoes.

>> they are already close to 6' tall...

Again speaking from ignorance, how could a thin layer of "high-N" organic matter sprinkled around plants taller than I am be "too much nitrogen"? But maybe don't dump a 55-gallon drum hauled home from 7-Eleven to create a 3-inch-deep mulch!

Besides the oft-repeated
- - - - - "coffee grounds attract worms",
has anyone mentioned
- - - - - - "slugs don't seem to like coffee grounds"?

I'm still just repeating rumors, so trust your own instincts and experience more than mine!

I just had my first tomato EVER appear on some root-bound quart-sized plants I rescued from a nursery and carried inside and outdoors every night for weeks while nights warmed up to 50 degrees.

They complained about the cold, about the small pots and cloudy weather. When I finally planted them out, they complained "you call THIS soil?!?"

And refused to grow at all for more weeks until we had some slightly warm days. One cherry tomato plant hasn't grown visibly yet, and the other maybe added 4-6" on some branches. The Stupice grew 6"-8" on some of its branches.

Whiners. I'm sure they would have done better if they hadn't been root-bound when brought home, and had gone right into a plastic film tunnel. In better soil.

But the Stupice relented and fulfilled the promise of a few blossoms on each plant, by producing ONE golf-ball-sized dark green tomato. Or green golf-ball. I am REALLY not a tomato expert.


Corey

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 6, 2011
5:59 PM

Post #8676970

Gee--Corey!

You are just so much fun to correspond with! i love a "Lase Fair" attitude...
People that only go by botanical names and fuss about every little aspect
of horticulture-----Well--that is NOT me! I am a casual gardener...

Ignorance is often bliss--when it comes to plants!
People that try to do too much of everything--especially fertilizing and watering--
pay a dear price for it.
My garden does just fine--and I do not do anything extravagant with it--or to it...

My eggplants are doing nothing...Any advice you can give me?
I have one Italian (white) and one "Black Beauty"----They just sit there...
What can I throw on them to make them more productive?

I may just yank them out and allow the space they are in for 2 more mounds of Cukes...
Picked my 1st one tonight--a nice 5" pickling Cuke...

Need to hit the sack! been up since 4AM...Watering at HD from 6AM-10:30 AM...
Seems I am stuck with that schedule lately...

Nighty-Night! Gita

WormsLovSharon
Las Vegas, NV

July 6, 2011
7:57 PM

Post #8677220

I dug a flower bed two days ago because I thought the plants were not doing well because of to much sun. I had the Africa Sumac trimmed away from another tree so that was my reasoning for to much sun.

The bed had been spot composted for two years. When I started digging, no worms. Then I discovered the problem. The sumac roots had invaded the bed and the dirt was very dry.
I am actually amazed anything lived in this bed because the Sumac is 15 feet away and over 40 feet tall. What is frustrating, is every spring I hire 2 laborer just to dig about 5 feet from all my beds to make sure the trees roots are not in the beds.

Anyway, there were thousands of Sumac leaves on the ground from the wind storm earlier in the week. I dug half the soil out of the bed, filled it will leaves and then replaced the rest of the soil. Of course, this was after a 4 hour ordeal of getting the roots out.

But I will be 69 in 28 days, so I guess 4 hours is not to bad.

Gita gave me an idea and tomorrow I am going to go dig some worms and move them. I think I will move some compost with them.

Corey, I have beautiful tomatoes but something is eating them. We have no squirrels so I suspect a roof rat. I have 4 pepper plants that have just sat there for two months. They finally started to grow.

I was in the garden today from 8am to 3pm. But it is our monsoon weather so cloudy and mid 90s. I did not get finished but I had to stop. I WAS DONE...

One of my tomato bushes about two weeks ago.

Thumbnail by WormsLovSharon
Click the image for an enlarged view.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 7, 2011
12:18 PM

Post #8678473

Gita,

>> My eggplants are doing nothing...Any advice you can give me?

Eggplants I don't know, but would GUESS they are heavy feeders. Pure guesses:
- higher-phosphate fertilizer?
- top-dress with 1-3" of compost but NOT too close to stems or leaves?
- either more water or less water or less-frequent, deeper watering?

But some crops get all leafy and un-productive if you fertilize at the wrong time. Better to ask someone who knows eggplants! There is a Vegetable Gardening forum.

Did you have an unusually cold spring or summer? Insects?

You may not want to hear this: for some crops, "full sun" is a need, not just desirable. If they don't like partial shade, there may be no solution.

Sometimes a seed pkt will mention in passing "prefers well-drained soil" when it really is a crucial requirement.

In my yard, I blamed "plants doing nothing" on cold weather, not enough compost, and not enoguh mineral fertility. And not enoguh soil life in general, especially the microbes that make root hairs more effective: mycorhyzia (spelling approximate).

I do delight in the technical aspects of gardening, but I've noticed that those who are most successsfull often are NOT the "scientific" gardeners. They just "do it right" and get good results and don't need to go crazy trying different things.

I sometimes wonder if many of them learned "what works" for their climate and soil from other gardeners who alreaqdy knew. Learning from reading goes awfully slow, because the improtant secrets are often hidden in plain sight: "moist but not damp" ... light "enough" ... "plenty" of compost.

And it seems there is so MUCH written, I tend to lose sight of what is most important, until I fail to do it, AND later realize what the problem was, AND do it right next time, and THEN realize that it really was the most important thing.

My most recent realization is that many bits of advice about the "best" time to do something should be worded as the "critically necessary" time to do something. When I get busy, and some garden chore moves to the end of the list and doesn't get done for a month, the plants may NOT be patient and understanding about it! Some of their needs may be non-negotiable.

Corey

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 7, 2011
12:18 PM

Post #8678474


Sharon,

I have heard that birds will peck at tomatoes. I liked the idea of the "motion activated" water sprayer that senses nearby animals or birds and gives a 3-second spray of wtaer to chase them away.

That, plus a webcam, might tell us what is eating our plants or digging up our bulbs and seedlings!

In my neghborhood, the cats are fat and lazy. they don't chase squirrels, but they DO use freshly-turned soil as a catbox. YUCK!


Corey

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 7, 2011
12:36 PM

Post #8678525

Corey--

My Eggplants are growing in the East exposure (full sun until 3PM) bed
where i used to grow my Tomatoes.
The soil is quite organic and definitely well-draining. Lots of amendments over the years.

I have never grown Eggplant before--and it is NOT important that
I have any success with it. It is my first go at this. Just for fun!
I only have 2--one the deep purple one--and the other one--the white one.
I will NOT hesitate for one minute to yank them out if I need that space for anything else.

Geez! You can buy Eggplants for under a dollar--why do I need to grow any?
Same for Zucchini--but I just am experimenting this year.
Fresh Tomatoes now--that is worth it!

What IS growing so well in this same East bed are my Pickling Cukes...
The plants are going berserk! I have picked 2 so far--but they grow so fast--
I need to check every day. These cost too much $$$ to buy.

Also tried a few Strawberries in this bed. Another first for me.

Here's a picture of my Cukes...

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

July 7, 2011
3:16 PM

Post #8678820

Gita, don't give up on those eggplants. They really need some warm feet, warm hands, and take a while to get their roots going. I'd feed them the same as you feed peppers and tomatoes. ( I think you'd have great results using Espoma's Tomato Tone for all those crops I just mentioned, if you want to use store-bought fertilizer/plant food.)

Hang in there. I'm gonna look forward to your posting about "how you fixed eggplant for supper tonight" at some point! *grin

Shoe

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 7, 2011
5:18 PM

Post #8679097

Shoe--

I love fried Eggplant...Just dip it in seasoned flour--and then egg--and fry them.
I could eat them all on the spot...

I usually do not feed my Tomatoes. Should I?
We have some Tomato Fertilizers at work (I work at a HD).

I have read that feeding Tomatoes is not wise--get too much foliage and not enough fruit.
Is that true?

Gita

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 7, 2011
6:09 PM

Post #8679193

If I understand what I just found, eggplants may share some soil-borne diseases with tomatoes, and may thrive better you rotate them.

"tomato, pepper, eggplant, and potato can be treated as a single group in a rotation."

I think that suggests growing tomatoes AND eggplant in the smae bed during Year One, but then growing only other kinds of plants in that bed for a year or two to let the disease spores die out.

I think i'll go ask on the vegetable forum. I know many people obsess abotu tomato diseases. Me, I know nothing ... but when I tried to get away with growing Bok Choy in the same bed 2-3 years in a row, Year Three really stunk.

Corey
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

July 7, 2011
7:25 PM

Post #8679347

"I have read that feeding Tomatoes is not wise--get too much foliage and not enough fruit.
Is that true? "

What you may have read is that feeding tomatoes a high nitrogen fertilizer is not wise. Too much N creates mainly foliage and very little flowering. I'd recommend feeding them something, same for peppers and eggplant. Most soils do not contain enough plant food to feed plants. The Tomato Tone I recommended above is a lower N fert and also gives the proper ratio of phosphorus and potassium as well as offers bacteria/micro-organisms to your soil. The soil life is important to turn potential fertilizer/plant food into a usable form that plants can take up. Always best to feed the soil, not the plant for good extended plant life and soil life.

Corey, ""tomato, pepper, eggplant, and potato can be treated as a single group in a rotation." All those plants are in the same Family which is why they are grouped together. As for me, if there are no signs of foliage diseases/problems rotation is not a necessity.

Shoe (off to shell cowpeas)
WormsLovSharon
Las Vegas, NV

July 7, 2011
7:38 PM

Post #8679377

Well we had 25 minutes of rain today. I worked in the garden from 6 to 12 noon. The humidity got to me. We usually have very little humidity.

Well two more large tomatoes were eaten last night. What ever it is, it eats the majority of the tomato. Birds usually only take a bite. We live in a golf course community and the guards say they see them come in to the neighborhood every night from the golf course walking on top of the fences.

My peppers are finally putting on new leaves. They are Italian peppers and Cajun sweet and Cajun spice. Small, narrow peppers. I do the Italian every year. Very sweet. This is the first year for the Cajun. Sounded interesting.

I have two raided beds. One on each side of the house. First year we were here I tried tomatoes on both sides. One side gets good sun and the other side got some sun but also shade in early afternoon. Both bed produced great looking plants but the bed with the shade got zero tomatoes.

I plant the tomatoes in the same bed every year but I have the soil completely rehabbed each year. I used to do it myself but now I have a laborer do it. That is why I say my tomatoes are $64 a pound.

Gita I fertilize my tomatoes with super phosphate, cottonseed meal, Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) and soil sulfur when I plant. I layer it in the hole and the hole is about 16 inches deep. I layer the mix, soil, mix, soil until I get to the top. Each time the roots hit the mix, it takes off. The recipe is from the local county extension but the layering was my idea. It took me close to 10 years to finally learn just the basics of gardening. Raised beds, compost and mulch. That is the secret in the hot desert.

Have a great day tomorrow. DH has a doctor's appointment so I will not be gardening. Sharon

WormsLovSharon
Las Vegas, NV

July 7, 2011
7:40 PM

Post #8679382

Cross post.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 7, 2011
8:42 PM

Post #8679489

Sharon---
SOOO? Do tomatoes then like an acid environment?
I have everything you named--except Soil Sulphur.
Of course--my Tomatoes are now 5'-6' tall. A bit late to fertilize. yes? No?

Shoe---
I will check into the fertilizers...There is one sold at HD--which is a big,
red container that looks like a tomato. It says on the container that it even
has 4% of Calcium in it. Too many Tomatoes do not get enough calcium.

It has been eons that I sat up this late!
Started watching "The Color Purple" and wanted to finish. It ended at 11:30PM.

Off tomorrow--maybe I will sleep in. Gita


WormsLovSharon
Las Vegas, NV

July 7, 2011
9:19 PM

Post #8679528

Gita, I think that is Miracle Grow tomato Food.

Sulfur helps a plant take up nutrients. It also helps break down the soil. Used in our "soil", blow sand, all the time. Our soil when you start out is a pale tan.

I am on the Board of the HOA, treasurer, and the liaison with the landscapers. We had many trees in the streetscape in bad shape. I ordered dispursul. Saw it somewhere here on DG. Out of 72 sick trees, we had to replace 8.

Funny story from this event. We order the sulfur and it was being applied. I went out to check and they were applying it around the base of the tree. NOT. I do not speak Spanish so I had to call the office so someone could communicate with them. Sharon.

PS: The Southwest is a total different planet from the rest of the USA.
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

July 7, 2011
11:08 PM

Post #8679587

[quote="Gitagal"]SOOO? Do tomatoes then like an acid environment?
I have everything you named--except Soil Sulphur.
Of course--my Tomatoes are now 5'-6' tall. A bit late to fertilize. yes? No? [/quote]

They like a slightly acidic soil. As for fertilizing, I steadily feed mine with organic slow-release fertilizers & soil amendments mixed with compost (see http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1169891/ for my list). Toms are heavy feeders. Make sure they've got enough calcium available to them too, or you risk blossom-end rot.

Here's my go-to guide on tomatoes, courtesy of Ohio State: http://v.gd/UbCqvf

As for spent coffee grounds, I use buckets and buckets of them! Lots of 'em go into my compost raw materials to bring the worms, who really do a great job of breaking stuff down. I have also taken a 5 gallon bucketful of spent wet grounds and scattered them over my strawberry bed before a rain (or sometimes on top of the bed when it's covered in snow). Their pH is almost neutral; reports of their acidity are wildly overblown. I just use 'em as "wormnip," because I prefer to let the squirmy hired help do most of the work on my garden soil. In my experience, there's no such thing as "too many coffee grounds."

This message was edited Jul 8, 2011 1:17 AM
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

July 8, 2011
5:45 AM

Post #8679857

Ditto on PuddlePirate's "tomatoes like a slightly acidic soil". Although I don't consider them heavy feeders they do tend to like consistent feeding, again "lower nitrogen than P and K".

Gita, you won't want to use sulphur in your area. I think your natural soil is already acidic in your area and your mix that you put together is more'n likely fairly neutral. You could probably use some lime BUT if you get the Tomato Tone it, too, has calcium in it already. I bet HD carries it...red and white bag with a pic of tomatoes on the front.

P-Pirate, I don't dare throw out my coffee ground either, too valuable, eh?

Shoe (off to pick tomatoes, peppers, pull onions for tomorrow's market)

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 8, 2011
7:49 AM

Post #8680065

I have no idea what the soil I got delivered had in it.
It was dark--but had NO earthiness aroma to it. None!
I thought it was wayyy too dense to be garden soil.

When I ordered it (over the phone) I asked what was in this soil I was buying--
and all the lady said--"We make our own". She was a bit evasivefor my taste...
I should drive by there and see...It is not too far.

Asked the old man that delivered it--and he said--Yeah! They don't want to tell you...
Then he said it had humus and some mushroom soil in it. I did not believe him
Mushroom soil would definitely have a certain "aroma!"

So far--my Tomatoes are growing very well...I will see...I will see----
Will make a trip to the 7 Eleven for some coffee grinds...

Thank you for all your advice. keep it coming...Not only do I need to know all this--
I need to be informed enough to help customers that ask me at HD.
So far--I have been telling most of them not to fertilize their tomatoes.
You all have changed my mind! And--Shoe--I knoe exatcly the bag you are talking about.
Will pick it up Sunday. Thanks...

One more question----
What is all your opinion on ground egg shells as a source of Calcium?
How about seeweed that washes up from the Gunpowder River?
I have friends that have a home right on the river---could bring a bucket home.
It is NOT from the "sea"--just a pretty big estuary river into the Chesapeake Bay.

Thanks---Gita

Here is a picture of the soil that now fills my raised bed. I added stuff, though.

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Click the image for an enlarged view.

PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

July 8, 2011
11:09 AM

Post #8680411

[quote="Gitagal"]What is all your opinion on ground egg shells as a source of Calcium?
How about seeweed that washes up from the Gunpowder River?
I have friends that have a home right on the river---could bring a bucket home.
It is NOT from the "sea"--just a pretty big estuary river into the Chesapeake Bay.[/quote]

Egg shells are definitely a good calcium source, but they don't release it very easily if the chunks are large. My egg shells go in my gardening blender along with all my other kitchen scraps, and the slurry goes into my compost bin. I try to use a wide range of raw materials for my bin, since the compost it produces goes to my veggies and berries. My big, cold, mostly untended compost pile is made mostly of shredded paper and grass clippings, plus weeds and any other "iffy" raw materials that I don't trust enough to apply to my edibles. I don't waste my kitchen scraps on that pile, since it supplies lower quality compost for my ornamentals and my lawn.

You can get seaweed? I'm envious. Water plants like seaweed and water hyacinths are an awesome source of trace elements.

http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/Profile.aspx?pid=301

http://www.ehow.com/way_5664058_use-water-hyacinth-fertilizer.html

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 8, 2011
2:39 PM

Post #8680730

PP--

I know that what i am talking about is not real "seaweed"----It is, most likely,
dead grasses that grow in shallow river waters and then wash out at the "shores".
Slimy and Yuk! Maybe they have some useful properties--I do not know...

The Chesapeake bay has a gadzillion coves and inlets all along it's shores.
Even the famous Baltimore Inner Harbor--the mecca of all tourism here--
is just the end of an inlet of the bay.

I realize that egg shells need to be smithereened before adding to the soil.
I have a blender--can do!
There used to be a product made here in MD called "Chesapeake Blue" which just
about eliminated any Blossom End Rot on Tomatoes.
It was a by-product from the shells of all the millions of tons of crabs people eat in this area.
It was processed and clean and had no odor. And--full of Calcium!

Then--the residents in the area complained about the smell of the processing Plant--
and it was closed down--much to the dismay of all us gardeners and tomato growers here.

We also have a lot of Oyster shells here--maybe someone should look into pulverizing
those??? Same good stuff--NO?

PP--
I have yet to build a real compost bin. So far--all I have been using is the Stupid Earth Machine (SEM)
as my composter. Cannot turn anything over in it! It is cracking! Does not get natural rain on it--
VERY impossible to retreive the "good stuff" from the bottom. Ludicrous!!!
but they still sell it en masse--once a year--and people buy it up. So did I--some years ago!

There is a 3'x4' area I left "undeveloped" at the end of my new raised bed. Find pic above.
My hopes are that I can have someone build me a nice compost bin there.
Of course--it has to be open at the bottom---so I will still be dealing with the tree root problems.
They find ANYWHERE there is good soil--and just grow into that area.

This too shall become a reality--some day soon...

Here is my current S.E.M. UGGGHHHH!!!! sitting by my shed...

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Click the image for an enlarged view.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 8, 2011
3:32 PM

Post #8680821

That was a new idea to me about plant diseases - if you don't see evidence of them, don't worry about them. As far as I know, my Bok Choy and GaiLan feeble response this spring was due to cold and poor soil and lsugs, not dieases.

FarmerDill said (over in the Vegetable Gardening Forum) :

Yes, they suffer some of the same soil borne diseases. Verticillium, Early Blight, bacterial wilt, southern blight, Phytophthora blight . Eggplants are less susceptible than tomatoes, but if you know one of these diseases is present, avoid them with both tomatoes and eggplants.

Horseshoe said:

As for me, if there are no signs of foliage diseases/problems rotation is not a necessity.

Corey


Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 27, 2011
1:41 PM

Post #8719091

Corey--and everyone else---

It seems my garden is 90% free of any vermin and diseases. Oh--I see a few Spider Mites
now and then. Once in a blue moon--my Brugs have gotten the dreaded Cyclamen Mites--
which I have disposed of quickly by spraying.
I once had Mosaic Virus on my Daturas and one of my perennial Hibiscus...
Man!!! That was weird!!! The leaves turned like leather--and all shrunken up---mosaic...
That was hard to deal with. I think I cut back all the affected leaves--and the plant recovered nicely.

Now--on to an actual composting question.
Is it OK to shred and add to the compost computer paper? Financial reports paper?
Bank statements paper? etc...In other words--other than Newspaper?????

I have been sorting through a lot of old documents and statements...
Time to say--"Bye--Bye!"...Need to start shredding! Would this be considered "carbon"---
aka "Brown Stuff" (as vs. "Green Stuff") in Compost talk? Even if the papers are white?
I know that sounds stupid--NO pun intended...

What is your cumulative opinion? Gonna have a few bags-full by the time I am done.
Bless my initiative to start doing this! It has been too hot to go outside--so I am finding
long-put-off-work in the house...How I KNOW this needs to be done!!!!

Thanks--Gita

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 27, 2011
5:19 PM

Post #8719560

I'm sure paper counts as "brown not green". Low nitrogen, high carbon.

I can't say what kinds of paper are OK in a compost pile: I used distrust them all because they have clay and other chemicals added. Newsprint ink used to have a lot of carbon black in it, and someone said that was "bad for you" - but I guess that meant bad for people, not bad for soil organisms.

Now I compost coffee filters, paper towels & napkins. I'm planning to tear the pgaes out of old White Pages phone books, then think about the Yellow Pages. Not glossy paper - but who knows, that might be OK too.

The comments I've read here have seemed to say that many kinds of paper are fine to compost. Several people have said to shred or chop it first, so it doesn;t pack down into an airtight mass.

Corey

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 27, 2011
5:35 PM

Post #8719600

cOREY---

Thanks for your thoughts...I am not sure either...
I started shredding all my papers just now... Will keep them in some larger plastic trash bags
until I hear from more people...

This shredding is just the beginning of the end...I have so much crap to get rid of!

Happy gardening to you! Gita
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

July 27, 2011
5:57 PM

Post #8719661

Gita, you should feel fine using white paper, no doubt. Many computer papers are already made nowadays from recycled paper/products so it, too, should be safe. The majority of inks these days are soy based so that should not be a concern either.

I have no idea whether "glossy" paper is dis-advantageous; I can't see why it would be but I don't know what it goes through to make it glossy.

"Newsprint ink used to have a lot of carbon black in it, and someone said that was "bad for you" - but I guess that meant bad for people, not bad for soil organisms. "

Corey, newspaper ink used to contain lead and that is why it was frowned upon to use it. Nowadays newspapers use soy ink. I'm glad to say they moved to it but remember reading once they did so because it was cheaper, not because it was safer. Go figger, eh?

shoe

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 27, 2011
7:47 PM

Post #8719908

>> newspaper ink used to contain lead

GACK! That is one pollutant I DO worry about. To think that Rome used lead pipes!

>> Nowadays newspapers use soy ink. I'm glad to say they moved to it but remember reading once they did so because it was cheaper, not because it was safer.

Interesting. I hate that smeary stuff! I heard that it was because 'clean air' laws and OSHA prevented them from just blowing solvent fumes at the workers and out the windows, so that the necessary fans and scrubbers made it more expensive than modern inks.
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

July 28, 2011
6:36 AM

Post #8720607

That could be true, Corey.

And I suppose all those solvents probably even gave the workers a buzz, eh? No wonder newspaper journalism became written from a bent perspective! *grin

shoe

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 28, 2011
6:52 AM

Post #8720626

What I am shredding right now are all the monthly reports from an Investment Firm
where I have my IRA, and various other measly holdings. The paper seems heavier than
regular computer paper--but not by much.

If I add some of this to my composter, I will wet it down so as to decrease the volume.
Since I cannot turn anything over in this Stupid Earth Machine (S.E.M) --it will just sit on top and get burried
under piles of veggie and fruit trimmings. I eat so much of all that stuff--it's a wonder i am not a rabbit.

Thanks for your feedback, Guys! Gita

edited to add that I now have a 5gal. bucket sitting by all the coffee makers at my
local 7'Elaven. I go and pick it up every other day or so. Put a clean trash bag in it and take the 'stuff" home.
No one there seems to mind...

This message was edited Jul 28, 2011 8:55 AM
lisabees
Centennial, CO
(Zone 5a)

July 28, 2011
9:30 AM

Post #8720900

I shred & compost all kinds of paper, junk mail, statements, etc. - whatever I would shred for security reasons. I don't compost glossy stuff but that's really only because I have no need to shred that, & I always have plenty of shredded paper. I bag it & add it to the composter as I need browns.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 28, 2011
10:27 AM

Post #8721022

Thank you, Lisa...That is encouraging...

Just now I put in the composter piles of all the coffee filter papers that I fished out of the Coffee grinds I picked up this week.
I now have a totally full 5gal. bucket myself.
I also have a big bucket-full of wood ashes from my back yard neighbor's fire pit.
Any advice what ashes can best be used for???

I think I will buy a medium Tote to keep the grinds in.
Maybe I should get 2 of them. The other for ashes...

As long as the 7-Eleven Folks don't mind--I will keep my bucket there.
By now I just walk back there, lift out the full bag--replace it with a new one and leave.
They do not have to do anything...

Not as many people drinking hot coffee right now--with temps near 100*.

Gita

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 28, 2011
12:25 PM

Post #8721194

>> And I suppose all those solvents probably even gave the workers a buzz, eh?

What I recall from working at a chemical plant and cleaning up toluene spills is that it made me dopey, stupid, sleepy, sick to my stomach and gave me a headache.

So yeah, a lot like booze.

Corey
GardenSox
Sacramento, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 28, 2011
1:12 PM

Post #8721281

Perfect weather for iced coffee though!

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

July 28, 2011
1:39 PM

Post #8721338

gardensox--

Not sure 7-Eleven does iced Coffee...I cannot even imagine drinking cold coffee...

I am not a coffee drinker myself...and the little bit I do--I use "Tasters Choice"--
which is a freeze dried type of coffee. NO grinds from that!!!! Still tastes good!

Now--Iced Wine--that I will partake in. Gita

You cannot post until you register, login and subscribe.


Other Soil and Composting Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Clay poppysue 16 Oct 21, 2013 3:56 PM
Free compost, myth or truth JaiMarye 14 Oct 27, 2010 6:58 AM
Who Bakes Dirt 76summerwind 29 Apr 4, 2008 6:22 PM
sterilizing options tiG 22 Mar 29, 2008 7:47 PM
Soil & Fertilizer: Compost Tea SoCal 119 Mar 5, 2008 11:18 PM


We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2014 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.
 

Hope for America