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Soil amendments...

Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

I posted this in the beginner veggie forum but thought it might go better here:

Hi all and thank you for all of your support for us newbies! And Shoe...he's awesome! He has a great answer for everything!
But now I want to pose this question to all and see what it will bring. I feel like I've gotten a late start on my seeds and my plantings outside...I've been fervently working on my soil. And since I wanted to start growing this season, I needed to do something rather quickly to 'condition' my soil. So, I thought I would do the 'lasagna gardening', cover it in plastic to bake, then til the soil into the existing soil and/or what it's become of it since the onset of my excellent lasagna. What are your thoughts on this? Think it will work? My tilling date is aimed for April 15th and planting that week. I should be finished with my layers of lasagna by this weekend, giving it 5 weeks to bake. Here is what I've added so far and what I plan on adding. If you think this will work, maybe with additional ingredients or other 'techniques'..please advise!
What's on there now:
layer of cardboard
layer of newspaper (6-8 sheets)
about a 6 inch layer of leaves, pine needles, grass clippings (all of which are from last fall which are already decomposing)

What I will be adding by the weekend:
layer of coffee grounds
another layer of newspaper (6-8 sheets)
layer of love
sprinkling of egg shells
layer of Espoma Organic Garden Manure
layer of Espoma Green Sand (Potash)

When I till on April 15, I will also incorporate Espoma Garden Tone (Organic Veggie Food), which has all 15 essential nutrients.
So what do you think my fellow freaks of nature?
Thanks so much...Pinger
And remember...Take time to 'moil in the soil' but make time to 'frolic in the fescue'...

Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

Sorry, Pinger, I cannot help you in this issue, but I like the layer of love!

I'm sure there will be other DG who can share their knowledge about this.

Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

I think that you have a very good chance that the soil will be very nice for you. What type of soil do you have? Don't forget to mulch after you till to keep the surface soft and moist.

Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

Hi Josephine...
I have the normal Carolinian red clay/a little sand too.
Thanks for the reminder about mulching...would not have remembered to do that.

McLean, VA(Zone 6b)

I have never done lasagna gardening, but from what I have read, it might be too late if you are planning to use this bed next month. If that does turn out to be the case, there are different soil amendments that you can use to help your soil.

I would go the local nursery, and ask them for extra fine mulch - they may sell it as a soil coniditioner. This made a huge difference in my heavy clay when I was starting a new bed last year. Then I would consider adding some additional amendments like lots of compost, and possibly some alfafa. I have been reading alot on the soil amendment forum, and it really sounds this is a natural way to improve your soil. I am planning to add some to my this year - once the deep freeze is over! I am also going to be using some kelp, messenger on my plants and fish emulsion.

If I am wrong, and there is enough time for everything to break down by next month, then I would still consider adding amendments. No one ever complains that their soil is too rich!

Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

I am in a new place, also. We didn't have any cotton crop last summer so I don't have that to use, but.......I just last week added lots of gypsum, bone meal, blood meal, immediate release N just to get started on some rows of flowers.....when we get a cotton crop this summer I will take a big portion of the garden not being used and go ahead and till in about 3" of cotton seed trash...it will be too hot this fall but I hope that by next spring, I can garden in the amended rows and do the same to the rest of the garden with the cotton seed trash.

Windsor, ON(Zone 6a)

Personally I don't think the cardboard or newspaper are going to do anything in the next month. Are you hoping for them to break down or are you using them to open the clay. I can see them to open clay, but you could also add very fine mulch to till into the soil for that too. It sounds like everything should have time to decompose before planting, because decomposition can get hot, causing damage to the tender roots.

McLean, VA(Zone 6b)

Here's another link to some information on lasagna gardening. My understanding is that it takes a few months for it to be successful. Hope this is helpful. If you need additional information, trying doing a search of old post.


Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

I have just finished reading the posts in the link you sent...WORD FOR WORD. I cannot thank you enough for finding this link. I am totally at ease with my decision to do a lasagna bed and I am looking forward to the best vegetables anyone has ever tasted!
All of the people who contributed in the thread, can't be wrong. I am so excited, I can't sit still any longer. I have to go and sow some more seeds.
I was having a very bad day today...and you have lifted my spirits higher than they have been for a few days now....and I just want to say.......THANK YOU!!!
Love and Peace,

"Take time to 'moil in the soil' but make time to 'frolic in the fescue'..."

McLean, VA(Zone 6b)


I'm glad that I could help.

Ankeny, IA(Zone 5a)

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have Terrable soil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's all mud and it floods every time it rains and i have to move my garden. I'm only 14 years old and my parents hate me digging up their yard. Any suggestions? Please Help!!! I have just planted seed today (Mar.31.07) and want to plant it withen the next few weeks.


Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Howdy, Chris...And a big WELCOME TO THE SITE!

It sounds like your garden might be in a flood area? Or on a big slope? Why does it wash away when it rains?

What you might want to try is a bordered raised bed. Can you put up some boards or landscape timers, or cinder blocks in a given area and fill that area with some good dirt? That would protect your soil/dirt from being washed away.

Also, what kind of seeds did you start today? And are you aware of your last frost/freeze date? That would be helpful if you could give us some more information.

Lastly, bigtime congrats to you for your gardening efforts! We're here for ya! Please keep in touch!

Friend Shoe.

Ankeny, IA(Zone 5a)

Yea I can't do ne of tht. I plantes some Violas. Johnny Jump Up's.

Ankeny, IA(Zone 5a)

Oh and the garden flooded yesterday. I just realised that it is downhill. I'm planting it closer too my house where there is somewhat of a grade so water will roll away from it.
Yes I am aware that there is a frost cut off date. The seeds are probobly dead now any way. I'm just gonna wait another day or 2 before I dig the garden area up. And are there any suggestions on composting for soil? Just send them to my D-mail. The thread on composting and soil quality is only for paying members.


Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Flyboy07, check this out http://gardens.com/learn/article/38/
and this too; http://davesgarden.com/articles/view/26/

I hope that helps.

Ankeny, IA(Zone 5a)

thanks for that.


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