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Author Topic: Processing my own soil for gardens  (Read 1496 times)

Offline jvalentour

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Processing my own soil for gardens
« on: January 30, 2017, 09:41:03 pm »
My home site is on top of a hill.  The top soil was scraped off for construction and all that remains is clay and rock. 
I didn't bother to try and plant the soil, I built several raised beds last winter as our garden.
I ordered up a delivery of garden soil for my beds last year and was disappointed in the quality.  I was thinking I could some how dig up some of the good soil from other places on site.  Problem is the good soil is thin and covered in plant material. 
How would I kill off the vegetation from the soil to keep weeds out of the garden after I dig it up?
This raised bed would be 12x6x3. 

Offline GSF

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2017, 08:32:47 am »
I've read that one concern you should have when improving clay soil is with beds. It seems if you dig the clay out and replace it with compost what you could end up with is an area that's too wet for roots.

In my garden I have an area that has a lot of red clay. Over the last few years I've dumped leaves, goat poop, ect on it. I worked it in and the color went from red to a blackish red.
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Offline divemaster1963

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2017, 02:29:46 pm »
if you for a pine grove that has lots of needles down. rake off the needles and scrape the first 2 inches off then cover back with the needles. when you add this to your fall garden bed add some lime t to kil off the weeds. my parents had us do this every year  and added leaves. we did this for 6 200 foot green houses. you put a seed in it and be picking in 2-3 weeks. don't dig holes in cla
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y your making a pond. build wall on down hill side dug into ground about foot and build up behind it. this way you have the clay added to mix for drinage. the over flow will run thought the wall.

john.                                                 
« Last Edit: February 02, 2017, 07:56:42 pm by divemaster1963 »

Offline bwallace23350

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2017, 04:07:16 pm »
I would try to improve the soil naturally. Plant cover crops, green manures, and actual real manure. I would also try to heal the soil around your house.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2017, 04:44:57 pm »
How would I kill off the vegetation from the soil to keep weeds out of the garden after I dig it up?
This raised bed would be 12x6x3.

If you are going to use chemicals you spray Roundup.  If you wan t to do it organically you let the seed germinated and either cover with a tarp or till it.  Let it grow, till it, let it grow till it.  You can also just grow what you want and then till or pull the weeds.
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Offline Rurification

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2017, 09:13:51 am »
We've done this.   

One year I covered the kill area with black plastic and let it sit in the sun for a a couple of weeks.  I did that once it got good and warm.  Worked great.   If you're trying to prep new beds now, it might not get hot enough under there to kill all the annual seeds. 

One year I covered the area with black geo cloth and cut holes in it for the new plants.  That worked, too.    Then we mulched and I added new plants, but had to cut into the geotex which was harder than just digging a hole.     We used this for my raised beds and it worked great.  FIrst I skimmed off the layer of grass, then covered with geotex and put the bed on top.  12 inch deep beds.  Full of sand, leaves, chicken dirt, etc.   Best veg ever.  Didn't have to mess with the geotex under it because it was so deep.

We've used round-up but it will take more than one spray.   First the perennials come up and you spray them, but then the annuals come up and you need to re-spray. 

I'm sympathetic.   We're on clay, too.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2017, 09:34:53 am »
it might not get hot enough under there to kill all the annual seeds. 

That is why you pull the tarp off, stir the soil and let the weeds germinate again and then cover.  If you plow the next year the cycle starts again because the seeds six inches or less below the surface don't germinate until plowing brings them to the surface.  Seeds remain viable for many years deep in the soil.
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Offline divemaster1963

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2017, 12:14:55 pm »
mymon and dad said that was why they usedlime to kil the weed seed down deeep.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2017, 02:03:38 pm »
I have heard of putting lime on to balance the PH.  I have never heard of it killing seeds unless you over did it and then how would you grow in that soil?
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Offline divemaster1963

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2017, 11:16:43 pm »
they would use it in the fall and till then cover with plastic then once month if no snow remove and till again then cover. they said it would keep moving and breaing up the seed so the lime could kill it. they had 6 gardens that  that where 40 by 100 feet took us 6 years to do this and after they turned them into greenhouses that grew vegatbles year round and flowers that where never ment to grow in their area. the flower shops would come out to harvest special flowers that my mom just love to grow. gave them away. I was afraid to get it on my skin because i would not know if a flower would grow. :tongue:

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Offline Acebird

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2017, 09:17:37 am »
they said it would keep moving and breaing up the seed so the lime could kill it.

Yes tilling brings the seeds to the surface but how did they germinate if it was covered?  And seeds are temperature sensitive so if you only did this in the fall and winter, summer seeds wouldn't germinate.  The only way I can see this working is if the soil was so acidic that they could put down a heavy coat of lime to burn the seeds.  I don't think you want to do that if your soil is fertile to start with.
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Offline divemaster1963

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2017, 12:16:46 pm »
it took six years to get it the way she wanted it. so it would grow rare varieties of plants. she had PhD's in Horticulture ,  mathematics, financial, and Banking institutions. she was president CEO of bank in mid Atlantic ( east coast).
It was the hobby she had to decompress. I guest she added the lime and covered and tilled it to burn the weed seed before it could germinate. all I know was that it was the blackest and richest soil that I ever saw. you could grow any thing in it. there were aways photographers at the property taking photos of all the gardens and exotic plants.

john

Offline Acebird

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2017, 02:30:03 pm »
Interesting method.  It would be nice to know the details to make it work.
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Offline minz

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2017, 03:55:00 pm »
Use clear plastic to kill the seeds. The heat will get so great that it will also kill all of the bacteria (both good and bad).
I had the exact same experience with raised beds and flat beds. I started with (4) 5x20 foot beds. The 4 way garden mix seemed to be mostly saw dust and bark. I sent in a soil sample and they said that I had so much organic material that the seed would not germinate without a constant watering or a cover. It is good for spring crop and tomatoes but not much else.
Friend sold me his dads Troybuilt Horse rototiller and I started  flat garden (about 20x50). My neighbor burns his grass and leaves and was killing me with smoke so I asked him to layer it between the rows on my flat gardens (leaves cover the garden for most of the winter).  The soil used to be so hard that I needed a pick and now the? big flat? never has an issue.
I also fence the chickens on the flat during the winter-works good for bugs and small germinating seeds.
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Offline jvalentour

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2017, 02:17:03 pm »
Use clear plastic to kill the seeds. The heat will get so great that it will also kill all of the bacteria (both good an

d bad)
.

Will this method allow me to plant this season?

Offline minz

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2017, 10:50:07 pm »
It would not here in the cloudy rainy NW. Tarp it, the warm soil will get the weed seeds to germinate. Till and retarp.  I do find that tarping the area after tilling the seeds will all sprout.  Then you till it again and tarp again (I usually lime it at this point and spread a thin layer of triple 16 to help break down all the leaves and grass). I think it is called Solarizing
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Offline GSF

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2017, 03:46:54 pm »
Lime changes the PH in the soil making it inhospitable for some plants to grow. I limed my field last fall and now wish I hadn't. The dandelions looks bad but my target was field sage. Now that I have a better tractor I'll be piece milling the field hopefully changing it into what I want to see.
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Offline jvalentour

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2017, 10:40:40 pm »
Ok,
Thanks for your comments.  I should have been more specific for my needs.
The purpose of the soil is to put into a 6x20x2 raised bed and grow vegetables or like in 2017.

I would be digging soil from lowland wooded areas.  It would include rock, seed, black dirt and living things. 
In my head I screen the soil some how to eliminate rock, then treat to use in garden in the current year, 2017. 

I can add creek sand, decayed tree, leaf mulch and what ever you can think of from wooded creek land.

Next year is the meadow and extreme hillside I have cleared for larger production.

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated. 

Offline CrazyTalk

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2017, 05:02:53 pm »
Clay actually makes for really good gardening once you start getting some organic material into it - it has a ton of mineral content. I'm renovating quite a bit of acidic clay at the moment, and the process is to basically collect anything that will rot and start that process - wood chips, old hay/straw, etc. In the short term it'll help keep the clay damp and help the plants gain a foothold, and in the long term you'll end up with very black, very nutrient rich topsoil. Tilling wood/mulch in initially can help jumpstart the process, but IMO constant tilling does more damage than good.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2017, 05:15:28 pm »
That is what I plow into my garden, wood chips and chicken poop.  It would be nice to get horse poop but then you have to battle the weeds.  Grasses are the worse because they don't scrap well with the machine I made for weeding.
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Offline minz

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2017, 01:05:24 am »
Fill up your garden right on plan. Sent off a soil sample to your local extension agent and he will tell you what to do and how to do it. I hate to send them the $10 but it was not the advice I was expecting.
I got my sunroom table packed full of starts of tomato?s basil eggplants catnip and some rosemary, In the ground I have peas, radishes, beets, lettuce, kale. Let?s get this party started!
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Offline bwallace23350

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2017, 09:06:48 am »
Fill up your garden right on plan. Sent off a soil sample to your local extension agent and he will tell you what to do and how to do it. I hate to send them the $10 but it was not the advice I was expecting.
I got my sunroom table packed full of starts of tomato?s basil eggplants catnip and some rosemary, In the ground I have peas, radishes, beets, lettuce, kale. Let?s get this party started!

What did they tell you?

Offline stung again

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2017, 03:04:23 pm »
I tried the Back to Eden method, but in raised beds. Worked well.      Only problem was as the wood chips composted they initially heated up for a while. I had to give it some time before I could plant.

Offline bwallace23350

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2017, 09:07:36 am »
I tried the Back to Eden method, but in raised beds. Worked well.      Only problem was as the wood chips composted they initially heated up for a while. I had to give it some time before I could plant.

Cool. Thanks for the link

Offline 220

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2017, 08:58:18 pm »
My yard at home is a very heavy clay, in wet weather it becomes extremely water logged with pools of water on the surface, in dry conditions it sets like concrete and then cracks with cracks up to 1.5" wide. I also have a few large trees nearby that love to send roots into anything you try to improve.
Best decision was to go to raised beds and start from scratch. I put a sheet of plastic down as a root barrier and 2' raised beds above it. Soil for the raised beds came from the farm, 50/50 clay from where we were feeding cattle hay, probably more organic matter and manure than clay and then alluvial from along the creek.

Offline Captain776

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2017, 05:50:59 am »
I used to have a compost pile of all the typical things like food scraps, lawn clippings, fish guts and carcasses, Pest moss, rich dark loam, raw green wet cow manure, coffee grounds, lime and every month or so I would uncover it and roto till it.
After 2 years I took a sample to the nursery to have it tested...........they told me, whatever you are doing, keep doing it, you have very rich well balanced soil...........it was by accident, not by skill
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2017, 09:23:16 am »
you have very rich well balanced soil...........it was by accident, not by skill

Not by accident.  Rich soil is made by varied amounts of organic waste combined with dirt.  Unfortunately because of the chemicals fed and injected into domestic animals their waste may not be so good.  We pay far more for the organic feed for our chickens then what the eggs are worth but their waste goes into our gardens and that gives back a little more to balance the cost.
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Offline minz

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2017, 05:00:33 pm »


What did they tell you?
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That I had so much organic matter in the garden that the seed will not germinate unless I water it 3 times a day or cover it with something. Work in some clay soil from the bottom of the garden beds, stop using a cover crop but cover it for the winter with a plastic.
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Offline Captain776

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #28 on: May 04, 2017, 09:29:27 pm »
I kept a pile of Rich dark Loam beside the compost pile and I would use that to cover what I added.
One time I brought back too much cow manure to till into the garden so I dumped it into the Loam pile.
When I planted, I had Summer Squash seeds left over, so I took some of them and pushed them into the raw cow manure.
I thought the acid in it would burn the seeds and NOTHNG would happen, but instead, it grew crazy, the leaves on the squash in the manure were twice as big as what was growing in the garden, the squash was bigger, dark yellow instead of pale yellow.
I would bring anything we couldn't eat to work and whoever wanted it could take what they wanted.
I had 2 co-workers raving about the squash and the taste..........then they asked.......what did you do, how did you grow this, never tasted squash like this before.
I told them.........you may not want to know...........do your own experiment, it definitely works for yellow summer squash
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #29 on: May 05, 2017, 08:50:35 am »
That is how you plant squash and pumpkins.  As the pumpkin grows you shoot up the vines with milk and the pumpkin gets as big as a cow.
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Offline jvalentour

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #30 on: July 13, 2017, 01:10:46 am »
For a follow up. 
I dumped the soil into a 6x12x2 raised bed.  I went for the gold and threw some store bought potting soil on top.  I then covered with cardboard. 
I made 4"x4" cutouts for 3 rows of pepper plants.  then I covered with leaf mulch. 
So far the peppers are doing well and I have no weed problem.  Plenty of moisture. 
Planted 6/1 and getting lots of buds last week. 
Soil seems to remain moist so far.
Green, Red and Yellow peppers.  Hope I get lucky! 
Any advise on fertilizer?

Offline Acebird

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Re: Processing my own soil for gardens
« Reply #31 on: July 13, 2017, 09:54:31 am »
Chicken manure in the fall.
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