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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just moved and have staked out an area where I'd like to start a garden next year. It gets about 6 hours of direct sunlight right now. But the soil is very sandy & stays damp.

What sort of material would you use to build up a layer of soil? Would you till it into the sand, or build up a bed atop the sand?

I have plenty of grass clippings, should have leaves in the fall, and there's a bunch of partially decomposed tree branches lying around - could those be chipped up and used as well?

In short, what would you do starting now to prep this ground to plant next spring (maybe corn, tomatoes, beans, peppers, squash)?

Thanks
 

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If you intend to use packaged, cow manure and/or garden topsoil, be careful. Some packaged cow manure and/or topsoil containing cow manure may contain Grazon which has passed thru the runiment's digestive system. This herbicide is used on pastures to control broad leaf plants and it does not break down quickly. It may reside in your garden for up to 5 years after adding manure, and will inhibit plant growth.

Use your own mulch and stay away from packaged product containing cow manure. I first heard about this in the gardening articles of Backwoods Home Magazine. On a side note, my garden was infected with nut grass from a nationally advertised brand of garden soil that I added to an garden expansion. The soil was hard red clay and I was trying to amend the soil for planting. Now I pull nut grass and dig the root nuts every year, nut grass laughs at Roundup.
 

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I made a mistake this year by using too high a concentration (30%) of Canadian peat moss with store bought Georgia dirt. It holds water too well and killed several of my potted plants.
Did not use it at all in my 10% sand / 90% GA dirt in the 4x8 planter and those plants are taking over the world.
 

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Mark it off, till it, and place plastic over it to kill grasses. After two months, buy the inexpensive bagged "Top Soil" at Lowes or Home depot. Do not buy Walmart. Till it in. Till in any hardwood leaves you can get, but southern grasses tend to be able to root with very small cuttings and take over. I'd avoid non-composted grass clipping into the mix..

It is good to have a slight raised bed. Till in more in February if it settles, and on a cold day, you will see steam rising from the composting of the leaves and the soil. Plant your garden when appropriate for your area, and top dress with more Top Soil, at about an inch deep.

Now is the perfect time to start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Mark it off, till it, and place plastic over it to kill grasses. After two months, buy the inexpensive bagged "Top Soil" at Lowes or Home depot. Do not buy Walmart. Till it in. Till in any hardwood leaves you can get, but southern grasses tend to be able to root with very small cuttings and take over. I'd avoid non-composted grass clipping into the mix..

It is good to have a slight raised bed. Till in more in February if it settles, and on a cold day, you will see steam rising from the composting of the leaves and the soil. Plant your garden when appropriate for your area, and top dress with more Top Soil, at about an inch deep.

Now is the perfect time to start.
Thank you sir!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Location is Coweta county
 

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Funny about the Walmart bagged soil (from a GA company)...Red letters, white bag
same stuff same bag is available at Lowes and HDepot but is more sandy red dirt rather than the black glop from Walmart.
 

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Funny about the Walmart bagged soil (from a GA company)...Red letters, white bag
same stuff same bag is available at Lowes and HDepot but is more sandy red dirt rather than the black glop from Walmart.
It's not the same, as WalMart buys cheap. I bought three bags to try it and tilled it in. Nothing would grow, and it looked like mineral, and not organic. Turns out by testing it, it was over half "fly ash", that dreck left over after burning coal. It is toxic. I dug it completely out of my garden and refilled it with organic.
 

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Sulfur and mercury compounds in your garden ? Ought to arrest the company doing this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Mark it off, till it, and place plastic over it to kill grasses. After two months, buy the inexpensive bagged "Top Soil" at Lowes or Home depot. Do not buy Walmart. Till it in. Till in any hardwood leaves you can get, but southern grasses tend to be able to root with very small cuttings and take over. I'd avoid non-composted grass clipping into the mix..

It is good to have a slight raised bed. Till in more in February if it settles, and on a cold day, you will see steam rising from the composting of the leaves and the soil. Plant your garden when appropriate for your area, and top dress with more Top Soil, at about an inch deep.

Now is the perfect time to start.
I did the first step. The staked out area is roughly 18x20 feet. I scraped up the grass, left the clumps lying there. It's about 2-3 inches deep before getting down to a hard packed layer of dirt. It's now covered with a plastic tarp.

About the top soil - I know what to look for at home depot, but would it be better to get a truck load of top soil locally? Maybe it's more expensive but I assume it's better stuff, if the seller is truly selling local soil?

From one ad:
This is rich, black composted horse manure/wood shavings/leaves that is great for gardens, flower beds, or as top soil and is also loaded with earth worms.
How about fencing? Deer are regularly in my yard, grazing. How high should a garden fence be?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It has taken a lot of work but I now have two raised beds, plowed to about 8", amended with local manure compost/top soil, and topped with another 2" of the compost. Corn, green bean, lima bean seeds were planted last weekend and now germinating. Tomatoes and sweet peppers are in the ground and seem to be doing well.

When planting the tomatoes yesterday, I noticed the soil stays very damp about 6" deep. If its that wet, how often should I water?

I also sprayed the back yard with liquid fence, so now the place smells like the cat house at a zoo. Planning to add some more animal deterrents. Any advice on what works well? I will add a fence if necessary, but would rather not have the back yard smelling and looking like a zoo, if at all possible.
 
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When planting the tomatoes yesterday, I noticed the soil stays very damp about 6" deep. If its that wet, how often should I water?
If it is that wet all the time you may want to plant on a raised bed.If not water when the plant looks like it needs it.You will know. As far as the animals it depends on what type. Live traps work well.You can relocate them to a Democrat neighbor across town.Depending on your location 22 bullet works really well.Hope your Garden turns out well.A garden is truly a wonderful thing to have and enjoy. Last night for supper we had cabbage from the garden along with carrots and new red potatoes from the garden.As bonus Mrs OWM steamed some broccoli from the garden and put a cheese sauce on it. A couple of pics.
Plant Plant community Land lot Tree Agriculture
Plant Plant community Leaf vegetable Grass Natural landscape
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
That is a nice looking setup! I am working with much less space but it is indeed a raised bed.

How tall is that fence - about 4 feet? Does it keep the deer out?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'll try to get some pictures. I just put in 4 4x4 posts and used untreated 2x6 planks as the sides. Used lag screws to secure those to the post.

If I was doing it over, I would use wider planks and thus make the bed a little deeper. More room to top it off when the underlying soil is churned.

Anyway I'm pretty much a novice at this, probably making some mistakes. But I could tell over the winter that weed like my setup, and so far, 1 week into my growing season, I'm getting decent germination and growth in the bed.
 
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