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<  Composting, Mulch, and Soils  ~  How to rejuvenate old garden soil.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:18 am
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:17 pmPosts: 20
I am attempting to get my Dad's old garden growing again. Nothing has been growing there except weeds for at least 4 years. When he was still gardening, he had roses in one section and general veggies in another. I turned over the soil last week since it was pretty had packed from the dogs walking on it. It looked nice & dark but there were absolutely no worms, which is my judge of healthy soil.

What can I add, preferably organic, to get this sol healthy & productive? This fall, I plan on planting garlic, shallots, parsley, cilantro, and a few broccoli.



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:41 am
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pmPosts: 1927Location: PNW
Compost would be the best thing to add if you can get any. Check out your local area to see if anyone has compost for sale, such as people with horses, chickens, or other animals. Look through the compost forum for good advice to make your own too. Good luck!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:14 pm
User avatarJoined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:14 amPosts: 106Location: Ontario
jomoncon wrote:
What can I add, preferably organic, to get this sol healthy & productive? This fall, I plan on planting garlic, shallots, parsley, cilantro, and a few broccoli.

My opinion, Compost Tea. It will help to condition the soil, helping with the compaction. It will also replace the bacteria lost by compaction and lack of use far quicker than other amendments.
Compost, rotted sawdust, manure, even cardboard and newspaper in the Lasagna gardening style will help, but 'feed' to get the bacteria working again.
I have just discovered 'Molasses' as a soil conditioner. Dilute 1 tablespoon per gallon and use as a soil drench. It works on the basic sugar principle, feeding the bacteria, wakes them up. You can also use it to keep the Cabbage whites off the brassicas, seems they don't like it. It worked for me!
Lots of hard work, but satisfying!!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:36 pm
User avatarJoined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:37 pmPosts: 70Location: Calgary, AB
Depends what is missing from the soil too. If you plant from the legume family (beans, alfalfa) they have the ability to pull N from the atmosphere and make it availlable to plant roots. Just don't remove the plants and roots, till 'em into the soil. Wood ash can add P and K. Compost is great. You can get large bags of coir and aged manure from a garden centre to till into the soil.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:28 am
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:17 pmPosts: 20
Well, what I've done so far is this: I was lucky enough to find a pile of sort-of compost. The guy who had been cutting the grass since Dad died, had been piling up the larger branches & weeds in an out of the way place instead of carting them off. No one ever goes into this section of the yard & it can't easily be seen. After removing the top layer, I have some compost!!

Plus, I put together 2 wire bins made from some wire with about 3" squares. This is where all the new compost stuff is going. I had a talk with the gardener - who's English is not too good. He understands that all the new stuff is to go into the bins & he'll even turn it over every time he comes.

I am going to make tea with it, following the instructions at http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate ... a/tea1.htm.

One question - after I make the tea, can I put the "leftover: stuff that's strained out into the garden?



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 6:14 pm
User avatarJoined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:14 amPosts: 106Location: Ontario
jomoncon wrote:
One question - after I make the tea, can I put the "leftover: stuff that's strained out into the garden?

Sure. It will still have lots of good stuff in it.
Might I suggest you follow the other links you quoted, in particular the 'Soilfood Web'. It's important you 'fully' understand what you're doing to avoid pathogens.
You might also consider putting your compost in an old shirt or similar, otherwise it will be impossible to 'spray' due to bits and pieces clogging the spray head.
Good Luck with this, you won't regret it.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:22 pm
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 6:56 amPosts: 34Location: Raleigh
First up, sorry to hear about your dad.... Both of my parents have passed on and I miss them.

Next up, how is the garden coming along? Did the garlic do well?



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:27 am
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:17 pmPosts: 20
I followed everyone's advice & now I'm on my way to having very healthy soil. In the fall, I planted some garlic, broccoli, scallions, and a few shallots. The broccoli was beautiful & I had enough to even freeze some. The scallions came out really great & they are all chopped up in the freezer. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how long it takes for garlic to grow & I really needed the space for green beans. So a week or so ago, I pulled the garlic up before it matured. However, I chopped them up as you would scallions and these are really delicious. Not quite as strong flavored as garlic heads, but a definite garlic flavor. I just love these! I'm using them as I would scallions/green onions and they're working out great. I think I'll do the same thing next year and grow the garlic just for the green tops.

I'm continuing to improve my soil. I located a place for chicken & horse manure and am aging this. I've also decided to expand the garden & planted some peas in a kind of bad area. These I'll till back into the soil to improve it. Then next year, or maybe this fall I can plant there also.

It's interesting - several of the old neighbors have walked by & seen me working in the garden. They all had to tell be how much this reminder them of my Dad & how they enjoyed the excess veggies he always gave away. My gardening has also brought a smile to my Mom as she remembers the years of Dad's garden. While I don't think my garden will ever be as big as he had, I enjoy his gardening as much as he did.



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:01 pm
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pmPosts: 1927Location: PNW
I bet it's healing for you to be working his garden too. He'd probably be thrilled to know you took it over and it sounds to me like your on your way to producing gardens like he did. Enjoy and keep up the good work!


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