Dickexe
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Location: East Sussex

Dry Cracked soil

i have just started to develop a veg plot.
The soil is dry and cracked. please can any one advise me what is best to add to the soil ie horse or mushroom compost

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rainbowgardener
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I can't answer that specifically, is one thing or another better for getting your soil to hold water, but I believe that what you want is a diversity of organic material. Start a compost pile now, so that you will have good homemade compost for the spring. In the meantime well-composted animal manures, mushroom compost, fall leaves, whatever else you can get your hands on, till it all in (NOW). Then mulch well (wood chips, leaves, whatever you have) or plant a winter cover crop (green mulch) and keep your soil watered until it freezes. The winter cover crop only works if you have time left before freezing for it to sprout. But water anyway, to help break down all the stuff you tilled in and get all the soil biology going.

If you do this stuff now, your soil will be in a lot better shape for spring planting (at which point you will have compost to add! :) )

GeorgiaGirl
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Location: Metro Atlanta, GA (zone 7)

Great suggestions from rainbow, but the one thing I would recommend in addition is sheet mulching (basically, instead of having a compost pile somewhere, you compost right where the garden would be -- do a search for sheet mulching or sheet composting or lasagna gardening).

I had a flower bed that looked like this... I put down a layer of grass clippings, then a thick layer of wetted-down newspapers, a layer of mushroom compost over that, then a layer of wheat straw. Within only a MONTH there were earthworms all under it, tilling the soil for me, and it was already starting to transform my dry, cracked soil (before photo attached!) into dark, crumbly soil. If you start now by sheet mulching your future veg plot, by spring the soil will be amazing.

[img]http://www.juliagreerphotography.com/images/drysoil.jpg[/img]

(I need to take an "after" photo!)
Julia in Georgia

huskie
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Location: Snellville, Ga

gotta love that Georgia red clay :)

But it could be worse....we could live in Tx. In some areas there the soil is beyond help :(

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gixxerific
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GeorgiaGirl wrote:Great suggestions from rainbow, but the one thing I would recommend in addition is sheet mulching (basically, instead of having a compost pile somewhere, you compost right where the garden would be -- do a search for sheet mulching or sheet composting or lasagna gardening).
That is basically what I do but add in a tiller. I add grass clippings, leaves, horse manure, whatever compost I have and till it all in during the fall or spring or both. I have a new house (2years) with as you would expect a new garden. My soil is a 1000 times better than when I started. The amount of earthworms in there is simply incredible. I wish I would have taken a pic of them when I was harvesting my sweet potatoes today, they were simply everywhere. Did I mention it was clay and rock before I started, I can't wait till next spring it will most amazing. :D

rot
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Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

Too lazy to till

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Put as much organics as fast as possible into the ground.

GeorgiaGirl makes a great point. Two things I can get readily and maybe you can too is coffee grounds and grass clippings.

Coffee grounds first and grass clippings on top of that. The worms dig the coffee grounds and the grass clippings keep the grounds from crusting over. Grass clippings won't blow away in the wind like a dry leaf mulch so for wind exposed areas, top with grass clippings.

Don't know about where it snows but it does a lot out here in dry sunny cal.

Like someone else said: mulch to the teeth.

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