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Tinybu88les8
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Location: Southern California

few soil questions

OKay, first of all...Im in the process of preparing the dirt for my garden. Im about done. After all the soil (mixed with compost) is laid out...do I need to buy top soil to place on top of that? Or do I top it off with more compost? Im a little confused on what to do. Also, I keep reading that plants need ground cover. My boyfriend wont let me use mulch because he doesnt want to attract termites. What do you recommend? Ive heard about hay and newspaper but I don't want to use those either. Im still so lost as to what flowers to plant. As well as veggies/fruits and making sure I plant them in proper places (half my garden gets a lot of light but the other half...not so much....maybe an hour or two...three at the most) If you could fill me in it would be greatly appreciated. :)

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Tinybu88les8
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oh and one more thing...

A far as planting fruit and veggies go...I don't know if I should buy seeds or buy already established plants. Maybe it depends on the plant? how do I know? Thanks guys!

cynthia_h
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Almost all of the answers to your questions depend on your climate: when to plant, what mulches are or aren't helpful, whether to plant from seeds or transplants in late April, etc.

What are your objections to hay and newspapers?

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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BrianSkilton
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What is the depth of your garden? Where do you live? If you live in a hot climate, you can start seeds year round. What I have used so far in my garden is top soil mixed with my clay soil, as well as compost, composted sheep and cow manure. I have also added fine and chunky mulch which seems to help keep the soil loose and less compacted. Since your boy friend wont let you use mulch I suggest using straw and decayed fallen leaves. Hope this helps.
Why buy produce when you can grow it?
-Nick

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Tinybu88les8
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I am in southern california. i prefer not to use hay because it is a mess and I don't have time to shred newspaper. PLus I want it to look nice too....a bunch of newspaper doesnt seem appealing to the eye. Im digging at least a foot into the ground....maybe more.

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rainbowgardener
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alternative to wood chips

A nice alternative to wood chips for mulch is what they call pine straw, which is basically collected pine needles. See https://www.pinestraw.com/?gclid=CLzuq-3ZkpoCFQgNDQodW0OoOQ for pictures and info about it. The pine straw is weathered to a very nice woodsy rich brown, it is very aesthetially appealing. I doubt it would be attractive to termites. (Not that I've really seen wood chip mulch attracting termites--I think they like boards and stuff that they can tunnel through. Termites never come out into the light until they swarm. In wood chips they couldn't tunnel very far without being out in the light again) Pine straw tends to be acidic, but that's a big plus for me with my too-limey soil. Lots of plants want the soil on the acidic side.

As far as what to plant, you need to say more about what you want to do. There's millions of choices. What do you want your garden FOR, how much space do you have, how much time to work it. You get more & better help, the more specific questions you can ask and the more information you can give about your situation.

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somegeek
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Interesting - looks like Ponderosa pine needles.

The Helpful Gardener
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Pine straw also adds turpene, which slows the bacterial side; there can be issues...really messes with composting...

Mulch to termites is mythic. Tell BF to bring back one documented case. He won't be able to find one...still wood is not the best compost for most veggies...

I like compost. It adds fertility and biology and turns into soil as it ages. And no wrangling with the BF...

HG
Scott Reil

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You mix the soil with whatever amendments you're using (compost, etc.) and then plant into that. You don't need to top it with anything except, possibly, mulch.

On the mulch question, I do use commercial compost as mulch. It serves pretty well for a year, and then next year I work it back into the soil and spread some more on top again. I don't like shredded-wood mulch.

What fruits and vegetables were you going to grow? I'll make some guesses and suggest:

Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant: Buy plants, grow in full sun.

Corn, cucumbers, pumpkins, squash: Plant seeds directly, grow in full sun.

Beans: Plant seeds directly, they'd like full sun but would tolerate some shade if you have no choice. Only three hours of sun is pushing it, though. Your shade area may need to be devoted to salad greens, and even they may struggle a bit.

Lettuce: Buy plants, will tolerate some shade. Seeds are fine later, but lettuce seed is a little tricky.

Carrots: Frankly? Don't bother the first year. I find them too tricky. But if you do try to grow them, it'll need to be from seed.

Herbs: Buy plants for almost everything but dill and perhaps basil, and put them somewhere permanent, because most will be perennials. (Check the tag for perennial versus annual.) They like full sun but will tolerate poor soil.

Raspberries: Some shade tolerance. Very little work, except to keep them under control. Very rewarding. But they spread like mad and you won't really get much of a harvest until next year.

Burnet



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