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Soil Development

Posted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:38 pm
by lewzer99
Hey guys,
I just started a garden at my college. The soil here is clay, not just clay-y but pretty much just clay. Intending to start a bed this spring I mixed some potting soil (left over from a friends container gardening endeavor) and some compost. I then planted some beans, primarily to put nitrogen in the soil (maybe with some luck I'll get some beans before winter kills them). I'll soon have some chicken manure aging to mix in for the spring, and some compost going. I was wondering if anybody had some suggestions for how to improve the soil.

Posted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:44 pm
by Kisal
Welcome to the forum! I'm glad you found us! :)

You're definitely on the right track toward improving your soil. You need to add organic materials. Check out our [url=]Compost forum[/url] for detailed information. :)

Preparing your soil

Posted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:08 pm
by keen gardener
Hi lewzer99

I am in Australia but there are some good websites you can log onto that have lots of information on soil preparation. 1. ABC TV Gardening Australia and 2. sandisgardenpatch. There you will find lots of helpful tips. Soil preparation is the same all around the world. Also suggest you get some gypsum and incorporate it into you soil. It will improve the drainage. Not a good idea to use old potting mix as it might contain disease. But if you make a compost heap, you can put it in that and kill the diseases by getting the temperature up over 60C. You do that by turning it regularly with your garden fork.

Once the beans have grown to about 50cm, treat them like a green manure crop and dig them in. Hard I know if you want to eat the beans.

Cheers Keen Gardener

Posted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:17 pm
by Canadian Farmer Guy
Welcome to the forum!

One thing you should do is monitor the PH level of your soil.
Chicken manure is very acidic, you may need to add some other ingredients to balance out the PH.


Posted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 4:29 pm
by lewzer99
Hey guys,
Thanks for all the feedback.
There were a few things I was mistaken/unclear about. First, turns out my manure source actually has horse manure not chicken. Also, the potting soil my friend used wasn't actually in pots. He filled a 4x8 raised bed with it... don't ask. Just wondering how those differences would change your recommendations.
Thanks again