marcodiego
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 6:59 pm
Location: Las Vegas

growing in las vegas

Hi! I am brand new at the green thumb thing. I am starting 4 raised vegetable beds, 4 x 4, 1 foot deep. I need some advice on what soil to fill them with. The pre mixed Dr Q vegetabel bags are quite expensive at my local nursery.

Questions:

What soil should I be using in my bed? Local topsoil is alot of clay and sand.

Do I need to fill it all the way to the top, 12 inches?

thanks
marcus

DoubleDogFarm
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:43 am

I'm thinking 75% of your Clay / Sand and 25% compost would be a good start.

I would fill all the way to the top. It will settle anyway. Then add more later.


Eric

marcodiego
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 6:59 pm
Location: Las Vegas

soil

u think i should use my own vegas soil? doesn't seem like a good mix for vegetables.
marcus

DoubleDogFarm
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:43 am

Yes I do. :wink: I feel it's always better to improve native soil than to truck in expensive top soil.

Take a look at this page. Slide presentation down the page.
https://web.extension.illinois.edu/homecompost/benifits.html

Eric

marcodiego
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 6:59 pm
Location: Las Vegas

thanks
marcus

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

What soil should I be using in my bed? Local topsoil is alot of clay and sand.
Native soils, most generally consist mostly of clay, silt and sand. Good place to start. Like Eric says add some compost and you should be good to go. Yes, those types of soils are what most of the worlds vegetables are grown on.

Clay is a very fine material. Small particle size. Silt has particles larger, and sand has particles even larger. Take a quart glass jar and fill it about 3/4 full of that local soil, then fill the jar with water and shake it up very well. Now set it down and don't touch until all the sediment settles. You should be able to see the layers of clay, silt and sand and get an idea how much of each the soil contains.

[url=https://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/]Clark County Soils[/url]

Check this site and see what you can learn about the local soil.

Actually in a hot dry climate like Las Vegas a soil with 20-30% clay will be a plus as it holds moisture well. Clay is also high in minerals. Clay is not really the "Dirty Word" that seems to be the popular notion on the internet. Only when soils are above 50% clay is it a big problem.

I don't know what you are placing your beds on, but I always suggest placing them on the local soil and using no barrier. This way the roots can go deep. Many of our garden plants send some roots to the 3 foot level and beyond. If the roots can go down, you won't need to water as often.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Wikipedia has a nice primer on soils. Worth a read for anyone wanting to grow plants.

[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soil]Soil[/url]
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
ReptileAddiction
Greener Thumb
Posts: 866
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 4:52 am
Location: Southern California

I highly disagree with what others said. It will be much more productive to you to make your own mix. I HIGHLY recommend this mixture.

1 part sand

2 part top soil

1 part organic matter

to fill one bed you will need approximately 6 bags of play sand 12 bags of topsoil 1 bag of fine bark mulch and a half a bale of peat moss. I also mix in a bunch of compost every year.

Methods originally from Cubed Foot Gardening by Christopher O. Bird (by the way GREAT book!)

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”