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improving tired raise bed soil


 
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pollen jim
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:25 pm    Post subject: improving tired raise bed soil Reply with quote

hi , im growing my own veg and flowers now for last 4 years with good success but i know if i was doing this for a 1000 years i be still a novice, and thats what has me hook on it. my question is whats the very best way to improve the soil in raise beds, they get tired over the years, i crop rotate the best i can do. i all so use old rotten manure (the stuff in bags you buy) depending on crop, and growmore. this year im was thinking of kitchen compost, manure and seaweed pellets to the correct amounts, anyone that feel they can contribute to this post, i would be in your debt, thks. im also new to the forum, 1st post.
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Darwin.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jim, this is only my 3rd year growing veg so you've got more experience than me. I'm sure you'll get better advice from others but I'd say making your own compost would be a great start. All uncooked veg matter from the kitchen could go into a composter as well as grass cuttings, egg shells well broken up, egg boxes, even weeds, just not the roots.

It would take a few years for it all to break down and be useful but well worth the wait.
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Greengage
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well rotted farmyard manure dug in over the winter would be good for it, If you could double dig it as well and add grit to help drainage, continually working the soil like this will improve the structure.
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davidk
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been putting FYM on the top of the beds at the end of the season and cover with soil and dig it again in the spring. Don't know if that is the right way.
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pollen jim
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i will give this a go, thks to all, i was doing this in febuary only
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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that this is probably the best question I have seen on the forum ever. it deals with the nub of the problem in most soils ie the structure and the availability of nutrients. Constant digging or cultivation leads to a breakdown of soil structure though making the soil more friable and easier for the roots to penetrate. If no organic matter (humus or compost or farmyard manure) is added then the soil becomes lifeless almost dead until it renews itself gradually and naturally again by growing weeds which die and rot into the soil thereby raising the organic matter content. Selected weeds and plants adapt to different levels of humus. When a grass field is first dug up for growing crops it is rich in organic matter though maybe a poor structure (hard to dig and make a good seed bed.
Always try and add in compost or organic matter. Make a compost heap and allow it to rot, then use the rotted material by digging it into the soil when preparing seed beds, anything that is not rotted put it back in again. For best results treat a small area with a heavier dose rather than a light dose over a large area. If you want to see the benefit more clearly grow a few potatoes in pure compost or a few cabbages or beans and compare with those that get no compost. Every garden should have three compost heaps, one being made, another being used and the third one rotting.
When using the compost mix it with the soil to a depth of about 30 cms (12 inches).
Nutrients are a separate issue and these are easy to add. A sandy soil has poorer structure than a heavy loam. A medium loam usually has the best structure and best availability of nutrients but it still benefits from the addition of humus.
michael brenock

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pollen jim
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

that makes alot of sense Micheal, put do you recommend adding compost in winter or spring, also i heard it said that compost can take what nitrogen is left in the tired soil out, if so do you add growmore or similar,jim
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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Putting on compost in the Winter will be slightly wasteful. The compost is broken down by soil bacteria and they usually need a temperature above 6 deg C to function. Putting it on in Spring gets a quicker response and is less wasteful. any Nitrogen released into the soil is washed out if not used or taken up by plant roots. Adding a Nitrogen rich compost usually gives the crop a kick start until there is sufficient available from the rotting compost. My advice is to add a small amount of Nitrogen at the start of the year. Adding too much is bad as roots will not be encouraged to travel for other nutrients. Hope this is helpful.
michael brenock

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pollen jim
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thk you, very happy, micheal
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avs0020
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

michael brenock wrote:
Putting on compost in the Winter will be slightly wasteful. The compost is broken down by soil bacteria and they usually need a temperature above 6 deg C to function. Putting it on in Spring gets a quicker response and is less wasteful. any Nitrogen released into the soil is washed out if not used or taken up by plant roots. Adding a Nitrogen rich compost usually gives the crop a kick start until there is sufficient available from the rotting compost. My advice is to add a small amount of Nitrogen at the start of the year. Adding too much is bad as roots will not be encouraged to travel for other nutrients. Hope this is helpful.
michael brenock


Michael - can you give us an idea on an appropriate ratio for the nitrogen per square meter. Thanks
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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

half an ounce per square metre but this may need to be given at intervals of 6-7 weeks depending on temperatures and rates of growth. If growing conditions are good then more Nitrogen is required, A large plant requires more Nitrogen than a smaller one. Humus or organic matter (compost) releases Nitrogen gradually and releases it more freely in warm conditions similar to plants requirements.
michael brenock

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avs0020
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Michael
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