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How much soil to get?

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How much soil to get?

Postby Dumbo » Apr 25, 2012 11:25 am

So in about a week i'll be getting my garden soil (or something).

I'm not sure how much to get. New garden, so no soil already in existence.

Dimensions (rough): 30'x50'

In Quebec you order by the "verge".

This is one of those words you just grown up with. I never looked into what "verge" means. But wiki says it's 1 yard, https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verge_%28unit%C3%A9%29. Normally you pull up your 6 or 8 foot trailer, they dump the earth in it, call it a verge, charge you 30-40$ and you are on your way. It's just the way it works.

So how much soil would I need to turn into the clay? Is there a rule of thumb?
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Re: How much soil to get?

Postby Dumbo » Apr 26, 2012 10:33 am

n/m I found an online soil calculator to give me an approximation for costing it out.
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Re: How much soil to get?

Postby davefrombc » Apr 26, 2012 10:47 am

No soil in existence? Is it pavement, rock or a rooftop?.. ( just a little dig at your wording Marc)...What you'll want for amendments depends on the type of ground you're dealing with.you can't go wrong with lots of organics.. peat moss, mushroom manure,compost, rotted sawdust (fresh sawdust pulls nitrogen out of the soil as it breaks down). If you can get well rotted manure from a farm, great .
Chicken manure can be "hot". Use it sparingly unless it has had time to compost some before yo get it .. Cow manure is good. Horse manure is good , but can have a lot of weed seed in it; much more than you'll find in cow manure.
Any of the manures , well rotted, will do the job with little problem .
Unless the soil is near pure sand or clay, you shouldn't need to buy topsoil . As far as specific amounts to apply per square foot, I really can't give you a number. A "verge" of manure/ compost/ sawdust will cover the 30x50 ft. area 2" deep if I did the math right . Till that in and it would be a good start on the new garden area.. You can always supplement the soil during growing season by mulching between the rows with rotted sawdust and manure to reduce weeds and add some fertilizer, and it will be there to till in for the next season along with whatever additional material you want for next season.
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Re: How much soil to get?

Postby Dumbo » Apr 26, 2012 11:00 am

davefrombc wrote:just a little dig at your wording Marc.

lol no need to explain. I can take a hit ;) Maybe even two! :p

Yup. The other "breaking ground" topic covered a lot of that. Was just trying to cost it out.

Although this is for raised beds, it gave me an idea for costing:
http://www.gardeners.com/Soil-Calculato ... lt,pg.html

Since i'll be turning it in about 16 or so inches, I may need a couple.

I haven't decided yet if I will get the regular black earth and 1 verge (cubic yard?) of compost to top it off, or just the garden soil (I called, it's a mix of black earth, top soil and compost).

I could always use a 1/4 inch of compost on the lawn as well.... If I had extra I know the neighbours would happily take it.

So it's just a costing exercise (ballpark pricing).

I'm leaning on 2 or 3 (maybe 3+ if I take compost).

Saw dust... Never saw/noticed that here.

EDIT:
Forgot to mention...
I think sawdust and other wood soil amendments is better to add once you close the garden up for the fall/winter. Been reading a bit on it and how it decomposes and ties up "available" nitrogen.
So being a newb this may be something I would add in the fall, then late May of the following year do a quick nitrogen test (3$) before planting.

At least this is what I understood about adding wood type amendments.
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Re: How much soil to get?

Postby davefrombc » Apr 26, 2012 11:15 am

Fresh sawdust does rob the soil of available nitrogen as it rots. It is ok to use it for between the rows mulch during growing season , and is tilled in at the end of the season to rot over the winter so the nitrogen hit is minimal. Well rotted sawdust is pretty much nitrogen neutral .
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Re: How much soil to get?

Postby Dumbo » Apr 26, 2012 11:34 am

ah mulch. This is where I actually found the info on available N being tied up.

From what I read, for a veggie garden, cedar mulch is the worse N robber.

I'm kind of split on mulch. For a flower garden, yeah sure. For a veggie garden... can't say I ever saw one with mulch on it.

I don't know if I'll do this. I'm leaning towards no.
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Re: How much soil to get?

Postby davefrombc » Apr 26, 2012 11:58 am

Cedar is the slowest rotting of all our native wood sawdusts and chips . That is one reason it is used as a ground cover in landscaping where they want to inhibit weed growth using wood chips that will last several seasons. Blueberry farmers here use hemlock sawdust as a mulch on the bushes because it helps acidify the soil for them while inhibiting the weeds. Rotted hemlock is preferred , but most of the farms here load on the fresh sawdust from local mills .
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Re: How much soil to get?

Postby Heidi S » Apr 26, 2012 12:38 pm

Hey Dumbo (Marc),

I understand your dilemna.

I am currently expanding my raised beds from 8" x 2 x 10 ft lumber to use the stackable corners from Lee Valley, so I can double the height. The frames also ended up being a bit wider than the originals as they are no longer butt-joined when using the corners.

Of course, I have to fill the taller boxes and have to decide what to put in. I did a soil test on the existing soil, and find I have neutral PH, very low nitrogen, normal P, and low Potash.

When I originally built the beds, I placed them on top of existing grass on top of almost pure sand (natural to this area) and filled with quite an assortment of left-over hanging basket soil, compost, manures etc. I am realizing I haven't really been overly concerned about the nutrients for a while, and it shows in last years mediocre crop, and the low results in the soil test.

I am adding more compost, steer manure, and bagged soil (much easier for me to deal with). I am also mixing up an organic fertilizer from a Steve Solomon recipe to dose the whole area. I am using this mix to refresh my greenhouse boxes which are also depleted. I will also be testing the soil annually from now on! Winging it has its limitations, obviously!

The whole thing is a big mess right now, but you have to break eggs to make an omelet, as they say. I look forward to some nicer veggies sometime soon.

IMG_8000.jpg
building the first box
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Re: How much soil to get?

Postby Heidi S » Apr 26, 2012 12:42 pm

Oh, the clematis towers are going to remain, and I am going to box them in, to allow the soil to remain the same height and not get buried. I supposed I could dig them up and replace them in the higher level, but that is so much work an I am hoping this idea will work.
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Re: How much soil to get?

Postby Dumbo » Apr 26, 2012 12:56 pm

Yup, *if* i go raised, I will fix that up in the fall.

And like you, I would want it higher off the ground. More than 12-inches for sure.

EDIT:
I recall reading that raised beds lose N-P-K faster (don't know how true this is), so it may indeed be idea to check your raised bed each season.
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