is vermiculite important

dorothyroederApril 1, 2011

I am building some raised beds. Thanks to this group I know I can get compost from Singh's farm. I am wondering how much vermiculite does to retain water in the summer. I am not an experienced gardener. I have been using Kellog's Garden Soil in my present 2'x2' containers. Lots of wood product. Squash, except for the Delicia, are going great, and tomatoes are starting to grow fruit. Beets are wonderful, but yardlong beans are yellow and not growing past about 8 inches. I water every day and am not sure if they are getting too much water or too little. Tomato leaves are folded up and that should mean too much water.

I guess my question is that the wood chips seem to keep the soil loose. Is vermiculite needed also? Not a lot of money here.

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mister_gin(z9 AZ)

I'm not sure it's all that important to add it. I used it when I started my beds only cause I thought I had to. I have one growing area that does just fine with native soil and some compost thrown in. The greater importance is mulching. Can't get enough of the mulch now.

Also, I'd say you're overwatering now. I'm currently watering everything every 3 days or so and I haven't mulched yet. I need to soon though. Just because the soil is dry on top doesn't mean it needs to be watered yet. If the soil feels dry 2-3 inches below the surface then it may be time to water. Also, some plants, like squash & peppers, may wilt during the day even when already watered. Doesn't mean they need water, it's just what they do.

Take it from me, when I started I was an avid over waterer. I thought I had to be here, but I've learned some self control over these past few years.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 1:25PM
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Don't bother. If you have the usual valley clay or silt soil, all you have to do is keep it well mulched.

My raised beds started out with a 50/50 mix of native dirt (heavy clay here) and home-made compost. All I do is keep it topped up with more compost as it decays.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 1:51PM
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