Cover Crops? Clay? Help a rookie out!!

greenepastures(9)February 2, 2013

Hi folks. I've been doing my research and on this site there are several who propose a mixture of some clay in order to fortify our sandy soil. My question is how much per square foot?. For example, I have a 80sq ft garden (4ftX20FT) much clay should be mixed in?

Also, when should cover crops be planted? Which ones are best suited for local soils? Im in Cenral FL, Mango/Plant City area.

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Hairy indigo has proved to be a thriving well-adapted leguminous cover for me in north-central. I have tons of it in seed right now so if you want I'll mail you some.

Did you ever find a source for humate? If you ever have reason to go near Deland, there is a retailer there that sells it at reasonable cost. You won't need a lot for 80 ft.

Clay will be very difficult to incorporate evenly unless it is dry and powdered. Are there threads about this idea on this forum?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 2:33PM
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jason83(Zone 8b/9a (North Florida))

If you're going to go through the trouble of adding clay, it may be better to simply add organic matter. The one virtue of having sand is that it's easy to dig and work the good stuff into it. A good loam is considered to be 40-50% sand, 25% clay, and 25-30% mixture of organic matter, mineral, ore, decomposed granite, rock, etc.

So if you do want to give it a shot, try adding about 25% or so, but that doesn't exclude the usage of organic matter either. Just keep adding OM and mulch; eventually all you'll need to add is mulch. Grass clippings, leaves, wood chips, pine straw, anything you can get your hands on, really :)

I heard someone on GW mentioned using Azomite and Humate in our sand and it working out really well. I've not done a whole lot of research on it yet, but it certainly caught my attention. The more minerals, the more microbe and aerobic activity. The creepy-crawlies will do all the tilling/mixing in to get a nice healthy blended soil.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 5:09PM
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Jason, that was me.

I can say pretty much without doubt that azomite had a remarkable effect on some crops I grew up north in a light soil this past season. In florida we have been using azomite and humate for about a year. What I can say is it is the best garden we've yet had in central florida by a long shot, but it is also on a moister site that we moved to at the same time as using these amendments, so it is difficult to separate out the various factors.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 10:18AM
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I'd love some...please send to:
Farmer Greene
6708 Towhe Drive
Seffner FL 33584

Can I plant them now or do I wait until later on?

By the way..I can make a trip to Deland...Please tell me the name of the humate product & the name/address of the place where it can be purchased.

Thanks again!!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 1:42PM
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Dear Jason83:

Adding organic matter is a given...I add plenty of compost, coffee grounds, horse manure (when aailable) and straw as mulch. However, the best soil in my yard is right outside my guest bedroom window. It is a dark brown/reddish soil & it's wonderful stuff! I'm thinking the builders added clay in that area for some reason because it's the corner of the house.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 3:09PM
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Ok, farmer Greene, farmer Brown will get them out to you shortly.

The place in Deland is "quality green specialists". Dana there is super-knowledgeable, as a former extension agent. He has fruit trees also, that he raises. They have the GA source humate, so called. Professor Elaine Ingraham says it is an entirely unique deposit in north america. I bought a ton of it the other day.

However, the Azomite website says there is a vendor called "worm's way" in Tampa, which is an awful lot closer to you, so maybe you want to call them and see what they have. The thing about azomite: it's expensive compared to other fertilizers, but if you apply it with plenty of organic matter, and you aren't selling the produce but rather composting and returning to the grow beds, then a little azomite is going to last a lifetime. At 150 lbs per acre, one or two bags of azomite is about all one needs for a small garden.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 12:02PM
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Ah....I'm a regular at Worms Way. It's where I purchased my Azomite. I purshased the 50lb bag about spring 2012 and it's finished it unsophisticated "rookie" usage. I'll have to "sneak" another bag in the garage so my wife doesn't see it. She loves the produce but just can't get with the process. She thinks Im overdoing it.

Anyhow, Im learning more each day about Organic Gardening and people like yourself and this site are a great help.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:34PM
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Is it the coarse mixed basic product, the micronized powder, or the granulated?

Do they not have one of the local humate products there?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:49PM
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The envelope arrived yesterday! THANKS SO MUCH!! By the is it planted? I was expecting seeds. How does it work? Need your help.....


    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:32PM
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