Prepping veggie bed

k80cSeptember 8, 2012

Hi all! Newbie here, seeking your wisdom!

I've finally staked a claim to a portion of our yard to start a veggie garden. I'm a transplanted northerner, and I'm clueless about veggie gardening on this alien planet!. The spot lies between two old-school concrete driveway tracks. The soil (if you can call it that) is sand... as in, slightly more organic matter than the beach. I know I should do raised beds, but I'm too antsy to get started! So, I'm ready to learn from my mistakes this year. Question is, how and with what should I amend the soil? How much sand should I remove? Should I be concerned about ph given the tracks I'll be planting between?

Many thanks for any guidance as I dive in!

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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi k80c

The cheapest and fastest way to amend the soil is to add the free compost from the city, you just have to find that out where you can call and they deliver to you free of charge in bulk.
Best is to use raised beds to hold the soil in but I have seen amended beds that are raised without any borders, you just have to pack the soil around it.
The more work that you put in the beginning the better results you will have.
There are a lot of different ways to amend the soil, it all depends on what you prefer to do.:)
Good luck with your new projects!

Community garden beds amended with free compost

Silvia

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 7:35AM
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ocalagirls

I always point people to the IFAS veggie garden guide. It's got all the info you need to get started.

Here is a link that might be useful: Planting guide

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 8:15AM
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subtrop(10b)

Wish I could've gotten free compost last year. I did add around a dozen bags of different composts and planting soil and a cubic foot of peat moss to my "sand". Mixed up real good and still ended up with root-knot-nematodes. But the plants take of really nice in the mix, give nice veggies, too, until they nematodes take over. My cover crop for summer was crotolaria, so we'll see how that'll work out.
The more compost and planting soil with fine wood chip barks you can add, the better it'll be. Some people advise against peat moss, but that compressed bale from HD made my soil very airy, maybe because I left it a bit clumpy and not finely shredded when mixed in. I do not recommend topsoil from HD, that stuff, when mixed with my sandy soil gets hard. Hope that helps a little.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 9:54PM
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k80c

Thank you all for your great advice! I spent too much time reading about nematodes, and decided I'm going with raised beds after all. Going to fill with 50% topsoil, 50% compost from a local nursery. Plus throw in whatever leaf litter, etc. I have around the yard. Anything else I should add to get it off to a good start? Thanks again, everyone!!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 8:00PM
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Orlando-Dave

Also keep in mind it is a work in progress. It is definitely best to do it right from the start, however if you are a newbie like I was and still am, you learn as you try things, and sometimes it is not wise to make a big investment up front. It might not be what you want or what is best.

I started with grade level beds and have been converting them a couple at a time to raised beds. I have started amending with mushroom growing substrate (compost) this year.

As far as what to plant, what do you like?

Dave

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 6:23PM
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