Detroit Area Gardeners?

rachels_haven(6)February 10, 2014


This gardening season I'm going to be moving to Redford, Mi, which is right outside of Detroit. Is there anyone in the general area on this forum that can tell me what the soil is like up there? Should I plan on hauling in lots of city compost from somewhere nearby? I mostly vegetable garden, but I also do fruit trees and brambles. I'm looking forward to hitting the ground running as soon as the snow melts, but I know dirt is at the heart of my hobby and soil can make or break your garden and I'd love to hear about other peoples' experiences up there before I get to work.


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I don't know if you have moved in yet, but what you find really depends on whether you are moving into a fairly new subdivision or in an older long established neighborhood. In general, you can expect to find a lot of clay. If you are moving to one of the newer developments, you'll probably find a few inches of topsoil, then not so great soil underneath. In an older neighborhood, you are more likely to find better soil as you dig down. But I know there is a lot of clay throughout SE Mich, which frustrates all of us gardeners. You can get good soil tests through the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office. Good luck with your move.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 11:09PM
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Okay, thanks. The snow eventually melted off so I was able to assess the situation better. Our house is 75 years old, and the soil is definitely not clay, but is is very sandy and wet, so I think I'm going to see if I can get some Northville City compost and build some raised garden beds, maybe. It looks lovely for growing trees though. I might still contact the extension office anyway, because they are a great resource.
Thanks again,

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 11:58AM
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Liz321(6 - Detroit Metro)

Not sure if you have moved yet, but you don't have to go all the way to Northville for compost. Depending on where you are, the City of Royal Oak compost may be closer. The city website has more info.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 1:15AM
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jomuir(z5 detroit)

Liz, Northville is much closer to Redford than RO.

Rachel, I live in Redford. Our soil is pretty good, some spots have lots of clay. Over the years, I've amended with lots of peat & compost and have excellent soil now. Depending on when your home was built, you may find buried bricks to be annoying. We've found so many buried bricks in our yard, I swear every dead spot in the lawn is hiding a brick two-three feet down.

I don't think Redford has a free compost program, as our yard waste is hauled away by the trash company. I bet you'll have plenty of your won compost by next year, sounds like you're an experienced gardener. If you need additional space, you can rent a small plot for $25 from the twp, on Beech Daly by Five Mile I believe. Good luck & welcome to Redford!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 2:08PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

at 7 mile and middle belt you can go to the dirt store and buy compost ... maybe the bushel stop ...

there was another on 5 or 6 mile inkster way ... maybe that was bushel stop ...

with the price of gas.. i dont know why you would travel 20 miles to haul it back ... you kinda lose the definition of free in there ...

been 15 years since i left livonia... half mile from redford ...

and i dont miss suburbia for anything


    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 2:12PM
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Thanks guys. I'll definitely get some compost, good dirt or not. Oh, and I KNOW what you mean about the bricks. (IS THIS WHERE BRICKS ARE GROWN?) So far,even counting the bricks, this dirt is so much better than the sandy, black swamp dirt in Ohio, but I love compost. I think I'll call the city to find out later (as in, soon later, probably tomorrow, not later, later). Currently I've got my hands full mowing our acre...and painting and helping put in floors, and removing strangely shaped, badly neglected flower beds, and figuring out what to do with FIVE groundhogs (young ones and one big one) but I think I want to put in next year's vegetable garden beds this month, probably this week. Right now I'm debating raised beds vs traditional garden beds. I'm in kind of a nice position garden-wise, even if I didn't get my garden beds in this year. Thanks for the help!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 1:43AM
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Glendale Ave approximately 1/2 mile east off of Farmington Rd between Schoolcraft and Plymouth roads is the livonia compost and mulch pile next to the livonia recycling yard. look for the small recycle symbol sign. yeah its for livonia residents only, but theres no gate, no gatekeeper, nothing but a huge 20 ft pile and a sign. if you dont tell, i wont! :)

but if you still dont feel comfortable , feel free to ask some livonia resident to dig mulch with you.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2015 at 2:24PM
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