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Davey

Outdoor soil mix

142 posts in this topic

The biggest problem with heavy clay soil is drought. If you can't water sufficiently it'll become concrete boots around your poor babies feet. Your best move is to "open" the soil by adding as much compost and organic matter as you can.Cover the area with at least 2" deep and dig it in. Perlite and vermiculite are useful additions but are expensive. Personally I used a bunch of sharp sand (2 parts soil 1 part sand). Don't use soft builders sand as it'll make matters worse. There's plenty of nutes in clay but spreading in some slow release fertiliser about now will feed the soil but not burn your babies feet when you plant 'em next year. Don't tread on the soil once you've dug it and leave the surface broken so as to allow the frost into it. Come next spring your babies will have a lovely bed to settle into and grow, grOW, GROW !

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The biggest problem with heavy clay soil is drought. If you can't water sufficiently it'll become concrete boots around your poor babies feet. Your best move is to "open" the soil by adding as much compost and organic matter as you can.Cover the area with at least 2" deep and dig it in. Perlite and vermiculite are useful additions but are expensive. Personally I used a bunch of sharp sand (2 parts soil 1 part sand). Don't use soft builders sand as it'll make matters worse. There's plenty of nutes in clay but spreading in some slow release fertiliser about now will feed the soil but not burn your babies feet when you plant 'em next year. Don't tread on the soil once you've dug it and leave the surface broken so as to allow the frost into it. Come next spring your babies will have a lovely bed to settle into and grow, grOW, GROW !

yes, yes, yes. Somewhere other this would get you some K++ from my side.

Edited by aventinusdampf
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I guess this topic applies to me as well. Iv not yet started my digging, im trying to gather as much info as possible before i start. digging a deep hole in the ground and filling it with compost/soil/manure was the general idea i had.

so for each plant i want to be digging up a large area (about 6 foot diameter?) about 1/2 a foot deep and mix in some manure, moss peat and maybe some grass compost with the top layer of soil?

i have a large bag of moss peat lying around and sheep/horse/cow manure is plentyful

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i guess i'll be breaking my back for the next few days. just bought a garden fork outa b&q for £4.98. thats the place chaps, bargain city! now all i need to do is carry this fork and a huge bag of peat to my site about 1.5 miles away :headpain: will be worth it tho ;)

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by not adding manure until later in the grow you enlarge the risk of burn by the ammonia that is produced as the shit breaks down. get it in as early as poss to let it break down well before you plant and you'll cause no harm to your roots. one thing tho manure must be well rotted down i keep mine rotting for at least 6months before introducing it into the soil. never use fresh manure this is a sure fire way to problems at the root zone and also with your ph.

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Theres plenty of horse manure around here thats been lying for months. It doesnt smell of horse manure, just rich soily earth. I have plenty of grass/leaf compost thats rotted for months and months, good stuff to use also? Theres about 3 more months till i plant out which isnt too late i hope, i'll probably get all of my patches dug up and prepaired over the next 2 weeks.

So am i on the right tracks with adding moss peat? I know its great for holding moisture but doesnt contain many nutrients. Is there anything else recommended? I was in the garden center today looking at water retaining gel, prelite/vermiculite, mulch, organic ferts etc. I guess i dont need to go overboard but if theres anything else that may improve the soil quality i might as well buy it. Im looking to make the best conditions for large root systems so my lovely ladies can output all they can.

If you have any more tips of soil preperation or digging, id really appreciate it :(

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by not adding manure until later in the grow you enlarge the risk of burn by the ammonia that is produced as the shit breaks down. get it in as early as poss to let it break down well before you plant and you'll cause no harm to your roots. one thing tho manure must be well rotted down i keep mine rotting for at least 6months before introducing it into the soil. never use fresh manure this is a sure fire way to problems at the root zone and also with your ph.

Spot on.

Do you listen to Gardeners Q time by any chance? :smoke:

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what i like to do is start my plants in jiffy bags. Cut a 6" PVC pipe into 6" high segments, place those on the ground where you plan to plant. fill the PVC with a potting soil of your choice, I like miragle grow or pro mix. Transplant the seedlings/jiffybags into the above ground, bottomless, PVC dirt container. when the plants get too big for the rings they easiily slide off, or you can leave them on for the life of the plant. feeding is a breeze and you don't have to dig a hole. i picked up this trick when trying to guerilla farm some land that was very rocky.

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Spot on.

Do you listen to Gardeners Q time by any chance? :ninja:

:wink:. maybe once or twice. i've devoured every peice of info i can find on soil preperation and microbial/chemical activity at the root zone, all sorts of stuff some relevant some not so. i actually quite like biochemistry anyway its an interesting field and the info comes in useful :headpain:

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i've just finished by preparations for this years crop you can read the process i use step by step on funki munkis 2007 outdoor adventure :unsure:

Edited by iamafunkimunki

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just to clarify a previous post from ot1 said digging holes in clay soil and enriching the soil is a no no. i dig holes yes, however i am not going against this good advice. the sites i choose now tend to be regeneration sites these usually have a very deep layer of top soil up to 18 inches in places. so i don't have to battle with clay too much even tho i live in a heavy clay area. this is why i get away with digging holes. my durban was an exception to this and was planted in in heavy clay soil last year and didn't perform too well because of over watering this is probably because of the sump action as ot1 described, as all i did was dig a hole and fill it with good soil.

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I've just been up to my new site and have been digging a little. My site has no topsoil and is 75% red clay 10% grey clay 15% rock. I only managed to turn over a space 2 feet by 6 feet to the depth of a foot. I'm thinking I need to dig in some peat or something or should I just leave it. Any advice appreciated as always. :nono:

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hmmm, i'd stick with just following ot1's advice. turn it over good and when and when your plants are established mulch as much organic matter in as poss. clay is quite nutrient heavy

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any ideas for soil with a high peat content and lots of rocks? its a realy dark blackish colour and there is lots of heather growing in the area is this a sign of acidic soil? should i mix in some compost and orgnic matter. mulch to conserve moisture in summer?

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soil will definetely be acidic if its peat. it will probably be very light and airy so it'll have good drainage and aeriation allready. maybe something to retain water would be a good idea for those dry spells so the mulch int a bad idea

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