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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
*** I didn't really know where to put this thread and it has nothing to do with goats but im stumped and i know a lot of yall are great all around farmers and might could help. :) ***

I decided instead of helping grow the garden this year (And it turning out horrible almost nothing made it until harvest time lol), that i would just do it by myself just so i can put more time into it and so ill know how to do it in the future. And it was pretty fun. :) Instead of planting little things like the tomatoes and peppers in the garden i was thinking about putting them in flower pots or something so they would be easier to take care of.

Our soil isn't the best so i was going to get some of the big bags of compost to plant them in, i thought it might grow better like that to. But this afternoon i looked up garden soil on the TSC website and it had different bags, all about the same that said stuff like ".75 In per sq ft" for $1.99 and i couldn't make sense of it at all. It looked like a big bag but it didnt say how big the bag was and it can't be that cheap can it? Even if its just dirt, still $2 for a big bag of compost? I might just be over thinking it but i thought i would get yalls input.

Thank you for any help :)
 

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Given your user name, I'm thinking you live in Georgia. Having spent 16 years in Georgia (Atlanta area), I am fully aware that most soil in Georgia is red clay and it doesn't readily grow a whole lot because it clumps, holds water, and everything planted tends to die of root rot or other diseases. What you need to do is either grow your garden in 5 gallon buckets of potting soil - one plant/bucket - or amend your soil with a lot of bags of composted cow manure to break it up and allow drainage. I had raised beds built for my flowers that were roughly 3' wide by 6' long and filled them with composted cow manure. For in-ground beds that were roughly 4' deep and 6-8' long I added 6 bags of composted cow manure and worked it into the soil by spading. For the garden area that was roughly 8' by 8' I added 8-10 bags of composted cow manure and spaded it into the soil, then raked it level and planted. $2.00/bag is dirt cheap. Back in 1995 I payed somewhere between 3 and 4 dollars/bag of composted cow manure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you! :) I do live in South Georgia and its not red clay as much as some places have but it is loose/sandy/light colored dirt. And it stays dry or either too wet or we are in a drought or flood haha. Some people down here have amazing gardens but they know what they are doing and spend a lot of there time working it but we don't spend as much time and it shows.

Ill still plant corn and bigger plants like that in the ground but i decided to change the spot because it was a little shady there so im moving it to a place with full sun. But the little stuff im keeping near the house so i won't have to drive half way across the property just to pick tomatoes, squash, or zucchini everyday. Which i hated last year. :)

If i do raised beds could i just make boxes with boards and put a plastic tarp inside? Would i have to cut holes on the bottom of the tarp? My goal is to actually have an abundant crop this year so im wanting to get everything set up before planting season. :) Thank you again. I was thinking a bag of dirt would be $10 a bag or something but i am totally fine with it being only $1 haha. :)
 

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I would just build the raised beds on top of the dirt and not bother with tarps in them. Tarps will interfere with drainage and could impede development of the root system. Over time the manure water will add nutrients, draw earthworms, and improve the soil.

A couple of other things that will help you grow a better garden - tomatoes have to be rotated every year because they are heavy feeders and deplete the soil badly. You can also talk to the local hair salons and see if they will save you a bag of non colored or bleached hair. Put a small handful in the bottom of the planting hole and put a little dirt over it then plant. As the hair decomposes it releases nitrogen into the soil. If you don't already mulch your garden and flowers start doing it. Mulch can be straw, wood chips, pine straw, or grass clippings from your yard(let grass clippings dry out some before putting them on or they can burn). Mulch amends the soil, keeps the ground from getting so hot, helps keep weeds down, and also conserves moisture in the soil. I hope this helps!
 

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i agree with the mulch. You can never mulch too much, IMO. Here in W.Ks we have a lot of wind that dries out the soil in an hour if you don't mulch. If you can start now, in your garden area put down some manure of any kind (see if you can get some from a feedyard, dairy, horse stable, whereever....) and till it in as best you can. Pile mulch on top...I like straw cause I can get it cheap (baled my Dad's wheat straw after harvest). Put it on as thick as you can. Water, water, water. Next spring the dirt under the mulch will be much richer and nicer to work with. Your straw or mulch will start to decompose too giving you even more rich black soil. It is going to take a couple years of this to get the soil where you want it.

When we did our raised beds, we used railroad ties and did put cardboard down in the boxes the first year to help with weeds. The cardboard breaks down and is now gone. We then layered in straw, peat moss, top soil, potting soil, shredded paper, chicken manure, compost, etc (Lasagna gardening....great book) The big key, IMO, is to mulch after everything is planted and/or growing. Heavy mulch will help keep down the weeds and help conserve water....it also breaks down and improves your soil.
 
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