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Garden bed at the new house

At the old house, we had raised beds that didn't work very well. Limited access issues.

At the new house, I have tilled up the only available piece of halfway flat ground, an old solid red clay logging road leading into the woods.

It measures 10ft x 50 ft. That's all the room I have. I have read all this stuff about amending clay. I also read an extension agents paper saying that is a bunch of hooey--to just start planting in it and till every season. Should I amend or not? Personally, I lean toward the extension agent=less work.

Also, I can get 3 long rows with room to get a tiller down. or I can go sideways and get a bunch more 10 feet long. Does it matter?

Replies

  • micci_manmicci_man Somewhere in FLPosts: 14,641 AG
    Lots of experienced gardeners on here for sure and I'm still learning. I guess I have good soil because all I ever do is add fert (10-10-10) and plant. I do add leaves and wood chips from time to time that compost in as I till. But,,,, many will say don't do anything until a soil sample is done and the soil amended per sample results. Those folks always have great looking gardens...

    How much sun does that little strip get during the day? My garden is 30' wide and 45' long and only the middle 10' (running N & S ) gets sun 4-5 hrs a day. The trees are shading out the edges but I still get by for now with using all of the space. Gotta go now but I'll report back later. Maybe woodsrunner and Pineywoods qill chime in.

    The gardening section on GON.com forum is a wealth of knowledge as well.
    Common Sense can't be bought, taught or gifted, yet it is one of the few things in life that is free, and most refuse to even attempt to possess it. - Miguel Cervantes
  • BodineBodine Posts: 3,028 Captain
    With solid red clay, I would add some peat moss , a little sand and some sort of manure/compost.
    It will loosen it up, help it drain, and add nutrients.
    I am just a life long amateur, who does well some years, and not so well other years.
    My garden is 12x16 or so, I just grow maters, peppers, cukes and squash in the spring.
    In the winter, I can grow enough greens for a family of 4 in that space.
    We eat greens or a salad every night.
    F the feds
  • cc13cc13 Posts: 548 Officer
    I am hopeful that it will be fine sunwise. It should have full to dappled sun half of the summer daylight hours. I had eggplant in a much much shadier spot last year and it did fine. I may add some peat. Where it is located i can easily load it up with clippings and, next fall just bunches of leaves. Okra tomatoes and squash will be the main things. Especially okra...she loves it..
  • illinoisfishermanillinoisfisherman Posts: 5,312 Admiral
    We were hoping to plant a 40'X75' garden this year. It's all under 5" of snow now!
  • micci_manmicci_man Somewhere in FLPosts: 14,641 AG
    All I'm going to grow this yr is tomatoes, few different kinds of peppers and some peas, I think. A agree with Bodine about adding to your soil for drainage. Pure red clay is nasty when wet and rock hard when dry. look into container gardening as well if you need more space.
    Common Sense can't be bought, taught or gifted, yet it is one of the few things in life that is free, and most refuse to even attempt to possess it. - Miguel Cervantes
  • BodineBodine Posts: 3,028 Captain
    Tommy, I still have a bag of smoked/dehydrated peppers for you in my freezer.
    F the feds
  • micci_manmicci_man Somewhere in FLPosts: 14,641 AG
    10-4

    Are you interested in any bell, jalapeno, habanero or cayenne pepper plants started from seed? My ole retired buddy says they are about ready.
    Common Sense can't be bought, taught or gifted, yet it is one of the few things in life that is free, and most refuse to even attempt to possess it. - Miguel Cervantes
  • BodineBodine Posts: 3,028 Captain
    micci_man wrote: »
    10-4

    Are you interested in any bell, jalapeno, habanero or cayenne pepper plants started from seed? My ole retired buddy says they are about ready.

    Perhaps, can't have too many
    F the feds
  • PineywoodsPineywoods Posts: 128 Deckhand
    Personally I'd pull a soil sample and send it off, knowing it will take awhile to get results I'd add some peat and till it in for this year. None of what you mentioned really like wet feet but if it drains decent you should to ok with squash and tomatoes till the sun and heat get them. The okra should go till frost I won't even grow okra in my hydroponic system anymore it gets way too big and hard to deal with.
  • plumbbobplumbbob Posts: 791 Officer
    I've gone mostly to raised beds from planting in the dirt. So far, so good.
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Posts: 2,235 Captain
    I used raised beds for 6-7 years, but this year--after not planting anything for 2 years (grits/cornmeal business took all of my time)--I'm planting simply in rows because of the extra effort in building raised beds. But I'm intending to reconstruct my beds. You'll honestly grow 2-3 times the volume on beds as opposed to rows.

    As for making a garden on hard packed clay on an old logging road....it can be done, but I suggest busting the soil up as good as you can initially. Make sure to get a soil test run before you add anything. With the test the county ag agent can tell you what to do initially. Be sure to add organic matter such as peat moss as suggested. Anything organic will work....leaves, bailed hay, etc. It'll take a little time, but you'll be surprised at how much you'll produce off this small amount of garden space. With 50'X10', you've got .011 of an acre, so use this figure to compute fertilizer..lime..and other additives rates recommended based on your soils test.
  • cc13cc13 Posts: 548 Officer
    Thanks guys. It is fully and deeply tilled. One busted bush hook handle later, it is finally Root free. It has peat moss mixed in, and lime, and triple 10. Now just need to wait on some more degrees.
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