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Tuesday, 16 February 2016 01:56

Soil

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Soil is the most important part of your garden, which I have learned the hard way. If you've read the history you will know that in 2013 I removed a lot of dirt and put in raised beds in my back yard, which is a hill. There was about 2" to 3" of "top soil" that I removed and used to place in the bottom of each raised bed. Here's where I made my first mistake. Flying by the seat of my pants and not taking the time to do the proper research, I went to Home Depot and purchased several bags of Kelloggs® Organic "All Natural Garden Soil." These are 3 cubic foot compressed packages and I used 3 in each bed. It looked good when I emptied it and even after I rototilled it in with the other dirt. What I discovered was that there is a lot of wood in this "soil," which I later discovered sucks nitrogen out of the soil. I would not recommend using this "soil" in your vegetable garden. I personally would not use any of rhe Kelloggs® materials in my garden.

Kellogg Garden Soil

In 2014 I assumed the soil needed nitrogen so instead of buying a soil test kit I just bought bags of steer manure & tilled that into the existing soil. That had very little impact on growth and productivity, hence the worst year.

Last year (2015) things turned around and we had a fairly successful garden. I added 6 more raised beds in our front yard which was part of the re-landscape project. We took advantage of the Turf Removal program through the city of Riverside. When I removed 1200 sq ft of grass from our front yard I had a lot of nice topsoil which I used in the bottom of the new raised beds. For the raised beds in my back yard I bought and picked up 1 yard of organic compost from one of our local nuseries (Paradise Garden Center) - I think the cost is around $45.00/yard. My wonderful neighbors helped haul it up the hill in wheelbarrows and I tilled it in with the existing soil. I did the same for the new raised beds in the front yard. The results were fantastic compared to previous years, though our corn crop was terrible because I planted it too close together (saving that for another post). We ate a lot of zuchinni and yellow sqaush, but our onion crop was terrible, primarily because they arrived before I was ready for them and I made more mistakes with them (again, for another post). We ended up with about 10 lbs of squash in the freezer along with 3 packages of shredded zuchinni for zuchinni bread.

The front yard produced several pounds of various types of tomatoes, bell peppers and green beans. We put 8 lbs of green beans in the freezer, a large bag of Anaheim Chilies, 2 bags of roasted, peeled jalapenos, a bag of chopped serrano chilies and a bag of roasted poblano peppers. I dried a lot of Anaheim and Cayenne peppers as well.

 

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