Recently I have noticed a lot of posts about organic gardening, prepareing a garden pot, raised, beds ect. So I thought why not have a thread just for that purpose. I am not an expert on organics so i wont have all the answers anyone might be seeking, but I am sure there are enough of you out there that can share some knowledge on the subject. I will share my on going experiment in my personal garden. Due to some new road construction a couple of years ago, my garden was buried under tons of waste fill dirt. This dirt was cut out of the side of the mountain and deposited on my property. Since my land was very steep, the fill dirt is over 60-90 ft deep in places. Now this dirt is nothing more than the groundup slate rock that the dozers crushed under their tracks and is very poor to be trying to raise a crop in, but it did make realitivly flat ground out of a otherwise untillable steep rock bluff. So this is what I had to work with. My firt year of trying to raise a garden in this junk dirt meant heavy soil amendments. I started with a soil test to find out what I had. Of course, everything was low nutrient wise and extremely rocky to boot. I measured out a spot of 2000sqft, this to be my primary garden. I then dug up the area to a depth of 2ft and removed tons of big boulders. I then filled the hole with semi compost horse manure/shaveing from my brothers horse barn. Since my soil test said i was very deficinet in calcium, magnesium, phosphate, I added 400lbs of pulverized dolomitic limestone and 100lbs of 18/46/0 diammonium phosphate. Now the fertilizer isnt considerd organic, but as one Dr. of agriculture once said, if it isnt in the soil and you dont put it there, it isnt magicly going to appear on its own. I figure, adding the phosphate now was much better than trying to get it into the soil during growing season. I then tilled everything together makeing the soil vey fluffy. Once every amendment was added, and tilled in, I planted annual ryegrass at a very high seed rate. The ryegrass wont come back if not allowed to make seed heads and the growing plant would useup the manures and fertilizers as it grew. Once the grass was about knee high and very thick, I moved my chicken tractors over the plot and let them eat it until the soil was again bare. Since the fertilizers had been converted to a grass, then consumed by my chickens and redeposited as manure, I figured I now had a totally organic garden. In spring, I tilled and planted, tomatoes, okra, potatoes, squash, green beans and a few pumkins. I didnt add any fertilizers at all, just used what was in the soil. In between the rows, I mulched heavly with double ground hardwood mulch I had left over from the last years landscapeing, as well as used more chips from the horse stalls. The chips and mulch helped conserve moisture and provided extra nutrients. I harvested more than I expected in crops, (pretty good actually), and had very little weeding to do all season long. For season 2, I pretty much repeated garden prep as I did in season one. The bark mulch and wood chips where tilled under along with more lime, planted in rye grass and finished off with letting my chickens again eating and pooping their manure on the site. Crops where planted and mulched similar to the first year. Again I had excellent results without any additional fertilizer. This fall, I noticed a big difference in the soil texture and color. Instead of a sticky claylike soil, I am now seeing a darker, almost loam like soil. I attribute this to the carbon added thur the use of barkmulch and sawdust. I have tilled the soil and planted a covercrop of barley for this winter, but added non composted wood chips to the soil in an attempt to raise the carbon levels even higher. To speedup the decomposition of the larger wood chips, I also added some more 18/46/0 to the soil before tilling. The nitrogen in the fertilizer should speedup the microbial activity and help break down the chips faster. Not organic, but neccessary since my soil is very low in P2O5 and I dont have a good source for organic Phosphate. I have also gotten the power company to dump several loads of wood chips from their rightaway cleaning this fall. I am in the process of pileing and composting that material into a usable product for next year. I can only guess to the number of loads they have dumped. I told them I would take a 100 loads and I think they have pretty much dumped about that many already. I'll let them dump until I run out of room or they quit dumping, which ever come first. For those reading do a search for Ramail wood chips to see the benefits of using wood chips. Alright, lets hear what others have done or are doing to get their gardens ready for next year.