tips to improve soil. (I need help!!)

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by TheChickMan, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. TheChickMan

    TheChickMan Out Of The Brooder

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    I need help. I have a garden about 50'x100' and right now it is just dirt. I planted sweet corn tomatoes and peas in it this spring and they all did very well considering the drought but I planted winter wheat as a cover crop and I can see very well where the sweet corn ground is depleated of nitrogen. How do I make that soil healthier again? I know fertilizer, but what kind, I need suggestions. Next year will be my second year at this and I want another success. Thanks for you help. Also I have a compost pile but there is not near enough there to go around the whole garden.
     
  2. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, that is a big area, my suggestion would be manure from local horse farms. Typically horse farms look for ways to rid themselves of their unsightly manure piles. You could drive around and look for farms and offer to take the stuff away. I have found that manure fertilizes and makes soil a very happy place for veggies to grow. [​IMG]
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    We market garden. Our chickens provide the go go go for what would otherwise be very weak and infertile soil. Chicken manure is one of the best. Horses would be my last choice. Horse manure just has too high a possibility of weed importation. Manure needs to be applied 60 days before planting. The issue won't be "burning", but manure handling safety guidelines recommend this for pathogen safety.

    There simply is no substitute for manure. The bedding combined with the poop provides a mix of soil building unsurpassed by chemical fertilizer. Soil building is best done at the close of the growing season, Leaves, clippings etc melted down by the manure. Building compost right on the field. You can see chicken litter spread in the photo below. It takes time, but well worth the effort.


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  4. Keric

    Keric Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your in luck because Nitrogen is easy to come by on a farm. In the fall I clean my coop out and put it in the garden and by spring it has broken down except for the pine shavings but that is gone shortly. In the spring when I clean the coop,, lots of winter poop cause they are inside, I compost it until mid summer and just work it into the soil around the plants. It takes a few years to build really good soil. If you can get horse manure get as much as you can and compost it. Turn it every week the heat should kill most of the weed seeds. It is not as strong as chicken manure so it is hard to add to much. It adds a lot of organic material that lasts long with helps with water retention and makes for a healthier soil. Rabbit manure is also good. The important thing with all manure is to compost it a let it break down. With corn I wouldn't worry about a little not so composted stuff cause the ear is up in the air but, carrots or potatoes are in the ground. Some animals carry worms that can get to humans. I don't know all the details but I wash my carrots well. We had some pigs and they ended up with whip worms and the vet told us not to use their manure.
     
  5. cravenchx

    cravenchx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes indeed, we found this out the hard way. But we did find a great supplier with very well composted manure, that added to our composted chicken guano and shredded leaves, out garden no longer looks like a clay bed, but beautiful rich soil waiting for spring!
     
  6. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We haven't had issue with weeds from our horse manure. All gardens need weeding and the manure makes a wonderful loamy soil that is very simple for weeding (and the chickens love digging for worms in it too!) and also very easy for no till method. [​IMG]
     
  7. TheChickMan

    TheChickMan Out Of The Brooder

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    Will rabbit dung and some chemical fertilizer like urea thrown out right now on top my garden be decomposed enough in spring to till in and plant into. I have a place to get both of those if that sounds BYC approved.
     
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Rabbit manure is outstanding. The UREA you put on now will mostly be in the atmosphere by the time spring comes. Nitrogen is a gas and you'd have to have something in the soil to bind or lock the N into place, for later release. If you can disk in the urea now, much of it will be useable. Sprinkling urea in the rows at planting time and tilling it in also works well. For sweet corn, you could dribble some urea (easy does it) down the row spaces, 16" away from the 12" high corn plants, then quickly run your walk behind roto tiller down the rows to incorporate.

    Your winter crop of wheat (rye is my preferred winter grain grass cover) also locks N by it's roots and then you disk under the green manure tops in spring. No one way to skin these cats. It's try this, try that, makes notes and make progress.


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    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  9. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Pig manure is highly discouraged. Ruminants that have multiple stomachs chew their food and pass far fewer weed seeds. The horse only has one stomach and passes the seeds through. That's my experience, FWIW. The chicken, of course, eats seeds and crushed them. Not the issues.

    Here's one my favorite links, because it is soooo easy to understand. All County Ag Extension offices publish the State University manure handling guidelines and they all say just about the same things, with little disagreement.

    http://umaine.edu/publications/2510e/
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  10. Adorkable

    Adorkable Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The great thing about rabbit poo is that you can even use it fresh and it won't harm or burn your plants. It works kind of like a slow release fertilizer for the garden. It's great stuff if you have some available!
     

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