“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. In our mad rush for progress and modern improvements let's be sure we take along with us all the old-fashioned things worth while.” Laura Ingalls Wilder

Monday, March 18, 2013

2013 Garden ~ The Good-The Bad-and-The Ugly

Day 2
top soil mixed with clay taken from our property to mix in the raised beds

Our fickle weather had a little break of sunshine this afternoon so I got out to work in the garden.  I focused on the raised beds as that's where the soil needs the most work.  We bought 'garden' soil from the nursery two years ago .. and again topped off the beds last year.  This mixture was void of any clay .. mostly decomposed plant matter (could be wood and manure) with sand.  The beds sit on top of clay which proved to give poor drainage .. which caused a soil fungus to grow.

 Last year I amended half of the beds by adding/mixing in some clay to the purchased garden soil.

soil fungus .. it's decomposing fine wood in the soil

The beds that had the clay added fared well and most of the fungus is gone.  It did not affect the plants .. so I'm not too worried about it this year.  I just want to mix in more clay and a bit of rich earth to balance out purchased soil.  Today I was able to double dig to a depth of 12-18 inches down to bring up ground clay.
vole tunnels provide good rich soil to add to the raised beds
the tunnels are easily scooped up

Then I added some fresh rich soil taken from the vole tunnels in our yard.  This should give our raised beds a much better blend to help break up the fungus and help it decompose the wood matter a bit faster .. aid in water drainage AND improve the soil quality.  I'll deal with the voles another day. 
This soil took 10 minutes to collect .. the voles, albeit pests, serve as good soil producers

I will test the raised beds using a soil testing kit after I finish this process.  Tilling the soil will bring up more clay from underneath the planters to help give the soil better structure and drainage.  

I have read that not all soil fungus is harmful.  Hopefully by breaking this up, adding more clay and tilling the soil for better drainage, this will not be a problem in this particular bed next year.  That's the risk you take when you purchase a large quantity of soil at once.  Our in ground garden does not have this type of problem as the soil has a good balance of nutrients and good drainage.  All of our garden tools will be cleaned well before using them in the other garden. 


Margie said...

You are a wonder!!! Wow! That was really interesting!!

Sandy said...

Mrs. Mac,

We had to do the same thing with our raised beds. Oklahoma clay many things don't do well requiring us to mix soil bought from the nursery along with our compost.

All kinds of hard work but well worth it in the end.

Are you getting closer to planting seeds?

Mrs. Mac said...

@ Margie .. I don't know about being a 'wonder' .. but this is just what instinct 'told' me to do. It worked last year.

@ Sandy .. Got to get the beds finished before planting any cold hardy seeds. Soon.