Starting over Northwest Florida


Twigs

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Recently moved to Florida....starting over.
There is not a lot of veggies that will grow well in strait sand. It will take years to develop my small plot of sandy sand into reliable garden soil.....So, I am currently building raised beds for my new vegetable garden. I will have about 100 sq feet to work with this season.

This made me think of three questions:
1. How many sq feet is you raised beds?
2. Does it work for you? or...
3. Do you-not wish, but need more space?
 
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Birmingham, AL USA
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Recently moved to Florida....starting over.
There is not a lot of veggies that will grow well in strait sand. It will take years to develop my small plot of sandy sand into reliable garden soil.....So, I am currently building raised beds for my new vegetable garden. I will have about 100 sq feet to work with this season.

This made me think of three questions:
1. How many sq feet is you raised beds?
2. Does it work for you? or...
3. Do you-not wish, but need more space?
Imagine yourself digging one out to improve the soil some years from now. Smaller is easier project wise but they can easily be built 8 feet long. If you then make them 4 feet wide and have them 2 feet tall that will take 32 of those big 2 cubic feet bags or 64 small ones. Its a fair weight to move with a shovel. I think neck pain should always be a garden guide.
 
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It occurs to me that the hügelkultur Meadowlark is trying out might be of great benefit on sand as one of the main problems is drainage drying it out, and rubbish wood is a lot cheaper and lighter than topsoil.
 
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It occurs to me that the hügelkultur Meadowlark is trying out might be of great benefit on sand as one of the main problems is drainage drying it out, and rubbish wood is a lot cheaper and lighter than topsoil.
But add char too as a building block filter that will not disappear down into the high drainage sand.
 

Meadowlark

Gardner, Angler, Adjunct Professor, and Rancher
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I get a great deal of satisfaction from building nutrient dense soils whether in regular garden space or raised beds or containers. It is very rewarding, and you have an excellent opportunity to experience those rewards all over again. Year after year improving the soil and enjoying the results.

Heck, growing plants is almost an afterthought to the supreme challenge of gardening which is soil building.
 

Twigs

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I have a quarter acre to transform. I will be using coir, bio char, manure, and several types of mulch to build up the sand. It’s been 25yrs since I had to play with Florida sand. It will unfortunately take me a long time to get the soil where I like it to be
The raised beds will allow me to start now. I may do a small winter crop: carrots, onion, broccoli, cabbage, but I will be excited to start my peppers and tomatoes in a few months.
 
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Recently moved to Florida....starting over.
There is not a lot of veggies that will grow well in strait sand. It will take years to develop my small plot of sandy sand into reliable garden soil.....So, I am currently building raised beds for my new vegetable garden. I will have about 100 sq feet to work with this season.

This made me think of three questions:
1. How many sq feet is you raised beds?
2. Does it work for you? or...
3. Do you-not wish, but need more space?
I use 144sqft (2x 6ftx12ft raised beds) just for onions & garlic.
 

Twigs

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I built 8ea (2x 6.5ft) to start. I figure this would be a good start to keep me busy gardening. I can spend my free time working the sand and making a new compost pile.
 
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I have 17 4' x 4' beds & 8 4' x 8' beds. I buy compost by the dump truck load. ($225 per load/ 15 cu yds)
I use no soil in my beds. The lab said we have absolutely no nutritional value in our soil & it's hard as a rock.
We grow all our food for the year with some to give as gifts. Not bragging. Just the benefits of square foot gardening.

For those that want organic matter... Asplundh is a large tree service company in our state. They do a lot of work for the state & electric/phone companies. They shred all the limbs & trees they cut & are begging for places to dump it. (it's free!)
Call your electric company to see who does their work. Our electric co. notified us to contact Asplundh if we wanted mulch.
I ordered a truckload & was asked if I would take more! It's composting in my back yard.
 
Joined
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I have 17 4' x 4' beds & 8 4' x 8' beds. I buy compost by the dump truck load. ($225 per load/ 15 cu yds)
I use no soil in my beds. The lab said we have absolutely no nutritional value in our soil & it's hard as a rock.
We grow all our food for the year with some to give as gifts. Not bragging. Just the benefits of square foot gardening.

For those that want organic matter... Asplundh is a large tree service company in our state. They do a lot of work for the state & electric/phone companies. They shred all the limbs & trees they cut & are begging for places to dump it. (it's free!)
Call your electric company to see who does their work. Our electric co. notified us to contact Asplundh if we wanted mulch.
I ordered a truckload & was asked if I would take more! It's composting in my back yard.
Once I got a deal on unused compressed sawdust for fire blocks. Mind you I live in the Deep south so we have like 1 month of nasty cold and it usually does not snow if much.

I learned 2 things. Well 3 if you account for the expansion of wet sawdust.


1) Wet
2) Household ammonia or other highly available N. Its a Carbon Hell.

If it stays dry it will take years to compost. I say 5, but thats because of my twig piles though I cut them with a chainsaw into 12" lengths for spacing.

Core wood above ground is oh so slow to go. Consider covering it with compost once wet. Think Hugelkulture.

I assume you turn the pile. I am so lazy its not fair to the next 10 people, so I use pvc thinwall drilled with holes these days so the fire gets oxygen. I have never melted them but they are getting brittle where they are exposed at the ends.
 
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We live in the Columbia Basin, (Central/Eastern Washington State). It's high dessert shrub steppe, sand and rocks - lots of rocks! However it is surprisingly fertile. For lawns and ornamental plants, we just plant them in the soil as is (like everyone else around here), throwing a little compost mix in the hole. We don' use bark dust or other mulch around plants and on borders either that would gradually work in, becasue we get high winds sometime and it wouldn't be there very long. So we use large crushed (1 1/4 to 2 inch). However, for veg gardening we use raised beds. In fact we just replaced our original wooden ones which were starting to degrade with taller metal ones. We filled them with a custom soil mixture from a local nursery. We had excellent results this year. I think they heat up the soil faster and being taller and us getting older, they work very well for access. They are about 80 x 40 inches, so very easy to reach across.
 

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