Gardem Soil Preperation

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  #1  
Old 04-04-15, 04:41 PM
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Gardem Soil Preperation

I bought a home a couple of years back that had a 12'x12' garden area in the rock landscaping used here in AZ.
They had some 4" potted flowers in there that looked OK but did not last long.
I don't think they even put any good dirt into that area as they were the first owners of this home. I found that area was only some 4" deep and then it was very hard with some clay to be found.
I planted Tomatoes and some other things there last year but they did not do well.
So last fall I asked what to use to break up that clay and get it to stay lose and be better this year and was told to rototill in some steer manure so I added several bags to the area and tilled it in. It looks a lot better this year.
I am thinking that I may need to add some other things to make it a healthy environment for a garden but not sure what.
I thought of tilling in some organic compost or perhaps some mulch but did not know what to use before I plant this year in about a month after our last freeze.
Any advice appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 04-05-15, 04:56 AM
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Have you done anything to increase the soil depth? 4" is too shallow for most plants to thrive especially in a hot climate.
 
  #3  
Old 04-05-15, 06:08 AM
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Does the hard pan (clay) soil in Arizona support garden earthworms ?

I have found that most plants do best on the worm castings . . . . and the best way to get worm castings is to put stuff in, or on top of, the garden or lawn soil that the worms really thrive on. And it's important to not use harsh chemicals to inhibit the worms.
 
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Old 04-05-15, 08:19 AM
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Yes, I rototilled down to around 12-14" of depth.
I saw some worms in the soil when I first turned it over with a shovel as best as I could when we bought the home. But like I said, about 4" down it was pretty hard and had clay.
I got a rototiller and worked several bags of steer manure in it and appears to have stayed broken up. It's been sitting all winter and I don't see it clumping~at least not yet.
 
  #5  
Old 04-05-15, 11:23 AM
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Can your soil's temperature be kept low enough for a colony of earthworms to survive ?

I have Relatives in Casa Grande who say that their soil is too hot (and maybe too dry) to support a colony of earthworms . . . . even when they have brought them in from elsewhere, and tried to keep the soils moist and cool (or shaded somewhat) so that the worms have a place to retreat to during the heat of the day.

I don't know if 14" would be enough; but that's far better than the 4" you started with. Take care of the worms and they'll take care of you, and composting kitchen refuse is always appreciated.
 
  #6  
Old 04-05-15, 04:04 PM
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Had the soil tested?
Considered raised beds?
My raised bed using pressure treated 6 X 6's and back filled with compost does great.
 
  #7  
Old 04-05-15, 04:55 PM
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I have a suspicion that Virginia raised beds would dehydrate pretty fast in Arizona.
 
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