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how to start a vegetable garden
peat moss
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How To Start A Vegetable Garden - 30 Day Challenge - Time To Get Dirty
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How to Start A Vegetable Garden  -  30 Day Challenge  -  Time to Get Dirty

Welcome to Day 3 of my 30 Day Challenge!

So far, we've discussed how to design your garden and how to build a raised bed for your garden. Today we're getting down and dirty. Today we're talking soil.

Research

I do a lot of research before I move forward in every step of my garden. Perhaps you've noticed!

In this case, I wanted to find out what type of garden soil I should buy to put into my raised bed garden. I knew that I would need a lot of soil to fill a 6' x 8' bed and I was a little concerned over how much this might cost me.

So, I started reading and the more I read, the more confused I became. Depending on which gardening website I read gave me advice from the most extreme organic options to the 6 ingredients I needed to place in my soil prior to inserting my tomato plant for optimal growth.

I was confused. And my head hurt. This research was not what I had anticipated.

Time for a Visit

So, I took a ride to a few of my mom and pop garden centers and started asking questions. And I learned A LOT. But the most important thing I learned wasn't about the soil, it was about the price! But let me get to that in a minute.

What I learned was since I was placing soil into a new raised bed garden, my garden soil should be a mixture of quality top soil, compost, and peat moss.

Compost?

I didn't have a compost pile and I became concerned. How do I get compost?

I learned that compost can be purchased from local suppliers and was given the name of a local rock and soil company that had the best quality at the best price locally.

Time for the Dirt

A phone call to the local supplier and we arranged for a delivery of a yard of premixed garden soil to be delivered - 50/50 top soil and compost. And the price was half what I was expecting, so I was excited!

We were advised to purchase 6 cubic feet of peat moss to mix in with the garden soil in order to give it better drainage.

Many wheel barrel loads later, all of our garden soil was distributed in our new 6' x 8' raised bed garden. It took every ounce of the soil to fill the bed, and we could probably have used a few more cubic feet, but I think it looks perfect!

30 Day Challenge

How are you doing with your garden challenge? I'd love to hear about your progress. Feel free to share it here as well as on my website, where I am tracking my progress of my personal 30 day garden challenge. I hope to see you there!


Street Talk

The soil is so important AJ. When we built our raised bed we bought the best 'organic' soil we could find. it turned out to be useless and we ended up (over time) improving it a lot with compost from our bin and other improvers we've bought from the garden centre. it's really a great idea to improve the soil as it does seem to make a huge difference to the yield and health of the plants. I admire people who have knowledge about these things. It's so important. Great article AJ. Always readable and relevant!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Heather, I bought quite a few bags of organic potting soil this year, but was highly disappointed with the product. My first mistake was reading the bag - fowl droppings!?!? - and seeing that I had to wear gloves to work in the soil. That just doesn't make sense to me - it's "organic" but bad for me to have my hands in? After planting for 2 or 3 hours some containers with gloves on about half the time, I had a stomach ache the whole next day. Isn't organic supposed to be good for you? I'm starting to question using organic soil and your comment support this too.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Hmmm... I've often worried about the gloves on bit too.

  
  about 7 years ago
Tracy Cox  

Love the article AJ. We have our seed ordered. Still having freeze warnings but we are so ready to get dirty.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Awesome, Tracy. We're keeping all our plants in containers for now. The last 2 weeks, we've had 2 nights in the 30s, so by keeping everything in containers, we're able to bring them in from the cold. I'm hoping we're finally done with the freezing nights as I want to get my squash in the beds!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thanks AJ

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Gardening is a lot easier than some think by just following a few time proven steps...good article and info

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

I hope you're right, Kevin! I've got some seedlings that are doing very well right now and others that are dying off! I'm trying to figure this one out at present. I hope when it's all done, I look back and laugh at the little mistakes I made along the way!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

AJ, Good job. Lots of stuff has to get mixed in. Yikes! Didn't think about that: buying dirt. I've been driving a pickup truck with my brother to go get the ground-up long-ago leaves we fondly call, "Leaf Mold!" He shovels it into big plastic garbage cans used for that purpose. Puts in garden. Stirs stirs in compost. Mix it in... year after year. Not sure where it, "Goes" but year after year more gets added. blessings, Cynthia

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Cynthia, what a great way to obtain free compost! I particularly like that you don't need a big pile at your own home to do this, just a little time to drive around and get what has been sitting in other people's yards decomposing. Thanks for the tip! I went out this morning and bought a few strawberry plants....I'm going to try your tip from yesterday and plant them along the side of the bed to let them grow over the sides. I can't wait to see how they do!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thanks. Yes, strawberries seem to like hanging out over the sides. It's a bit more organized - otherwise the ground up old leaves were costing money to remove! Ah... and the compost part is the back corner of the garden. Gardens produce their own compost. blessings, Cynthia

  
  about 7 years ago
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