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Quick way to amend poor soil

5809 Views 33 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Iddee
My wife and I claimed a hillside for our 'Victory Garden.'
We hired someone to burn stumps from trees that were removed over the past two years.
He tore out roots, vines, wild blackberries, green brier and saw brier.
He took out over two pickup loads of rocks.
The top soil was rich, but only about five inches deep and after he tilled into the clay layer below, the soil was less than desired!

I had him amended the sixty-ft. rows with one 40 Lb. bags of cotton burr compost and the same amount of cow manure. And thats all it took to get a bumper crop of everything that we planted!

The soil where each of this years rows was located is soft and fraible.
so next spring we will have the same amendments placed between this years rows and have the whole garden tilled.

By next spring we will have around 30 cubic feet of homemade compost mixed with chicken litter. This mixture will be used to top dress our crops.

Rows treated in this manner will retain twice the moisture than un-amended soil.
If you try this, you won't be sorry.
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Welcome to the forums hwrwdw, and thanks for the tip!
Now, that is what I'd call going the whole 9 yards. The extent of your efforts will surely be rewarded. In fact, I am very impressed by the thoroughness of your actions.
I have a half acre of thornless blackberries that I stop mowing between the rows after the last variety has been harvested. This gives months of wildflowers for the bees and a good bit of mulch when I mow after first frost.
Keep it up , guy. You are on the best path I hace seen in a while.
Best regards,
Rick~LtlWilli :idea:
Dear LilWilli

Thanks for your comments.

It sounds like you have a whole bunch of thornless blackberries!

Do you ever sell plants or berries?

I would like to buy both next year.

If you are looking to start a good blackberry patch, Pense Nursery, up in Arkansas has the best prices I have ever seen, and they carry all of the improved strains of thornless berries. All of them are upright, and the only reason you need to run support wires is due to their ability to put out 1500 lbs. per acre...They are bigger , sweeter, more disease resitant, and have smaller seeds than Brazos...I had upright canes 8 feet tall before I topped them....I have 3 of the varieties, and like the Apache and Ouachita the best.
Yes, I will be selling next spring. $4 a gallon out here in the country, but at the Farmer's Market in Dallas, they go for $2.50 a pint. Nobody in the city seems to put up preserves, so they buy only what they'll eat. Since you are a beekeeper and a fellow Texan, you can just come on down and pick and dig all you want---on me.There's no way what you take will put even a dent in what these super berries will do. :)
Re: Thank you LilWilli

Thank you, LilWilli for your very generous offer.

Maybe next spring my wife, daughter and I can come by to visit with you.

I always enjoy hearing of people growing large plots of produce, like you are doing.
With the down turn in our economy it’s not only vital, but I believe it is also a patriotic endeavor.

Isn’t it time for Americans to bring back the ‘Victory Gardens’ that saw the greatest generation through the big wars? We need to get the word out and promote the victory garden in today’s America.
The American People can no longer depend on a constant food supply. It’s projected for food prices to rise 7%. Food prices rose 4% in 07 and 08.
My wife has been a manager in a food store chain a few years and she knows food prices. She gets mad every time it’s mention that food prices have (only) gown up 4%. In reality over the last two years many food items have doubled in price! Milk and eggs are a prime example.

I’m having large trees removed to grow a food plot. It’s a huge sacrifice for someone who cherishes large trees, but “it’s better to be safe than sorry†I don’t want to see my family go without enough food at some point.
That’s part of the reason why I want to keep bees: for their rich food and wax and to preserve bees in general. With “Colony Collapse Disorder†threatening bee survival, I believe more people should try to preserve nature’s little wonders, around their homes and victory garden’s.

Thanks again LilWilli - It’s people like you that have made Texas the best place to live in the United States.

Howard Wilson [email protected] [/url]
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You are more than welcome to any and all I can do for you. The Lord has blessed me with an abundance of bounty from the soil, and I do not use pesticides on His plants. For every predator, He has placed a natural enemy as my defence...I also have tame muscadines from Georgia that have a higher sugar content than grapes---25% compared to 19%.
You might time your visit to coincide with First Monday Trade Days, and get your wants all on the same day. I have Arapaho blackberries that ripen two weeks before any other berry. You can dig sprouts from any of the three breeds I carry.
Well, it's a lovely day, and I beleive that I'll get out and enjoy it.
Best regards,
Hey, another Texan who thinks like you two! Almost neighbors as Texas goes too!
I just put in a couple acres of bluberries. I have been thinking about perhaps blackberries too but I do not know anyone who has done it around here and was wondering if it would be a good thing. The blueberries have had a tough time getting started for me. Rick, I would love to see how you have started. I am in Canton all the time for work even though I live close to Shrevport. The thornless VS Thorny issue really perplexes me. I need to know someone like you.

Howard, you are so right on every point. One of the things that amazes me is the fact that most people have forgotten how to garden! It is becoming a lost art in a way. It stuns me that just one or two generations ago EVERYBODY grew a large share of the family food. It seems so...natural that people would grow their own food, at least some of it. I am 45 years old, my Mom tells me that when she was a girl, my Grandfather, every night after work, tended his garden, as did ALL the men in the town. It is a bit rare that I meet a guy even my age who gardens.
Yes, it is a win some lose some situation but that is what makes it interesting. This has been the worst year ever in my whole life as far as food production, my bees have failed, deer have ravaged my garden, to much rain, to little rain, dogs have killed my name it. Does it stop me? Never. I keep at it. Why? Because it makes me feel like I contribute. I produce. I could, if something awfull happened in the world, might be able to feed a small town, ha ha.
I also love the fact that no matter how much I think I know, it is never enough. I have a degree in horticulture but this spring, I marched over to my 80 year old neighbor and asked him how to grow sweet potatos! Of course he knew how, I did as he told me, and sure enough, I have dug some (well, the ones that the deer did not keep mowed down all summer).
In addition to growing, preserving is getting so darn rare. I had to teach myself how to can because I could not find anyone that knew how! That is something that also was common and well known just a few decades ago. What a great skill. Even with my rotten growing season this year, I STILL have rows and rows of jars that put up this year. To bad my wife can't get to interested in it...she trys though, lol.

Each year your efforts will pay off bigger and will see! You are right, we should never ASSUME a cheap and constant food supply. I feel that we, as Americans, might be a bit spoiled these days in regards to food. We just take it for granted that we walk into Walmart and it will be there...and cheap. Kinda' like we felt about gas a few years ago, right? You and your wife are on the right path.
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Just as the University of Minnesota has excelled by developing the Minnesota Hygenic bees, the University of Arkansas has taken the science of blackberries a few notches up the ladder from where we were 10 years ago. The thornless blackberry has been around a while, but was seldom grown because of it's demand for trellising. These thornless berries can be done well witha single taut wire about 4 ft. off the ground. They are upright, with some stems as thick as your thumb, but their canes get to be 8 ft at least. They are bigger than Brazos berries, more productive, more disease resistant, and sweeter. The good thing is that by choosing 3 varieties, I have extended the picking time. Arapaho is 2 weeks earlier than any other blackberry grown....In short, I am very happy with them, having spent my younger years getting berry thorns out of my arms and hands.
I agree about people getting at least a small garden for hard times, and a concentration of plants in a relatively small area is a do-able project ,requiring a surprisingly small amount of effort. Besides, I feel close to the land when there is dirt under my fingernails. Kinda' "earthy" I guess you could say.
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I was wondering if the thornless varieties are as "good" as the thorny ones. I had considered putting them in but I kept hearing that they were not as flavorfull as the thorny ones. Like you, I am not crazy about plucking all those little thorns out of my hands/arms.
You have made me reconsider...
If you had 400 ft. rows such as I do, how many rows would you want to put in to make it worthwhile as a PYO situation? WHat spacing do you have them at along your rows?
I talked to Gene Harris over at Harris Nursery in Tyler, he also suggested I might want to get into Black berries. I am about to go pick up a few hundred 1 gal blueberries to fill gaps in my rows. Maybe I should try the blackberries. I sure hope they are easier to get established than Blueberries!
Is Arapaho the one I want first?
Sorry, dont mean to wear you out with all my questions Rick.
LOL....You cannot wear me out, Tim, because I run on inner fuel from God. I am easy going and humble always.
I gave up on blueberries here due to the fact that I could not irrigate them. Without that, they are just waiting for you to miss a watering, so they can die. Most plants will forgive you for letting them go dry a day or two. Blueberries will not at all.
Although Arapaho is first off by about two weeks, I would have to say Apache is my favorite. Ouachita is a very close second... I plant on 3' spacings, with rows 9' apart. With long rows like you can do there, 6 would be good the first year, but after that, demand and good memories of the first year will probably spur you onto even more....People WILL return to your patch--the berries are that good---I promise you.
Do not give throwing questions at me a second thought. I am always ready to both teach and learn.
You are SO(!) right about water and blueberries... I learned that the hard (expensive) way. That is exactly what I am doing, replacing all the ones I managed to kill out the first year with my poor water delivery system (me). I have that situation a bit better controled now (kind of).
O.K.- you have sold me, I am going to do it. I will, with each paycheck, place an order and plant all winter untill I run out of room or money. For starters, I am going to cannabalize a couple rows of blueberries that are spotty and move them into other rows.
This is going to be good, I am glad I ran into you to spur me on. I was feeling a bit grim about everything this year....
Yes, you can always count on my help. Something about having dirt under my fingernails is satisfying, and makes me feel one with the land. Some folks' lives are hectic and altogether too busy in their attempt at enjoyment and happiness...It's sad and really a waste of good intentions to run here, buy that, try this here---they just burn themselves out in what could be such a simple endeavor...So sad. So very sad. :cry:
Hey LtlWilli

I really appreciate your willingness to help others and there is probably no better time since the ‘Depression’ to establish food crops on our land.
I believe that, very soon America will have some tuff times, it’s not a matter of [if] but [when] and food supplies will surely get thin or maybe stop for a while.
We should encourage our family, friends and even people that we meet; to at least start a victory garden.

Its going to freeze here in Pittsburg tonight, (Pittsburg is just South of I-30.) I have already seen some signs of a cold winter this year.
I hadn’t counted on a freeze quite this early but I harvested everything that will freeze.

I grew some Stevia plants for the first time this summer. Stevia is a South American plant that is 10 times sweeter than sugar, but its sweetness doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. I’m not diabetic, but I have been off sugar for two years now, because sugar feeds cancer and I have been loosing weight too.
The Stevia flourished and I had mature plants that were head tall and of course I saved plenty of seeds. Well guess what? I have found out that the big Pharmaceutical companies have conspired with the FDA to rule that Stevia is a drug (because it aids people in better health,) it’s true! They are trying to make it hard for anyone to sell Stevia to the American public! People better rise up cause if our supplements are outlawed, people will get sicker and doctors will get richer.
When I come down to visit you in late winter or spring, I’ll bring you some Stevia seeds.
I really like Stevia It has made it so very easy to give up sugar. Stevia has been used as a sweetener for hundreds of years and it has no toxicity levels at all, it a food. Stevia has now been in the U.S. for over one hundred years, but most people still don't know about it.

We all need to start saving seeds because one day you just may not be able to purchase them.
If you save seeds from several of the best plants of veggies (grown in your soil) they will get better each year. Some of my seeds have been grown on my place three years in a row and they germinate just like weeds and are adapted to my place.

Let’s get the word out: Grow food and save the seeds!
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Hey!!!.....that stevia you are growing has piqued my interest a great deal. It sounds like a stupendous plant to have around. I'll look it up in one of my seed catalogs.
Saving seeds from the best plants of a crop is how we did it back in the 1950's. Daddy would show us which plants not to pick from, and we seldom bought seeds. We cooperated with other farmers in the area to get new varieties to try...People need to wise up and stock uo, that's a sure thing....Your stance on this is right on the money, man. You're on the right track, it's for sure. :idea:
You got my interest up in stevia, so I googled it. The seeds are selling from 25 to 33 cents EACH. On ebay I found this, two thousand seeds for 6.33 including freight. It say directions for growing and using it come with the order. ... 638Q2em122

For 6 dollars, I decided to try it. You may want to, or you may want to wait a week or so and I will let you know if it's for real, or a scam. The seller has a 100% positive rating on ebay.
Hey LilWilli & Bee catcher

If y'all will send a self addressed envlope to:
Howard Wilson
P.O. box 962
Pittsburg TX 75686

I'll send you all the seeds that you will need to get started and then some.

These seed are super tiny and they may be hard to germenate. Last spring my wife bought me a Stevia plant at Lowes in longview, I divided it into three plants that grew big and heavy.

I think that to germenate these seeds right may require some pearlite a small tray with a heat pad for seeds. I believe that these seeds will need around 70 to 80 degrees to sprout.

I have thousands of seeds so if we get skunked we can keep trying!

I found out this year the plants get sweeter as the weather gets cooler in the fall. Also next year I plan to make cuttings and winter them over and set them out as soon as the ground temp reaches 65 degrees. Probably around the end of April.??

I had said in my last post that Stevia is 10 times sweeter than sugar, Well it had been too long since I had review my information on the subject! Stevia is 300 to 400 times sweeter than sugar.
One pound of condenced powder is equal to at least 300 lbs. of sugar! I love this stuff and I have lost a lot of weght to prove it.

I wonder if the sugar industry isn't also pushing the FDA to make it a lot hard for Americans to get this wonderful herb. We as Americans need to jack up the FDA and replace the crooks with some honest people. well I going now before I get in trouble.
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Gee whiz, Howard!!...That is good of you. I'll get an envelope into the mail to you. I'll start poking around here for something that will interest you before I send my letter. This is how people ought to be doing seeds---SHARING-------spreading the wealth around.
I gotta go wife is home from work.
Take care, good friend.
Thank you Rick

You are right and that’s a great Idea! Spread the wealth around. We can do that too!

During the great depression, seeds were wealth. And if we don’t save them ourselves the supply could run out. I have avoided hybrid plants for years, (except for 3 or 4 tomatoes plants, that I grow to eat while my heirlooms are growing.

I will have many different types of food crop seeds to share between now and this spring.
Most of my seeds are second to fourth generations that I have selected from the best plants and they are acclimated to our good ole East Texas climate.
Some of my food crops pop out of the ground like weeds (volunteers) and I have started to collect the seeds in a way to keep them from self planting, because I do crop rotation.
I learned the lesson the hard way this spring when I had hundreds of dill plants coming up over a large corner of my little food patch.

I have grown some of the stoutest Spineless Okra plants that I have ever seen this year and I will have a lot of seeds to share.

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Thanks for the offer. If this overseas deal turns out to be a scam, I'll be contacting you.
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