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setting up back yard garden (problem)

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by Kevinkris, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. Kevinkris

    Kevinkris Aloha Well-Known Member

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    so ive been setting up my back yard garden and getting ready to put new sprouted and other well established fruit/vegetable plants in a raised bed i just finished. thats when i realized my problem; i dont have enough soil to put in the beds and i dont have the $150 i estimate it would cost to do so. anyone know of a place to get organic soil on the cheap?

    i was thinking of going out to BLM property and digging some up but i cant seem to find any info on that and i wouldnt want to get a huge fine for trying to save some money. anyone know anything about doing that?
     
  2. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner You'll Never Know Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes the local land fill has compost they sell cheap. Just a thought. Haven't seen any of those "Free Dirt" signs lately....
     
  3. MikeE

    MikeE Portland Well-Known Member

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    How many cubic yards?
     
  4. Kevinkris

    Kevinkris Aloha Well-Known Member

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    im thinking a little over 1 cu yard would do with a little extra. still very new to this so i sort of caught myself off guard when i realized my huge mistake.
     
  5. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner You'll Never Know Well-Known Member

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    you could get a free pick-up full of sand over here...
     
  6. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Try Craigslist "Free Soil / Compost".
    There are a couple of listings right now for free composted soil. Most people over buy and just want it out of their driveway.
    I like using an aluminum snow shovel for faster loading.
    Good luck.
     
  7. CoastRange57

    CoastRange57 Western Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The term "organic" on manufactured soils would mean that all inputs are "organic", and the reason it is expensive. " Organic is the most over used and twisted word when it comes to growing medias, or the production. I am very skeptical about most organic products. The input process to arrive at "organic" status is very time consuming and very expensive. Hence it is also slow at times.

    I currently farm 1.5 acres of truck garden produce for ourselves and to sell at U pick, doubling that next year. I use minimalist inputs. Use a gloyphosate product for weed control, and use conventionally produced ag fertilizers but no insecticides, pre emergents, or fungicides. I use " organic" controls for insect issues. I hoe a lot for the weeds. Not organic by term, but minimal, sustainable, and yield effective.

    You could go to what is called a planting mix. It is generally a mix of composts, wood debris ground up, and other source. All sources may not be "organic", but they are a high enough quality mix that I use it in containers, and add it to the soil when possible. Around
    $ 25 a yard at S & H in Cornelius or Hillsboro, or I believe that Best Buy on Cornell has a planing mix that is pretty good as well.

    Add some native soils if you have the ability for some structure and to add a trace mineral element that is just not present in manufactured or mixed soils. Watch your pH levels for at least three years. I would and do easily use these " planting mixes in your situation. Better to get it in there and get the stuff growing than wait for the scratch to get the " organic" soil.

    As far as going out and digging some off BLM or any government ground, what better way to have a contact with Federal authorities, and be cited for theft, transportation of forest products. I think I would take a pass there.
     
  8. MikeE

    MikeE Portland Well-Known Member

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    Not sure if your raised beds are built out of wood or just double dug in the ground. If you are filling wooden structures, maybe get a yard of free soil from Craig's List, as suggested. Then get a yard of 'yard-debris compost' from Cedar Mill Lumber (about $35) and finish filling with that. You will also need to use some bagged organic fertilizer with your transplants. Whitney Farms 5-5-5 is good.
     
  9. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    The local garden supply in south Salem sells topsoil/compost mic for $33/yard, u-haul. Maybe there's a similar place close to you?
     
  10. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    I have access to a mountain of 'washed' sand that will be a good expander for your top soil
     
  11. CoastRange57

    CoastRange57 Western Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Sand is always good to add to native clay soils to create a better soil structure , and smaller amounts in manufactured soils. I prefer to stay about 35% - 40% sand.
     
  12. PolishedBrass

    PolishedBrass Gresham, Oregon Active Member

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    Cheapest is to pull all the dirt out you can ...
    Throw in grass clippings and clean yard debris that has no sticks ... just leaves and small stuff.
    Grass sod ... anything ... (Sometimes you can get free grass sod ... it works great for creating raised beds with no lumber usage.)
    Put it right down on the bottom ... worms will come find it and turn hard clay soil into nice fertile dirt there.


    Throw in anything compostable.
    Go to the river and get 4-8 5 gal buckets of sand. Worms use tiny bits of rock in their digestive process and turn the rock into a mineral paste casting that is super fertile for your soil.)
    Put sand on top of yard debris clippings.
    Get 2 cheapo bags of steer manure per 12sq yards of area ... or some steer / cheapo compost and top that on the mix'O'compost.

    Put the soil on top that you removed and let the worms make soil with all the rest below that.

    I have created our soil with 3 kinds of worms where we live which was red clay and rocks before I turned it into 24" of black fertile soil.
    (Well me and all the worms eating the vegetation.)

    In Gardening you must "grow" the soil first.

    I often have sections of the garden with 3" of soil sitting on 6-8" of yard debris.

    Zucchini mounds are great when sitting on compost.

    Also grow "green manure" crops once or twice a year.
    My Favorite is Winter Rye.

    Grow garlic starting in the last week of september and get a bale of alfalfa and cover the whole area with 5" of Alfalfa hay.

    It will rot over winter and feed the worms and enrich the soil as well as protect the garlic and keep weeds out.
     
    MikeE, erudne, gaijinsamurai and 3 others like this.
  13. sapper77

    sapper77 Linn County Active Member

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    I usually buy 1 cubic yard of "premium" soil mix with soil and compost mixed and it is around $35 most places. You can always lay a bed of straw down, or mix it with the soil. This actually allows for it to drain better and gives volume to the soil. This year I kept my soil at about 4" deep and everything did fine. If you research what you're planting you will most likely find that it's going to be shallow rooted. If you are thinking about growing root veggies, try an old plastic bin or bucket and drill some holes in the bottom for drainage. And no, you can't legally dig soilf from BLM property.
     
  14. parallax

    parallax eugene, or-gun Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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  15. Kevinkris

    Kevinkris Aloha Well-Known Member

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    i used cedar planks to make a 5x5' bed because my ground is mostly dense sand filled with pine roots from the 4 very large pines in my back yard. there was huge mounds of old bark chips that i racked from around the bamboo and pines that line my back fence. ive started pulling out the stick, pine cones and rocks to mix with the soil i have. ive also been pulling some dirt from my side yard where i need the rain water to drain to, to keep it from puddling. ive managed to get about half of what i need to fill my bed. i still have plenty of that to dig around in, i think i will still be a little shy of what i need but i think i can finish it up with a bit more store bought stuff. you guys have been very helpful, thank you.