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Banana Plant Soil, Additives, and Fertilizer This forum is an area where you may discuss the soil to grow banana plants in, as well as soil additives such as teas, composts, manures, fertilizers and related topics.


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Old 04-20-2011, 06:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Getting screened topsoil for new beds..

The topsoil where I am moving to tends to be very dark, rich soil (from prior experience/deliveries). I plan on adding compost, peat and sand.. anything else I should add in to the soil as the beds are being built?

Also, anyone had any experience laying newspaper down and building the beds up?
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Getting screened topsoil for new beds..

NO SAND, NO SAND, NO SAND, AGAIN NO SAND I can't stress this enough, no sand. A good rich organic soil needs no sand, if you have clay soil, don't add sand, add organic matter, clay and sand become silt, which the worse kind of soil you can have, believe me, I have it and it's very difficult to work with as it holds very little in the way of moisture. So again, NO SAND!

Also, get the soil tested to see what if anything needs to be added, Your soil may just be fine the way it is. Barring anything worng, you can add composted pine needles, perlite(wash before handling), vermiculite, small sized bark chips dug in, manure, bone meal, blood meal. Opening new beds, do a double dig and rototill in your amendments. Check your acidity/alcalinaty levels and adjust accordingly. But please avoid using sand for drainage it can make things worse instead of better. In pots it's okay but not in planting beds that have high levels of clay.

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Old 04-20-2011, 09:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Getting screened topsoil for new beds..

So.. you're saying I shouldn't use sand? :P heh heh
That's funny.. cause I always though you were supposed to! Learn something new every day!
Not a lot of clay around there but tonnes of organic matter as it's all temperate rain forest. I will totally get the soil tested though. Was going to haul in soil to mound the beds up a bit.. so I will get the soil tested after adding the top soil to the beds.
Does this mean I get a rototiller now?
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Old 04-21-2011, 12:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Getting screened topsoil for new beds..

Well Miss, it's not a necessity, you can rent one, but doing a lot of digging can be hard on the back, a small rototiller like a Mantis(just a suggestion not an endorsement) will till the top 12" of soil, which is good and since you said that you'll be in a Temperate Rainforest area your soil will probbly need very little amendments. You can usually tell how healthy the growing area will be by the number of macrolife, such as lots of worms!. Worms are a great barometer of health. You can also test the water holding capacity of your soil by digging a hole, not too big, about the size of a large coffee can, and if you have a large coffee can handy, put the can in the hole and put the soil around it, then take about enough water to fill the can and dump it in the can. Watch the water and see how long it takes for the water to drain out of the can. The rate of dispersion will give a good indicator of how well your soil drains. 20 minutes very good, 1/2 hour slow but okay, 1 hour not too good more than 1 hour poor drainage. Give it a try and see how fast the water drains out. If slow just add some perlite or decomposed pine needles or small bark chips. But again, if you like handy garden tools a small tiller always comes in handy
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Old 04-21-2011, 01:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Getting screened topsoil for new beds..

I will totally try that. I assume you're supposed to put hole(s) in the can?
I mentioned to my huby that we should get a tiller as he will be the one doing all the digging.. boys and their toys.. he wants this one:
Troy-Bilt Rear Tine Tiller, 208 CC | Canadian Tire
I'm all for that.. I could probably use that one!
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Getting screened topsoil for new beds..

I've used the Troy Bilt many times, and I must say it does a great job, and is heayy enough that it doesn't bounce every time you hit a little harder ground, but you must be prepared to spend some bucks for it. You can rent one, but a lot of these rental places want to get their money back after just a few rentals. BTW, Troy Bilt and Lowe's are in the ad rotation here.
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Old 04-21-2011, 08:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Getting screened topsoil for new beds..

Yeah they want $1006 CAD (including 12% tax or $1056 USD) for the one hubby wants. Not cheap for sure but he said he had to do it a lot for his folks as a kid and wants a heavy one that is self propelled and had reverse.. lol
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Old 04-22-2011, 08:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Getting screened topsoil for new beds..

I'd suggest testing a few different soil "recipes" to see what works best for your area and plants. I've had good luck with sand in a few situations, but my base soil is a nice midwestern loess (mix of clay and silt) and holds plenty of water. Most years most gardens can go all summer and never be watered.

The main beef with sand, as I understand it, is that it doesn't do anything - doesn't hold water or minerals. But sand is very nice for the gardener to work in. Compost is just as good to work in, and does add lots of goodies. My area has very cheap compost at the dump, so easy to add a few inches as mulch. Leaving the compost on top seems fine, but I have been told not to mix it in with the dirt, which was your question.

My most common recipe (esp for potted plants) is about a third each clayish dirt, sphagnum peat moss, and sand. Then a sprinkling of general fertilizer, dolomite lime, and iron sulfate.

Another common recipe is to just dump any "good stuff" on top in layers, like sand and compost mostly, and let the worms mix it up. My planting beds (like blueberries) seem to like this.

Good luck in your garden. Other good sources of info are your local garden clubs and local extension agents. Many universities offer soil testing.
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Getting screened topsoil for new beds..

Hi again Miss, you should actually cut both ends off, leaving a tube and then put it in the hole and then fill with water. Sorry should have specified the open ends

As for the tiller, the Troy Built are also a very good choice. You might even want to see what one like that would cost you in the US considering the exchange rate at this point. I think the dollar is worth 95 cents in Canada, so you should go a little farther in the US with your Loonie

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Old 04-22-2011, 03:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Getting screened topsoil for new beds..

Hey Ray - I always have a compost pile going.. will be sad to leave this one behind

Kurt - Ahh.. that makes sense! Actually, our dollar is stronger than the USD right now but goods are still cheaper in the US.. go figure.. :|
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:49 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Getting screened topsoil for new beds..

I had used one that my father in law had bought. He probably got about 100 hours on it when he passed away. I my asked my wife to ask her mother if we could have it, but she, more or less, didn't buy that idea, so it has sat, in a leaky old shed now, for 12 or 15 years. It's probabl just fused into one big piece of rusting scrap metal by now.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:11 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Getting screened topsoil for new beds..

What a shame John! I am sure you would have put it to good use. Better way to honor someone than letting it rust in a shed unused..
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