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Avatar for Cornfreaky
May 8, 2020 10:42 AM CST
Thread OP
Northern CT
Hi Everyone,

I am in CT and I am attempting to be as cost effective as possible. At this rental, there is small bit of woods around /dividing the houses. Within there was a pile of soil that looked to be good as it had moss growing on it and vegetation/ small breakable roots. I figure it was organic material pile from yardwork as the stuff around it was fell trees, logs and sticks. I started harvesting, mixing peat moss and vermiculite with it and pouring it over the hugelkultur pallet raised beds I made.

For the beds, I started with old decomposing logs and branches, layer of last years leaves, fresh grass clippings, aged horse manure with shavings (found warms), and then some more grass mixed a little with the horse manure compost, then top ayer of the soil I mixed peat moss and vermiculite. The top later is 2 pallet board widths down.
I worked on the farm in western mass for 8 years doing corn, tobacco, and summer/fall vegetables. I harvested and tended plants, nothing major, but was exposed to dirt and the environment for awhile so I knew what the soil looked like, and this soil I found was similar to what I remember. Although I never tested soil before.

I just did the jar soil test on the mixture and it seems like either its all sand or silt, I cant see a separation there. What do you think? Should I mix horse compost in with the top layer? Add Humus? or will it be fine since I have this layer system?

I ran out of perlite so thats on the list to buy and add


This is after 20 minutes or so of settlinf
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This is after 2 hrs of settling
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Last edited by Cornfreaky May 8, 2020 11:10 AM Icon for preview
Avatar for oneeyeluke
May 9, 2020 3:16 AM CST
Name: one-eye-luke US.Vet.
Texas (Zone 8a)
Quitter's never Win
Birds Cat Lover Dog Lover Hummingbirder Organic Gardener
Yes mix horse compost but make sure it fully composted well. Have you gotten a NPK soil test yet? I wouldn't use peat because your soil looks like its acidic and peat would drop the pH to low. Any good compost would be a plus to your soil. You have the makings of a super loam soil with the right amendments. You are very blessed to have the soil you do and I wished I had it. I add orgainic stuff to my soil every year and it does make a big differece. Get a Soil test from the lab to find out what you have and need to add to have the best soil.
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NOT A EXPERT! Just a grow worm! I never met a plant I didn’t love.✌
Avatar for Cornfreaky
May 9, 2020 8:49 PM CST
Thread OP
Northern CT
Thanks for responding. That is great to hear! I have not done soil tests. But I did get onw of those simplw ph and moisture testers and the PH was actually around 7-6! I may buy those twsters with capsule just to know.

We did some mulch spreading today. As i cleaned the weeds out, and moved some soil, i found worms everywhere so i started collecting them and give them a new home, the garden beds!

The horse compost, they have a huge hill of it. At least 2 stories high. They just used a bulldozer to push the mountain of horse compost. Checked around the edges for the most broken down. Found worms in it! And no poop smell. Theres a good amount of wood chipa in it, big clumps. When i grab and squeeze it, it just breaks apart. I used bare hands!

I scooped some soil up from the perimeter of the patch of woods and did the soil in jar test. See some separation in this one! But boy oh boy that soil from the mulch is great!

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Last edited by Cornfreaky May 9, 2020 8:51 PM Icon for preview
May 10, 2020 1:37 AM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
See you in the funny papers!
Charter ATP Member Frogs and Toads Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland
Composter Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds
Soil may be sandy, but adding organics as you are is the remedy anyway. I wouldn't do any different.
Plant it and they will come.
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