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Newport NC
Abar5904
Jul 26, 2017 3:28 PM CST
I have my very first veggie garden this year. As a 29yo., I have always liked the idea of growing flowers and have pretty good luck at making things grow, whether from seeds or rooting stems of other plants. This year my wife and decided to try a garden but our challenge is very sandy soil (on the NC coast; almost pure sand). I rolled the area, pulled the roots and small plants out and added about 70lbs of bagged soil to the 10x10 area. To my surprise, it's growing! The plants seem very stunted and short for the length of time it's been growing (4 months) cucumbers, watermelon, okra, tomatoes and jalapeno. Everything is producing fruit except the maters. As I mentioned it seems that the plants are stunted due to the soil. For example, 1 jalapeno is about 8 inches tall with an inch and a half pepper that feels ripe, just extremely small. The strange part is the plants are vibrant and green as they can be but just short. 1 cuke is about 3inches long with a very round belly and a pointed end. Is it just possible since the soil isn't the best, that the plants will be short and will produce very small fruit?
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jul 26, 2017 5:57 PM CST
Welcome!

Gardening in a pile of sand is no easy task. Luckily, my hill of sand is very course so doesn't pack as badly as it would if it was finer. Don't give up - it will get better. Honest!

You added about a quarter of what you should have added. Sighing!

Start planning next year's garden now. Everytime you see compost, garden soil, manure, anything, on sale, buy it and store it. Hopefully, by next spring, you will have 15 - 20 (more the better) bags of whatever you scored. You will have to repeat this every year forever, but you will have beautiful vegetables. Smiling
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Jul 26, 2017 7:25 PM CST
Abar5904 said:The plants seem very stunted and short for the length of time it's been growing (4 months)
it seems that the plants are stunted due to the soil.

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The last picture tells us all we need to know.

When we make a decision to plant vegetables, it's a good idea to look around and plant in the middle of the thickest plushest patch of turf that you can find.

Unfortunately you don't have any growth of anything in the area that you picked.
Most of us make that mistake at least once.
Empty patch of ground, good place to plant...

Unfortunately nothing grows.

At my house in the sandhills, I've started clearing the densest patches of thicket on the property for my vegetables... I got tired of trying to make something grow in the bare areas...

If you don't have any areas where something grows, suggest that you treat the sand like pavement.
Bring in or make compost.
Pile it deep.
Forget 70 lbs spread over the entire garden, in your circumstances, ida dumped the entire bag out in one spot and planted a single plant.

Its gonna be very difficult to garden in that location.

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jul 26, 2017 9:02 PM CST
Difficult but not impossible - otherwise I wouldn't have anything growing. Smiling
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Jul 27, 2017 4:18 AM CST
DaisyI said:Difficult but not impossible - otherwise I wouldn't have anything growing.:

Daisy, where do we see pictures of your garden?
In Nevada, isn't there clay and rock mixed in with the sand?

My garden pictures are at the "visit my garden" link at the bottom of my posts.

Edit:
I probly should endeavor to post pics of the bare sand... Where nothing grows... Except a bit of lichen if I'm lucky....
Lichen grows on trees.... Which tells you something about the nutrients available.....

Doesn't really matter how much rain falls.... Nothing grows.
[Last edited by stone - Jul 27, 2017 7:01 AM (+)]
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jul 27, 2017 7:14 AM CST
Take your measurements and soil sample and go to your local bulk soil supply.
They will tell you what you need and how much.
If your soil is as bad as you say.
I would build some raised beds.
If you go with raised beds. Make them at least 18 inches deep. And position them where they will get as much direct sun as possible. With a minimum of 8 hours. The more the better. Thumbs up
I see a couple trees in pic. So i wonder how much direct sun your garden is getting ?😕?
For now. Get a few bags of manure and put around plants.
Then do your homework planning for your fall or next years garden. Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
😎😎😎



Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Jul 27, 2017 7:32 AM CST
The thread "2.5 acres of sandy soil" in Soil and Compost forum

Check this post about improving sandy soil in Texas...

Its going to take massive amounts of amendments...

You might try so called key hole gardening, where you pile all the house hold compost and yard debris, then plant a vegetable next to the pile and get the benefit of the extra nutrients and moisture.
Newport NC
Abar5904
Jul 27, 2017 7:40 AM CST
I have a compost pile and the area gets alot of sunlight. As u all can see, the garden is growing and producing fruits but they're just very small. Thanks for all the advice and I will be sure to have it prepared for next year and have the soil tested
Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
Grace of the Lord Jesus be with all
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Altheabyanothername
Jul 27, 2017 8:11 AM CST
@Abar5904

One other thing I would do because the plants are stunted is check for nematodes. Sandy soil in the south can be a problem.
When the plants are finished growing, pull them up and check the roots. If they have little knots it could be nematodes. If you are unsure you could ask your county extension office if the roots look okay. Trying to control nematodes works with everything people suggested. Raised bed or chunky in the ground. Amended soil helps the plants nutrition and restricts movement of nematodes.

Many blessings for your success!
One to take to heart....1 John 4
[Last edited by Altheabyanothername - Jul 27, 2017 8:13 AM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jul 27, 2017 10:20 AM CST
Stone, I haven't added photos to my page but here are a couple for you. Before (2013) I added a ton of stuff and now. My first vegetable garden was so sad, I didn't even take photos. Yes, there's a lot of sand, rocks and hardpan chunks that might as well be rocks. All the hardpan chunks go into the garbage can.
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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Jul 27, 2017 10:43 AM CST
Thanks for the pics!

Those rocks and hardpan chunks mean that your sand has minerals and stuff not available in our sand.... I wouldn't be throwing those out...

To get an idea of what we're dealing with, you would have to fill a large pot with builders sand, and then try to grow a tomato in it...

I took pics of a patch of my barren sand... Still need to get them out of the camera.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jul 27, 2017 11:28 AM CST
Hi Stone, That's what I pointed out first - my sand is very coarse and doesn't pack and so doesn't turn into a layer of concrete. Basically, I'm gardening in decomposing granite and you are gardening on the beach: great for sunbathing but not so great for growing plants. But, with enough compost (I add 20 bags a year to my tiny vegetable garden), I am confident you can make something grow. Your own garden pics prove it. Smiling (beautiful photos, BTW)

I don't want to discourage anyone from trying as long as they know what they are up against and as you are gardening in circumstances similar to Abar5904, you are a great resource.

My hardpan will continue to go into the garbage. Its not clay like you are thinking of clay but something called 'white hardpan'. It never breaks down (although you can break it up) and is impervious to water, no matter how long you soak it. Here is a photo of the hardpan pile that hasn't quite made it to the garbage can yet and also what my native 'soil' looks like.
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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Jul 27, 2017 11:39 AM CST
Alkali Investigations - Page 14 - Google Books Result
United States. Bureau of Soils - 1898
The white hardpan consists of silt, clay, ami sand firmly cemented by carbonates of lime and magnesia and ... the last stage in the decomposition of the complex silicates, pyrites, and other minerals...

Good stuff, Maynard!
The plants are able to gain nutrients, even if it fails to soften perceptibly.
I think I'd line the beds with that stuff... Or at least keep the chips...
[Last edited by stone - Jul 27, 2017 11:41 AM (+)]
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Newport NC
Abar5904
Jul 27, 2017 12:03 PM CST
Yes Daisy, difficult to grow but not impossible. My wife and I very pleased to even have something grow and the fact that it's producing is just icing on the cake. I'm going to let the cukes and peppers go a little longer before I pick them to see if they get bigger or maybe I have produced a miniature garden.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jul 27, 2017 12:36 PM CST
stone said:Alkali Investigations - Page 14 - Google Books Result
United States. Bureau of Soils - 1898
The white hardpan consists of silt, clay, ami sand firmly cemented by carbonates of lime and magnesia and ... the last stage in the decomposition of the complex silicates, pyrites, and other minerals...

Good stuff, Maynard!
The plants are able to gain nutrients, even if it fails to soften perceptibly.
I think I'd line the beds with that stuff... Or at least keep the chips...


The operative word was in the title: alkali.

If I line my garden with this stuff, I would have a pond. An alkali pond - we call those playas. Rolling on the floor laughing
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jul 27, 2017 12:37 PM CST
Abar, I'm glad you aren't discouraged. Your garden will be filled with beautiful vegetables!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Jul 27, 2017 12:38 PM CST
Ok, got some pictures!

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The brown organic material on the right... is from a couple of mature pine trees I drug over from when the driveway got widened... when I first got here.
All the green stuff... lichen.

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Kinda speaks for it's self...



How would you like to plant veggies in this?

Don't let the shade fool you... the pine trees responsible... are some stunted useless slow-growing specimens.

here's a veggie picture... sorry it's blurry...
This is like the third or fourth planting of corn (this season), also in pic... cucumbers and beans and cosmos.
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[Last edited by stone - Jul 27, 2017 12:50 PM (+)]
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jul 27, 2017 12:52 PM CST
Abar: did you get that manure yet.

Plants are small = small fruit.
Picking encourages more growth and more fruit. Cucumber is deformed because it wasn't pollinated completely. Try some hand pollinating.

And get some composted manure.
About 1 inch around plants. Then again in a month. Etc. Etc.
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Jul 27, 2017 12:54 PM CST
DaisyI said:The operative word was in the title: alkali.

If I line my garden with this stuff, I would have a pond. An alkali pond - we call those playas.


Yeah, I've seen those ponds... 1 inch deep, 6 miles long....

I think the operative word is chalk...

Everybody is complaining about a lack of calcium in their soils, and you have so much that you are throwing it away!

Also of interest.... magnesium....

If you stacked those rocks around your beds.... you would have natural looking raised beds.

[Last edited by stone - Jul 27, 2017 12:55 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jul 27, 2017 1:15 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Our 'chalk' playas are made up of gypsum (a sulfate and not soluble), borate and a lot of salts. Have you noticed how many plants are growing out there? The chalk that is rich in calcium is out in the bubbly-pots (natural steam vents), also not a good place to garden (Although my geologist DD feels that by not farming in bubbly-pots, we are missing a great opportunity).

I am attaching two photos of my Sarracenia bogs. The rocks around the edges are what I took out of the ground so I could put them in. My whole yard looks this way but the rest of the rocks are hidden by plants. Smiling

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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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