Ask a Question forum: Soil issues

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Tuba City, Arizona
chonahni
Apr 9, 2018 10:10 AM CST
I plan on starting a garden, but have some issues and need help. the ground isn't consistent around my home, the area i wanted to use has like white patches on it, I live in the northern arizona plateau region so the soil is red, clayish sand. Also, we have a rodent issue, is it possible that they can take the seeds from the ground ? we have a high alkaline in the soil as well, how can I treat this?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Apr 9, 2018 10:35 AM CST
Welcome!

We have exactly the same soil conditions: highly alkaline sand and clay. Those white patches are were the alkali has floated free of the sand. If your soil doesn't drain well, you have some salt buildup as well.

There are no organic components to your soil. The only thing you can do is dig in compost by the truck load. If you have poor drainage, add gypsum also.

Good luck!

PS: You could also put in raised garden beds and replace all the soil. That seems to cut down on the rodent problem. I haven't noticed them eating seeds out of the soil but every time something sprouts, a vole runs by and grabs the seedling. Every spring, I set "trap lines".
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[Last edited by DaisyI - Apr 9, 2018 10:42 AM (+)]
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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Apr 9, 2018 3:02 PM CST
DaisyI said:I haven't noticed them eating seeds out of the soil but every time something sprouts, a vole runs by and grabs the seedling.


At my house... the voles don't "run by", they set up house-keeping in the seed row and get every seed as soon as it starts to sprout... I don't even see seedlings!

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Can't even grow flowers...
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I start my seeds in gallon nursery pots and after the plants are large enough to handle... set them out... voles still wipe out plenty. The plants will be setting in a hole with the roots gnawed off...

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bean seedlings...

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the cats help.

Name: Kyle
Middle TN (Zone 7a)
Region: Tennessee Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses Ferns
Hostas Foliage Fan Bromeliad Heucheras Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds
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quercusnut
Apr 9, 2018 9:56 PM CST
I agree. I think cats are the best solution. I would be overrun with voles and pocket gophers if not for my 6 cats. nodding
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Apr 9, 2018 10:35 PM CST
I had a problem with woodrats this winter. They are often called pack rats.

To me, a rat is a rat.

From my research this winter, cats would help, but the woodrat population is too big right now, so I kept looking.

Based upon a suggestion of another NGA member, I started checking out owl houses. I found that owls will readily nest in an owl house, if it is sited correctly and that a family of owls will eat up to 3,000 rats in a year.

Once the owl house is in place, it only needs to be cleaned in the fall and the owls become the best rodent control available for woodrats ... they also eat voles.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Kyle
Middle TN (Zone 7a)
Region: Tennessee Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses Ferns
Hostas Foliage Fan Bromeliad Heucheras Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds
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quercusnut
Apr 10, 2018 1:12 AM CST
Sounds very interesting. Only problem for me is owls eat cats. Sighing!
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Apr 10, 2018 5:33 AM CST
Kyle .... I did think of that ... Smiling So far, they haven't bother Lovey, who has been my hunting cat. Actually, she is my neighbor's cat. However, she has slowed her hunting activities down and is semi-retired at 18. She does come in for most of the night.

I think as long as the owls have plenty of prey ... woodrats, voles, etc., they just leave her alone because she is larger than most of the prey they seem to prefer.

I don't know that, it's just one of my theories.

I have been looking for another hunting cat, too.

Edited for typo
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
[Last edited by RoseBlush1 - Apr 10, 2018 5:36 AM (+)]
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Name: Kyle
Middle TN (Zone 7a)
Region: Tennessee Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses Ferns
Hostas Foliage Fan Bromeliad Heucheras Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds
Image
quercusnut
Apr 10, 2018 8:00 AM CST
I have had cats just disappear. I can't say for sure it was owls though. Several years ago I found a baby horned owl underneath one of my trees. I couldn't save it though. So sad.I love owls.I don't want them eating my cats though.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Apr 10, 2018 3:39 PM CST
Thumb of 2018-04-10/stone/68a4a9

They also catch rabbits...

I used to have screech owls at my other garden... at least I think it was owls... sounded like a demon escaped from hell... raised the hackles up and down my spine to hear them...

Ok, just checked youtube... mine didn't sound cute like those...

Near as I can tell... it aint the owls that gets the cats... might be the rattlers, or the black widows... yesterday, I saw a cat trying to eat a bumble bee...

If it moves... The cat is gonna be interested....

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[Last edited by stone - Apr 10, 2018 3:43 PM (+)]
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Name: J.R. Baca
Pueblo West Co. ( High Dessert (Zone 6a)
josebaca
Apr 10, 2018 3:50 PM CST
Ms. Lyn;
An owl house would be so AWESOME! I have to make due with bat houses along the northside of my shed, but they're great too, they do to bugs what owls do to rabbits here. Fortunately, my 2 Jack Russel mix boys take care of the rabbits for me.

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