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I pose a question - How are you prepping our horrible sandy soil for planting? I am a big newbie to gardening. I am reading books, but I have yet to figure out the science of soil. Any help would be appreciated.
 

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I ain't an expert ,but I live in Florida and grew up gardening .
My suggestion would be to first start on your compost pile. Compost does tends to leech right through the sand ;so you might consider a raised bed , and also to start very small.
 

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I add horse manure (free from Mom's pasture). I have started composting this year and will be adding this, too. Also, I will be adding composted chicken poop. Any amendments like this help. But you will be surprised at what will grow in Florida's sandy soil.
 

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We had a hard time with our garden as well. An old man told me a trick he used. Make raised beds and the put newspaper down at the bottom. Not the colored but the black and white and then fill it up with good garden soil. Also make a compost pile. Keep it going on and add and turn frequently. We also add those drip hoses to our garden. You might want to try hay at the bottom instead of news paper. Might work too. We are trying that in a new bed. You will have to water everyday unless you get a lot of rain. In NE FL it has been dry so we water in the evening with a timer on the hose.
 

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I pose a question - How are you prepping our horrible sandy soil for planting? I am a big newbie to gardening. I am reading books, but I have yet to figure out the science of soil. Any help would be appreciated.
all the above, but you better realy compost the chicken poop or it'll burn you garden up. personally i prefer raised beds it's just realy low maintenace, a little costly to start, unless you can get donated materials but will save in so many ways in the long run it's more than worth it. and in a tshtf senario low matenance is exactly what your going to need.
 

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I used to live in Panama City and have a few acres in Fountain... that sandy loam can grow anything without help, Everything I put in the ground grew bigger than it was supposed to.
 

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I second TrapperJohn's recommendation. For it will be hard at first but if you can find vegatation and manures to compost. And after letting it decompose and turn it in year after year one can eventually make a square of real dirt in the middle of sand!

The challange is to get enough of the stuff to compost. I know in Florida that raking leaves is hardly done in most areas. But here in the mid-west, I've known people to "steal" grass clippings in the summer and leaves in the fall (from the neiborhoods serrounding theres) and to put it in there compost piles and at the end of the season till it in directly in to their plots. In the end they transformed hard clay to loose soil.


Rifleman 336
 

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I'm in florida around the Ocala area. I have never had a problem growing tomatoes out of sand. Thats all I have ever gardened. This year though I created - two 5x8 raised bed planters with 2x6's and mixed the sandy soil with "Miracle Grow Soil for Flowers and Vegetables" from Lowes. It was like 7.50 for a 56# bag. Its pretty rich stuff. I'll be trying my luck with bell peppers, onion, spinache, and lettuce. In a couple months I'll get the watermellon seed inthe ground about 20' from the planter beds. Watermellon loves sand and needs no attention.
 

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Your short term solution is to grow with raised beds. It will cost you a bit to get them set up though.

Your long term solution is to work the soil slowly by improving it annually throughout the year with amendments. Compost is the first part, in addition to composted manure. Humus will help as well. You can make compost yourself or buy it. With merely "sandy soil", after a few years you should have some decent soil.

Ask yourself how long you plan on living there and how much money are you willing to spend on soil improvement, as well as how much time and effort you are willing to put into improving the soil quality.
 

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Yea you're right about that. This is the first time planting variety. Sort of gettin' the hang of it. Next season I will definitely lose the bed rails and expand the space to include more plants. You are very limited by the size of the bed. I only had to spend $ on dirt and seed - I had some old 2x6 left over from when my barn was built. I have also been composting for about 6 mo.
 

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Florida gardening/growing is a new werld in its own..I'm used to rich dark northern soil and moving here years ago has taught me a lot as well as tips from locals at the feed store..(lots of lime!!!*) lol The leaf compost is one of the best.With all the trees I have it's a free endless supply,add to that the thanks my 9 chickens leave me for feeding them besides the eggs they supply its a great addition to change the soil and very cost effective! One more tip,I like to buy real potatoes and peel them if you like mashed potatoes instead of instant for better taste plus adding them to the pile adds loads of worm food and one of the few places I find them plentiful in Florida...my compost pile...free fishing bait and great treats for my chickens =)
P.S. Dont forget to turn the pile and keep it moist..plastic helps!
Poison~~~~~~>
 

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In the early spring when i pickup leaves from the yard i put them in the middles of the rows,it keeps the grass down,and eventually will decompost into the ground.I have a lot of big oaks so i accumlate a lot of leaves.
 

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the composting helps a lot. The easiest solution, especially in a post shtf enviroment, is to simply grow plants that are native to the area. This goes for every area, not just florida. Plants native to the area are used to that type of soil, temperature, and precipitation levels, so you don't have ot water much either. For Florida this includes any citrus, blackberries, and others. Research what plants are indigenous to the area.

For other plants, use compost and any fertilizers you have.
 

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I'm certainly not an expert but the small amount I do grow like my tomatoes, potatoes, beans and carrots and just use normal fertilizers works well.
The one thing that I do notice is because of the sandy soil I water every three days as it seems to drain through the soil quickly and not hang around longer like in real dirt.
 

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I use manure (horse ,chicken or rabbit) And I mix it into compost with oak leaves and saltwater seaweed or (hyacinth, hydrilla). I also add a fish head next to each seedling to get things a good start. also try to use some kind of naturally degradable mulch. (pine needles, oak or maple leaves). Without mulch you can't maintain enough moisture here without using an enormous amount of water.
 
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