Toby Hemenway wrote:These are all smart recommendations. In the tropics, most of the biological activity is in the vegetation and not in the soil. Mulches will help, and get layers of vegetation going to stack in lots of activity and create shade to keep organic matter from burning up. Layers will break the impact of the rain, too, and keep soil in place.
H Ludi Tyler wrote:You might also consider buried wood beds.
Ken Peavey wrote:
-I have never successfully grown a beet down here.
John Anderson wrote:I have been using 55 and 30 gallon plastic drums cut in half both ways with good results using soil I make, the center ring when cutting them in thirds, vertically, makes an excellent ring for cabbage, tomatoes etc. Actually I make a 2 foot high bench using 8 to 10 foot long 2x6s and 2 foot 4x4s for the legs to put the half barrels on, gives me a no weed and no bend garden for lettuce, radishes, onions, kale etc. and it is easy to cover with shade cloth from april on using pvc as a frame. The potatoes, corn , squash is grown in the ground although squash and cukes do good in the barrels.
I have 2 ideas that might help.First is wicking beds, http://wickingbed.com/. Second is kaolin clay C.S.I.R.O.reaserch shows verry good results for improved wetting and nutrient holding,Florida has major kaolin producers.
Aria Stroph wrote:I have been considering purchasing land in the southeastern US, probably north FL. One of my main concerns is that soil in these areas is often extremely sandy. The area that I'm leaning towards the most looks like this: sand for the first 1-4 feet, with a sandy loam starting around 3-6 feet down, and sandy clay (or sandy clay loam) beginning around 5-10 feet below the surface. Basically, the top few feet are mostly sand. Large swaths of land were planted with slash pine trees a couple decades ago, so that's mostly what's growing in the area.
So obviously this is not the most ideal gardening soil, but the land is very affordable, and I'm willing to put in the extra work up front. I've been considering how to improve the soil, and here are my ideas so far:
-Cut down many of the pine trees and laying large logs on contour to form quick, rudimentary swales. The land is mostly flat out there, but whatever slopes I might have available, I'll take advantage of.
-Inoculate the pine stumps with edible mushrooms.
-Pile the smaller logs, sticks, and needles from the pine trees (and any other obtainable organic debris) on the uphill side of the swales, forming a sort of hugelkultur terrace/raised bed thing.
-Cover the whole thing with a mix of sand and loam from the property and sow a mix of ground covers to fix nitrogen and provide more compostable material.
-Build the site up over time with larger plants, constantly improving the soil and enlarging the garden.
Does all of this sound feasible?
Also, with such sandy soil, is it possible to install ponds/lakes without liners? I guess I'd have to dig down until the soil is mostly clay so the lake bottom can be compressed...
Thanks for your help!