Got DIRT ? what you growing in


We finally got enough dry sunny days for my flat garden to be dry enough for a first break.

I am sure that I am not the only one on this board that just loves the smell and look of fresh dirt.

I have been gardening this 10x40’ bed for 20 years now… I bet I have thrown a pickup bed full of rocks out of it and put 4 times that much homemade compost in over the years… I think it looks pretty good.

I used to garden 3 beds like this but the other 2 have been converted to permaculture, fruit trees, berry bushes. This is the only flat bed that I garden now, and grow mostly veggies in, including tomatoes, sweet corn, cukes, zukes, okra, green beans, cantaloupe, greens, carrots, etc… I stick to mostly low carb veggies now days, but my kids just have to have some sweet corn every year.

At the back end of the bed you can see my Cub Cadet rear tine tiller… it has been a good one so far.

Also a row of Ilinni Blackberries and some fruit trees. Lots of bud swelling here, but no blooms yet. Another week or two and my peaches will start blooming, especially if it stays warm and sunny like the last few days.

I will be starting some greens soon, leaf lettuce, spinach, beet greens, carrots… It will be the end of April before I can safely get tomatoes in the ground.
Zone 7a - Tennessee.

Broke your garden yet ?

I would love to see how your dirt looks, what you are growing in ?



I’m also 7a but a slightly chillier 7a in Maryland. Only the faintest hint of bud swelling on peaches yet.

Tomcot Apricot has some very slight scale separation. Planting peas tomorrow.

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BG my early elberta and reliance peach trees are normally blooming mid March. They normally both start just a few days apart… and we often get a hard enough frost after that to wipe them out. I get a crop of peaches about 50% of the time…

Last year we had a hard enough frost on April 15… to take out my peaches, apples, and even my concord grapes (first time ever lost them). All of those already had fruit set… I had already thinned my peaches… and frosted, browned, fell off. So disappointing… My grapes sent out more growth 3-4 weeks later… but did not fruit again.

Hoping for a better year this year.

Last year I started a new peach, Rising Star and i grew like crazy. I hope it blooms later, or is more frost hardy… will see here soon.

I also started a Moor Park Apricot… I figure that is a long shot for me too…but I would sure love to eat some home grown apricots some day.


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Nice looking plot! (I highly recommend leaving it fallow one year, and also crop rotation…unless you’re putting it in an orchard now.)

Blueberry… I normally do a cover crop of greens in the fall… turnips collards spinach beets… we eat those… but late winter the deer mow them down… they eat the collards last… spinach first.

I have to leave this bed for veggies… I have planted my others in fruit trees and berry bushes already.


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My dirt is hard clay under cardboard under 6 inches of wood chips. I then pull that back and put potting soil in when I plant.

We’ll see how it goes.


My wife surprised me with 6 cubic yards of compost/mulch last week. It’s part of all of our garden beds now and there is still a big pile in the driveway for the kids to play on. Not sure where it will end up in our suburban yard


I use raised beds to garden in. No till, experimenting with cover crops. Trying to decide what I like.
Crop rotation limits what I grow. The good news is I’m removing a tree on the east side. It will increase the sun that comes into the garden. The garden now is full sun, it will get another hour maybe two at most, but pretty much sunrise to sunset.
My ground soil is clay loam that glaciers left. It’s great soil. My dogs though can’t tell grass from garden. With the raised beds, they understand not to go into them. I still grow many fruit shrubs in ground, and stone fruit too. I use most of my yard except in the front but I still have 4 fruit trees in front.
All my open soil is covered with leaves so nothing to see right now. It’s mostly always covered with something, leaves, cardboard, or a cover crop.


Drew … if you look close at my pic above… you can see that it is actually a raised bed but with no borders.

My topsoil is good but only 3 or 4 inches deep… then reddish sticky rocky clay… shows up.

When I first setup my 3 garden beds 20 years ago… I used a tractor and disk and broke up a large area and then used a box blade to scrape all the good top soil into 3 raised beds… each 10x40.

That gave me 8-10 inches of good soil in my beds… and has worked well over the years.

I planted my older fruit trees on raised hills made the same way.

Guess you could call that the loosest form of raised bed.



Here is a example of another raised bed that I made… I created this bed summer 2019 and planted it spring 2020 (last spring).

I made this one with my tiller, and a garden rake.

I broke up a 8’ wide by 90’ long area, about 4" deep (staying in my good top soil zone)… That area had grass and grass roots, so lots of organic matter. Once broken up good, I mowed grass on top of it for a couple months with my riding mower, got a nice deep layer of grass clippings on top, then broke it up again and raked it all up into a raised bed 4 x 90. I put 12 bales of hay on top late July 2019, and in October put 10 more on. By Spring 2020 man it was nice and everything I planted in there grew like crazy.

I filled it up with fruit trees and berry bushes too… :slight_smile:



what i have been doing to my yard for 7 yrs now. i aded 4-5in. of woodchips every spring. has done wonders to my soil here.


I have dirt envy looking at your photos. I have sand. Think beach sand that is so fine that if you pour water on the top of it, it just skitters downhill over the surface without soaking in at all. The same stuff sand dunes are made of. For 10 years I have been spreading the used chicken coop bedding over it when I clean the chicken coop, and I guess it has been working. My proudest moment came when the President of the local garden club was over digging up a shrub I was donating to the garden club, and she said, “How come your yard has real soil and we just have sand?”

Celebrate small victories. :grin:

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i dont know whats worse. my hard rocky clay or your fine sand. wish i could swap a couple loads of mine for a couple of yours. :wink:


I have 27 acres of woods on my property… mostly mature hardwoods… I do some forest farming too.

Thru that experience… I also realized how to collect woods compost… and I put several wheelbarrow loads of that on my garden bed over the winter.

Best collected where you have mostly maple and poplar trees… you simply take back the very top layer of fresh leaves… a good stout toothed leafe rake is all I use… the leaves on top that have not started composting yet… just rake those over… I usually work a strip 5 x 50 or so… once you rake lightly and move top layer over… you can go back over and rake again… this time rake hard and deep… pull all of that composted leaf litter up into a pile all the way down your 50 ft row. I use a flat shovel (old corn scoop) to take it up and put into my wheelbarrow. In one 5 x 50 ft strip I usually get 2-3 wheelbarrow loads of woods compost.

Note maple and poplar leaves break down quicker than most… and maple leaves have high calcium content.



I use a lot of woodchips…have for about 15 years now. They do break down very quickly. I take whatever is free so its a mix of various species–sometimes even xmas trees. For me its more about weed suppression. Any bare soil is automatically sprouting every weed imaginable. My soil is mostly river sand…fine for growing things (given water/some fertilizer) but also great for bugs (japanese beetles, rose chafers, curculios). This area was never glaciated (at least not last time), so the better soil in this state is to the east.

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Thanks, Steve, but shortly after moving here I had the idea of amending it with clay. Bad mistake. Clay + fine sand + water = concrete. I’m still trying to dig it all out.

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Actually, clay, plus coarse sand, plus organic matter…and you end up with some pretty good stuff…

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Yes, “coarse” being the operative term…


At least you have a perfect climate. We have to battle 4 seasons.most of it horrible :clown_face:

Just plant a couple of palm trees and call it a day :tropical_drink:


I should take half a day off tomorrow and till my garden. It is always difficult to till in the spring because it is so wet plus clay based soil. We have been without rain for better than a week so now is my chance. Rain starts Friday.
…and yes I get as much enjoyment watching my soil improve as I do growing things. Most years I dump a load of horse manure on it. All my kitchen scraps and leaves go in as well as rotten wood and fire pit ashes.

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