raised-bed Prepping Raised Bed

My raised bed measures 10'x 7'x12". My soil is very silty. The local nursery told me I needed to introduce organic matter into the soil. So far, per their recommendation, I've rototilled in about 4.5 Cu Ft (1 1/2 sacks) of this product:http://www.groworganic.com/happy-frog-soil-conditioner-3-cu-ft-from-foxfarm.html

The intent was that this would encourage earthworm activity before Spring next year. In early Spring 2013, the nursery advised I till in another sack of the Happy Frog, plus 2 sacks of composted steer manure, and some dolomitic lime.

My concern is whether this regimen will provide enough organic matter to keep the silty soil from compacting when I water. Frankly, I'm thinking of adding a liberal amount of bagged compost in place of the Happy Frog, keeping the rest the same. I will also add worm castings at planting.

What do the experts here think?
 
Im far from an expert......if you are not going to grow something in the beds before spring, cover the beds with 4-6" straw, regular, lucerne or pea straw. the cover that with cowmanure, from the field/yard if you can get it. Water the straw initially. dig it in in the spring and off you go.
 
Might not hurt to till in some leaves, grass clippings, pine needles, etc while you're at it since they are free yard waste. I also add the plants from last season except for very woody stems.
 
I'd be getting some composted manure and working that in as well. Also, another great and FREE amendment is coffee grounds from Starbucks. They have a program to give a free bag of spent coffee grounds (if available) to anyone who asks. Hit up 4-5 Starbucks, grab a bag from each and sprinkle them on your bed. It's like delicious, caffeinated worm food.
 
It would concern me that your local nursery is recommending one of the more expensive products to be added when you could just add the other things mentioned in this thread with similar results.
I also find it odd that they are making admendment recommendations without a soil test. You can also check with your local community and see if there is any composting of yard waste. Many communities offer free or cheap compost. Happy Frog is high quality for sure, but it seems like overkill to me. Silty soil is one of the easier soil types to start with.
 
If you are trying to promote a worm population I would not till in the spring. The motorized tillers really chop up the soil and will kill a lot of your worms. If you really need to work something into the soil, do it in the fall then let everything rest over winter. I also agree with the idea of a nice thick cover of hay or some other good mulch material. The bottom side of this layer will steadily break down leaving behind good growing material.
 
Thanks for all the advice. This will be my first grow season. I'm really liking the straw/manure treatment idea for the upcoming seasons. No reason to spend $$ on bagged soil treatments...now I know.

Well, I'm sitting here watching all of the Fall leaves dropping on my front lawn and am thinking about putting a thick layer of these leaves over the top of my raised bed. If I do that, do I just let them sit until Spring, and then lightly till them under by hand? Or maybe, no tilling at all? Any further tilling will be done by hand.
 
You could do that or better yet,how about you use those leaves and get a compost pile started?Add all your green waste kitchen scraps,coffee grounds,egg shells etc...etc.... then once broken down can be added to further enrichen your soil.
 
You could do that or better yet,how about you use those leaves and get a compost pile started?Add all your green waste kitchen scraps,coffee grounds,egg shells etc...etc.... then once broken down can be added to further enrichen your soil.

I don't have a place for a pile. Not sure my wife would go for that either. I've seen composting drums for sale that you turn with a handle on the side, but they are spendy. What other "bin" options are there? I've heard of using trash cans, but how do you turn the stuff over that is on the bottom?
 
The key to the trash can method is finding a round can with a lid that can be secured tightly. Turn it on its side and roll it around the yard for a bit. Presto! Compost stirred.
 
Back
Top