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Old 02-25-2021, 06:08 AM
 
2,041 posts, read 823,898 times
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I also use VA Tech. One nice thing, perhaps its true in other states, is that the extension agent can look at the soil sample too so if you call with a question, it saves steps.
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Old 02-25-2021, 06:39 AM
 
Location: Raleigh
10,784 posts, read 8,167,390 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NORTY FLATZ View Post
Good way to waste money, I guess.

First thing you need to do is take a few soil samples (different depths) to a lab. Find out what you need. NOT what "Home Depot" wants to sell you. Nurseries have this service.
I mean, because their $1.48 a bag topsoil is for suckers. Hard to go wrong adding basic ammendments like compost.
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Old 02-25-2021, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Sandy Eggo's North County
2,917 posts, read 1,001,828 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bungalove View Post
It's still generally cheaper to have your local extension service send off a soil sample for testing than to have a nursery do it. Our extension office uses the labs at Virginia Tech, which is about as good as you can get and only charges $9 for a full soil work-up. The local nursery chain, although they are a good nursery, charges $39.99. Interestingly though, they have links to VA Tech, the local Cooperative Extension offices, UMD and MD Cooperative Extension Offices as well, all of which offer the much cheaper soil tests. Why waste money at Home Depot and Lowes doing guess work when you can get the exact quantities of nutrients that you need for your soil at such a low price?
YES, YOU'RE RIGHT. I FORGOT ABOUT FFA AND LOCAL COMMUNITY COLLEGES. A great resource for sure.
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Old 02-25-2021, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
15,465 posts, read 17,784,145 times
Reputation: 16664
My wife is a Master Gardener and the pro tips she gets from her group is invaluable. They know where to get the cheapest and best amendments. One word of caution (a tip we learned)- avoid grass clipping 'compost' and even some wheat straw from lawn care services and ag folks. Treated lawn compost or 'weed free' wheat straw can be hazardous to a garden. Residual herbicides can exist in them.

Much better to compost and use au natural 'stuff'.
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Old 02-25-2021, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
75,595 posts, read 59,245,020 times
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Peat Moss and Compost. If you don't have a compost pile yourself then you'll have to go buy a yard or bags of it and its not cheap. Start looking for a spot to pile your leaves, kitchen scrap, and free manure from a farm. Next year you'll love it
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Old 02-25-2021, 04:27 PM
 
4,331 posts, read 3,851,022 times
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Has anyone tried something like Back to Nature Cottonseed burr compost? I was specifically told this was the best for my brand new flower beds at my last house. I ended up putting some down without mixing it in and it worked great. I haven't tried it for vegetables.
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Old 02-26-2021, 05:56 AM
 
2,141 posts, read 780,453 times
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Originally Posted by Sarahsez View Post
Has anyone tried something like Back to Nature Cottonseed burr compost? I was specifically told this was the best for my brand new flower beds at my last house. I ended up putting some down without mixing it in and it worked great. I haven't tried it for vegetables.
Flowers could be ok, but watch out for a persistent pesticides and herbicides residue - I wouldn’t use it on vegetable.

You just never know what is in there; no tests are available by design.
Agriculture learned from the tobacco industry: if they”don’t know” about harmful residue- they can not be found culpable in case of their products harming people.
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Old 02-26-2021, 06:04 AM
 
Location: Boydton, VA
3,362 posts, read 4,044,306 times
Reputation: 6860
"Cost Effective Ways To Improve Poor Soil In Veggie Garden?"

All of my grass clippings (lots) are used as mulch during the growing season and tilled in at the end of the season. All of my leaves are used to cover the garden in the off season, then tilled in when spring arrives. One year, I was fortunate to find a supply of fresh horse manure which I used to super charge my compost pile. I buy no soil amendments from the big box stores....doing so is not a cost effective solution.

Regards
Gemstone1
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Old 02-26-2021, 06:42 AM
 
Location: Windsor Ontario/Colchester Ontario
1,636 posts, read 1,633,424 times
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My grandfather would always just bury kitchen scraps in the garden instead of throwing them away. Eventually they break down and add lightness and nutrients to the soil, and at absolutely no cost to you.
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Old 02-26-2021, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Raleigh
10,784 posts, read 8,167,390 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gemstone1 View Post
"Cost Effective Ways To Improve Poor Soil In Veggie Garden?"

All of my grass clippings (lots) are used as mulch during the growing season and tilled in at the end of the season. All of my leaves are used to cover the garden in the off season, then tilled in when spring arrives. One year, I was fortunate to find a supply of fresh horse manure which I used to super charge my compost pile. I buy no soil amendments from the big box stores....doing so is not a cost effective solution.

Regards
Gemstone1
But OP stated they gardened in a community garden. Which implies that getting yard waste to the plot is diffcult.
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