Howdy from Southeast Texas

Discussion in 'Welcome to GardenStew' started by Papaw-John, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. Papaw-John

    Papaw-John New Seed

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    Location:
    Southeast Texas Located in the Big Thicket Zone 9a
    I have been looking for a good online garden community and this community came highly recommended. I am glad to be here.
    My Property:
    I am finally able to start gardening again after years.
    My sweet bride and I purchased 5 acres in the woods of the big thicket. It had been bulldozed and there were piles of trees, stumps and dirt piled high. We hired a dozer and a mulcher to clean it up and make a nice clean piece of land. I wish they had not bulldozed down all the trees, but I have about 40 that are about 20 to 30 feet tall already. I did not plant them just let them come up. They are pines, pin oak and tallow trees, I will eventually plant trees and take some of them out. They are my poineer trees. :)
    We dug a small DEEP pond (30' deep) and used the dirt from the pond to build up a house site and grade everything to drain to the pond.
    Our Soil:
    The soil is so bad! It is fine silt like clay and sand. After 4 or 5 days of rain I dare not drive my tractor on it, because it will sink to the axles (Done it 5 times). When it does not rain for a while it is hard as concrete!
    It will grow grass, but it struggles. I keep mowing it to add bio matter, it is helping, but slowly.
    It does not grow vegetables well. Or should I say "it does not grow vegetables period!"
    Garden This Year:
    I purchased a load of top soil. It came from an old cow pasture and had been scrapped off and piled up and set for about 5 years. There were some old dead roots in it (not many) but I have not had anything wild sprout from it. It cost me $105 including delivery. Way cheaper than Walmart bu the sack!
    I decided to make my wife a flower bed with it and I made one large grow bed. The grow bed is 8' x 24'. Here is a pictre I took the day I tilled it with my little electric tiller.
    [​IMG]
    I took the bucket from my tractor and dug the clay out to a depth of about 10". I framed it with 2" x 6" boards and filled it with the top soil. I tilled in a 55 gallon barrel full of 50% rabbit pellets and 50% leaves, composted. I also broadcast some 8-10-8 fertilizer before tilling.
    I feel I need to build a frame over it, because Winter and cool temperatures have lasted so long this year. I am going to try to cover it with 30% block sun screen fabric. If I don't I am afraid the plants won't have enough time to get big enough to take our hot summer sun. I can cover it with plastic next Winter if I want too. Here is a picture of what I am planning.
    [​IMG]
    I am excited to finally be able to really put some effort into my gardening and chickens.
    Next to start planting fruit trees, not sure what to do about the poor soil though.:shrug:

    Anyway, I have lots of questions and I am reading lots of posts. :smt039

    Signed, Papaw John in Texas
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
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  3. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Location:
    North Central Texas, Zone 8a
    Hi Papaw John, welcome to GardenStew from north central (specifically Dallas county) Texas. Our soil is black clay also but not being able to scrape it, I amend it with compost as I create a garden area. I have turned our front yard, back yard and north side yard into gardens....no grass allowed ;) My hubby was thrilled when he could give away the lawn mower a few years ago.
    I look forward to more photos and stories about your gardening adventures.
     
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  4. Frank

    Frank GardenStew Founder Staff Member Administrator

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    Wow I love the flower bed @Papaw-John Welcome to the GardenStew community. Lots of friendly members and tons of content to get through :)
     
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  5. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Hi there Papaw John. So glad you found us here at GardenStew. A warm welcome this time from Scotland.
     
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  6. DeepWoods

    DeepWoods In Flower

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    Location:
    Zone 7
    This will work in your situation...
     
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  7. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    What an excellent vid, Deep Woods.
    I have been doing no-dig for 20 yrs and can fully agree with the maker on the merits of this method. I have no personal knowledge of how it works outside my own country...with one exception: I met an american corn farmer who farmed on a huge scale. He was aware of the no-dig methods and in fact employed this technique on the couple hundred thousand acres that he farmed. He told me that he had a 32% higher yield using this method. I was astounded.
    Good luck to you should you try this method.
     
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  8. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    Location:
    Central Texas, zone 8
    Papaw, welcome from a fellow Texas gardener! You have a lovely site and with a bit of patience and work, it will be even better.
    We have chickens, too--Black Australorps. Great eggs, friendly and calm hens, and we enjoy their antics.
    Please keep us posted on your progress, ask any questions you may have, and enjoy your gardening!
     
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  9. Papaw-John

    Papaw-John New Seed

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    Location:
    Southeast Texas Located in the Big Thicket Zone 9a
    Thanks for the Video Deep Woods. Very good! :setc_027:
     
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  10. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    Location:
    NE Texas
    We are in NE Texas with sugar sand over red clay but have no trouble growing any vegatables . With a little help from 17-17-17 fertilizer and an ocassional liming ! Have used a bit of horse manure in the past since I have 6 horses and its free but not in the last few years. I wonder why you are having the problem ? Did they take topsoil off of your property in the past ?
     
  11. Islandlife

    Islandlife Young Pine

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    Hiya - I'm on the west coast of Canada on Vancouver Island. Rainforest and rock so gardening is a challenge but not like yours.

    My one and only suggestion - Do you have enough land to raise chickens? If you do you'll have TONS of compost (plus eggs) from their run that would be a terrific addition to your garden(s) (added the 's' as one garden is NEVER enough!)

    Where I happen to be is on the side of a mountain and almost all the ground here is rock. I've trucked in more garden soil than I care to remember. Every year I add probably 8 bags of compost bought from Wally World (or whomever has it on sale). I save all my newspapers and shred them in the paper shredder and bury them throughout the fall in the garden and they're always composted to nada by spring.

    Took me about 2 years before I really started to see any worms but now I regularly see them wiggling about the garden (and my beds are raised like yours). Anything that is composted should be put onto & into the soil.

    Best of luck with your gardens. LOVE your design to keep it covered!
     
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  12. Odif

    Odif Young Pine

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    I have watched a lot of Charles dowdings videos recently. His garden is amazing. I use woodchips to build up beds. Some of my gardens, I dig.
     
  13. Petronius

    Petronius Young Pine

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    Bonjour, Papaw-John! It is fun to make a new flower garden! :setf_045::setf_045::setf_045:
     

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