Help with new garden bed, mushroom compost or top soil?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by zanemoseley, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. zanemoseley

    zanemoseley LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    So I'm finally getting my yard in order and am going to start a new raised garden bed at an interior corner of my house's foundation. I will curve the outer border out at about a 10' radius, the bed will be approximately 80 sqft. I only have about 1" of decent top soil then it goes to clay, I want to till in either some top soil or compost to help the garden thrive.

    There is a wholesale mulch dealer nearby that also sells mushroom compost by the bag and by the yard. They have mushroom compost that they said would work well for a garden but I've read that sometimes its not so good. Here's a link to what they sell. They also sell top soil by the bag for $1.80 if I get 10 or more, they said it has some compost and sand mixed in with the soil. Unfortunately they don't sell it by the yard.

    I can get screened top soil from another place for $30 for 1.25 yards, they said its TN top soil so I'm not sure of the quality. It probably isn't the best quality if I had to guess but better than clay.

    Here's a picture of the area I'm turning into the garden. I'm a bit embarassed on the lack of weed eating but I'm about to go do that now. I may have to remove some clay as I need to keep the soil line below the brick. By time I add any amendments and 1-2" of mulch I will either be above the brick or sloping toward the foundation which I don't want. I'm also open to suggestions with this. I'll have to find some pavers of some sort to make a small retainer for the raised bed.


    Here's a yard shot from yesterday to redeem me from the lack of weedeating. We just got the yard going and I'm stoked, plus I get to use my Toro hydro WB mower now.

  2. LewisLawn

    LewisLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 518

    personally i would do a mixture of each maybe a 1/2 yard of each for that size of area that should get your depth of quality planting area suitable for tomatoes peppers etc. then before planting do a soil quality test to see what if any amendments you need....for certain veggies you'll want slightly sandy soil as well ie. carrots.
  3. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    I agree with the mix suggestion but I would find a better place to put your garden. Putting it next to your house like that is not a good idea .... especially considering it appears your soil is already too close to the siding.
  4. mnglocker

    mnglocker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 758

    Beat me to it. This is a BIG time concern. Get some distance between that garden and your house. You don't want to rot out your siding, sheathing, rim-plate and foundation.
  5. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Yes. Don't know what the code is in TN, but in CA code states 8" between soil and siding. It used to be 6", but recently got changed. Best to keep at least 6" spacing and never build up a planting bed next to your house, especially with siding like that, because you are just begging for problems.
  6. betmr

    betmr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,663

    Me too. Garden away from the house. Garden draws bugs & critters. Also what is your Sun Exposure there. Don't we want lots of Sun on our Garden? There is lots of room there, on that property. I would not want to do things like run a tiller and garden work, right against my house.
  7. zanemoseley

    zanemoseley LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    Well its a flower bed not vegetable which is why I'm putting it next to the house, this really is a nice spot for the bed as its next to our back porch and dining room. This location gets sun about half the day or more. I probably have 4" between the ground and the start of the siding in this and many places, this hasn't changed since I passed code.

    What I will do is relocate a substantial amount of the clay soil so the finished height isn't any higher than the grass is now.

    Also the extension office informed me that the local agricultural pavilion run by a local university has free compost if you shovel it yourself or they'll load it for $15. Its a mix of cow, sheep and horse manure along with sawdust. Pretty much what they clean from the stalls and main stage.
  8. heather lawn sp

    heather lawn sp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    Be careful with animal compost. Make sure it is old enough. If it is too new the high nitrogen levels will burn the plants.
  9. zanemoseley

    zanemoseley LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    Yeah I need to ask when I pick it up which pile is the oldest, there are tons of it there. I wouldn't be surprised if they have 100-200 dump truck loads on hand.

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