Martha “raised” (pardon the pun) a great question about how to get through root bound soil. This No Dig formula from Organic Gardening, Dec 2010/Jan 2011 issue, is the answer. If you live in the city it might be wise to plant your vegetables in raised beds. Any unwanted city soil metals will always leach down and not up from the soil. Here’s the ingredients for a 4×8 bed. It can be contained in boards, rocks, chicken wire, bricks or left free standing.
For an 4×8 raised bed
- 2-3 pounds bloodmeal and bonemeal
- 1 bale of herbicide-free alfalfa hay
- 1 bale of herbicide-free straw (bedding straw will have no seeds)
- 10 cubic feet of compost (best if it’s your own)
- Wet soil and add generous amount of bonemeal/bloodmeal.
- Cover ground with 1/2 inch newspaper then bonemeal/bloodmeal.
- Place 4 inch-deep layer of alfalfa then bonemeal/bloodmeal.
- Layer 8 inch-deep with straw then bonemeal/bloodmeal.
- Top with 4 inches compost then bonemeal/bloodmeal.
- Plant veggie starts or seeds in compost layer.
- Top with more straw or grass clippings.
- Between crops, rejuvenate the top portions with 2-3 inches of straw and 3-4 inches of compost.
- Keep the bed moist until the plants are about 6 inches tall, then follow regular watering.