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-   -   So much for dirt cheap. (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f92/so-much-dirt-cheap-55569/)

GilaMinumBeer 02-18-2008 08:49 PM

So much for dirt cheap.
 
Last year my first year hops took a real beating as a result of an unusually wet season. Couple that with my hard clay soils and well the odds are stacked against me hoppy little friends.

Still, 3 plants fought through the bogs and one even "fruited" a harvestable yield.

So, this year I tripling my varieties and completely revising my hop yard in favor of a raised bed. I have managed to collect a fair amount of free material to constuct said garden. I am using galvanized sheet metal for the bed side which will be lined with a landscape fabric to ward off potential zinc leeching into the soil.

Now I am faced with 2 final issues. Procuring 3, 16 foot long posts to emulate a commercial yard and buying soil on the cheap. I have found the posts but it took some searching.

The soil is another issue al together. Dang is that stuff expensive. I got a quote for 2 tons delivered at $300.00.:confused:

Beerlord 02-18-2008 08:55 PM

How many yards is 2 tons? I got 3 yard delivered last year for under $100 from Home depot (they contract with the local places)

GilaMinumBeer 02-18-2008 09:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beerlord
How many yards is 2 tons? I got 3 yard delivered last year for under $100 from Home depot (they contract with the local places)

About 8. Very roughly.

I also found that these place are very inconsistent on how the quantify the volume. Logic sez by the cubic yard but most quanitfy by tonnage and few have been helpful when given area dimensions.

Geesh!

rdwj 02-18-2008 09:07 PM

You can usually get bagged top soil for about a buck a 50lb bag. Ya, you have to move it yourself, but it's doable. You'd need about 8o bags

BigKahuna 02-18-2008 09:16 PM

Ask The Farmers.
 
In and around OK City, Ask the local farmers if any of them have a way to bring you "Blow Dirt" from their fence lines. Usually, they just scoop it back into the fields, but if asked it's usually no problem to dump it into a pickup or something.
It should be just right for a Hops crop. It will be somewhat sandy, and it is in effect the top soil from farm ground. Here in Colorado we mix it about 1:1 with creek sand then plant grass in it. I bet I could find 50 front yards that were seeded that way. Anyway, this should work in Oklahoma too. Plus you could ask about local grains while you are there.

GilaMinumBeer 02-18-2008 09:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigKahuna
In and around OK City, Ask the local farmers if any of them have a way to bring you "Blow Dirt" from their fence lines. Usually, they just scoop it back into the fields, but if asked it's usually no problem to dump it into a pickup or something.
It should be just right for a Hops crop. It will be somewhat sandy, and it is in effect the top soil from farm ground. Here in Colorado we mix it about 1:1 with creek sand then plant grass in it. I bet I could find 50 front yards that were seeded that way. Anyway, this should work in Oklahoma too. Plus you could ask about local grains while you are there.

An excellent idea but, unfortunately there are no farms around my area. I do live in a rapidly developeing area betwixt two cities and there is an old dry river bed nearby. I am hopeing I can convince someone at the nearest construction site to haul a load a mere 3 blocks away to my yard for cheap. Trouble is they never seem to be working when I am able to get there.

I have my eyes on one site in particular. It has a nice deep brown soil with some reddish highlights. Which is about the best native soil one could find in my area. Frikin Oklahoma clay. It's too bad that Saaz hops are protected. I have read that they contribute their character to the high iron content of the red soils in which they are grown. Maybe my native soils will favor Sterling.

missing link 02-19-2008 07:46 PM

I'm in Michigan and 5 yards delivered is under $100. My pick up can only handle 3/4 of a yard max. and that is close to 1 ton.

GilaMinumBeer 02-19-2008 09:12 PM

I did visit the job site I have had my eyes on and talked to the manager of the project. It's looking like I'll be having 10 yards of powdered chocolate delivered to my house this week. I just have to negotiate delivery with the driver in question.

zoebisch01 02-19-2008 09:19 PM

Why not improve your soil without buying it? Actually that is where you should start imho. Clay can be a great base soil to start with as long as you alleviate the compaction, mainly by adding Organic Matter (OM). There are oodles of methods for soil improvement, however the most simple is that if you have enough space to start composting then that is ideal. Another method for immediate relief is to double dig your soil to mitigate the effect of compaction. This will make a 'raised bed' out of your soil as there will be more air space. This is highly beneficial to wet seasons as the soil you plant your hops in will be above the surrounding ground. It doesn't help prevent Powder Mildew, (which is due to foliar dampness) but it will prevent root problems.

I can personally speak to the amazing improvements I saw when I used to have nothing but Red Clay with plenty of Limestone in there as well. After simply alleviating compaction by double digging I had plants that were transplanted out of a traditional garden bed actually surpass the ones left in the traditional bed! That includes transplant shock. The ones in the raised bed produced like mad, but the traditionally planted ones always struggled. After I began adding compost, it became evident that I would never return to traditional planting methods. Granted, double dug raised beds are not beneficial in every situation...however the soil and climate conditions where it improves things is greater than where it doesn't.

GilaMinumBeer 02-19-2008 09:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zoebisch01
Why not improve your soil without buying it? Actually that is where you should start imho. Clay can be a great base soil to start with as long as you alleviate the compaction, mainly by adding Organic Matter (OM). There are oodles of methods for soil improvement, however the most simple is that if you have enough space to start composting then that is ideal. Another method for immediate relief is to double dig your soil to mitigate the effect of compaction. This will make a 'raised bed' out of your soil as there will be more air space. This is highly beneficial to wet seasons as the soil you plant your hops in will be above the surrounding ground. It doesn't help prevent Powder Mildew, (which is due to foliar dampness) but it will prevent root problems.

I can personally speak to the amazing improvements I saw when I used to have nothing but Red Clay with plenty of Limestone in there as well. After simply alleviating compaction by double digging I had plants that were transplanted out of a traditional garden bed actually surpass the ones left in the traditional bed! That includes transplant shock. The ones in the raised bed produced like mad, but the traditionally planted ones always struggled. After I began adding compost, it became evident that I would never return to traditional planting methods. Granted, double dug raised beds are not beneficial in every situation...however the soil and climate conditions where it improves things is greater than where it doesn't.

I do plan to amend the soils myself which is why I need soil on the cheap. I need a raised bed garden to eliminate bogging as my hop yard is in the direct path of water runoff along the side of my home. Thus, digging in is not an option as it will just create a slow draining bog.

I actually don't mind the clay or the work involved to amend it. I just don't care for the premiums in the cost of material and I dont have any place on-site I can rob of the volume of soil I need for this project.

Over the last year and a half I have also been composting in preparation for this project and have amassed a nice mound of ready compost underneath a pile of regularly turned and weted, actively composting yard and kitchen waste.


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