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Beginner Veggie Garden Project – Help with the basics!

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    G’day all,

    After recently weeding the garden and marking the growing area I am ready to start prepping the soil for spring planting.

    Can anyone give some advice on what is a good all round organic mixture I could use to help boost the soil?

    A few people I have talked to suggested some Mushroom Compost to be a great all-rounder i can mix into the soil, but was looking for a few more opinions.

    I plan to grow your standard set of veggies – tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, onion, capsicums – as well as a couple of herbs here or there.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


    I like green manure but it does take a bit of time. Maybe you would have time still to whack in some oats and dig it in prior to spring. Be a bit tight now though timewise.

    See for more info.

    But heaps of organic matter is the way to go.


    Hi, This sounds like an easy question but it really depends on your individual soil.

    The best way is to get a reliable soil test so that you know what you are really dealing with and get some good organic recommendations via a report (Nutri tech solutions do a good one and so to EAL in Lismore) but failing that a good quality compost is probably the safest way to go. It is good if you can find one that has an analysis as there are definitely composts and composts but it should smell like an old forest and not have lumps of stuff not broken down. Mind you a lot of compost makers just filter out this so that makes it a bit harder to tell if it has been composted well. If it smells of ammonia, don’t use it. Another test is if you get a little of it and put in some fast germinating seeds like radish and if they germinate well, it is probably alright to use. Good luck.


    I was originally planning on going for some green manure, but i thought I just missed it this year. It is definitely on the calendar for next season! I would much rather that than the great Loki Vs Dandelion et al. war of 2011

    I will hunt down some good quality compost but will be sure to make my own for next season!



    loki you may have missed out on time to “Build” your growing medium for spring and though good quality compost is costly no doubt you will do fine with that choice of path.

    We knew when we aquired our new block that time wasn’t on our side so gave up with planting straight up in prefrence to getting the next seasons (Spring) beds just right.There is no soil whatsoever in our beds,it’s a layered mixture of cardboard,alfalpha(lucerern)B&B,horse&chicken poo,more alfalpha,mushroom compost,then the same again without the cardboard layer,more mushroom compost but with more horse poo on top covered AND mixed with alfalpha.It sounds complexed but not so and has taken 5mths to break down and achieve our optimum levels…6 1/2 to 8 Ph and between 5 and 8 on moistuer holding capacity without watering except for natural rain.Our beds are obviously no dig and built up to 15″ deep,edges are 450mm of cutdown corro in rectangles.

    It does take time to get them ready If you go down the “NO SOIL” route but I think it’s more benificial in the longrun,although there is no reason why you cannot mix soil into the same mix after digging up inground vegie beds,we have done it befor and it worked.If you build up 3 lots of beds (summer,winter and the extra one to process between seasons)it will become self rotating which gives you something to do all year through.


    We’ve used mushroom compost here recently in some ornamental beds and they are growing really well. We have put dynamic lifter and cow manure plus our own compost into the vege beds as our soil is terrible and they are going really well. I usually do a green manure crop on a rotating system following the root veges with a legume and then dig it in after I harvest the goodies. Probably not what the textbooks say to do but it still works and I still get veges – win win I say :tup:

    It’s not too late to put some bush peas in or broadbeans depending on where you live, but you’ll need to be quick. I let mine fruit then dig in the plant. That will give you a good start in spring/summer on that bed and you’ll get something out of it in the meantime. Plants have to earn their keep here :laugh:


    when I did my garden 2 years ago, we made a planter box (big one) out of some gal that we had lying around, and coated it, then put cardboard boxes in the bottom. I called the local nursery who had good soil for vege gardens, so perhaps you could get a small load of this stuff if you’re close enough to a nursery, just to mix and “prop up” your garden for now until your green manure is ready?

    I bought 1/2 cubic metre of that, plus 1/2 cubic metre of fine bark, and mixed the two together, giving it aeration and slow releasing nutrients from the breakdown of the bark. The first year of vege’s was a boomer! the best we’ve had!

    This year, I’ve left the bed unplanted and have filled it with chookie poo and sugarcane mulch (which I use for the chookies bedding) and mixed it all through, and it’s all broken down and full of worms – ready for my spring planting, which I’ll begin as soon as my seedlings break through in the mini hothouse! πŸ˜€




    thanks for all the advice everyone! will take it all on board. I have a very rigorous green manure plan that I will have prepped for next season.

    For this season I will do the best with what I have. The area where the property is, is full of farms and I have been advised by my father I can get some bulk sheep/cow manure as well as hay etc. for incredibly cheap via the local farmers. I think i will get the shovel out and do my best with that!

    This weekend I am going back up to the property (to check on some of the fruit trees, wich i will take photos of and hopefully get people here to diagnose :dry: )

    But I also plan to grab all the weeds/grass I piled up, along with some of the dry leaves and brown matter to make a huge compost heap for next season!

    I tell you what, this stuff is addictive!


    just to show you what I had to deal with, this is what I came too after a long time of neglect!

    Direct centre of photos were some old potato plants on some mounds, still surviving some how.

    To the left are weeds suffocating some onions.

    The trees are olive trees and just behind them are some spring onions (suffocating from weeds).

    Around the border are some citrus trees etc.

    I forgot to take a photo of the after look, but will try do this weekend if I remember!

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