Building quality vegetable garden soil may see a bit complex. Even master gardeners must work hard to achieve it. Then what hope is there for a weekend gardener? First, lets examine what makes good garden soil.
As long as there is adequate sunlight, all of the rest of the above items can be fairly easily achieved! Yes, you can build quality vegetable garden soil quite easily. Here is the formula:
The real miracle in the above formula for vegetable garden soil is the ramial chipped wood. The first year you will have ok soil, the second year you will have good soil, and the third year you will have great soil. Even the best gardeners require 3 to 5 years to build great soil. Because of all the benefits of ramial chipped wood, you have to do very little to grow great soil, and produce professional results!
Let me elaborate a little on the above 5 steps:
It is quite important when starting a garden to make sure that no mineral is grossly out of balance. Go to my soil test page for easy steps in bringing things into balance. Because you are using ramial chipped wood, which supplies well rounded nutrition for your garden, you can probably get by with only doing the soil test the first year.
The majority of trace minerals so important to nutritious foods have leached from our soils and found their way to the ocean. Applying sea minerals is a way to recycle these nutrients. The ocean contains a good balance of trace minerals – it isn't high on one and low on another. When a plant is supplied with the full spectrum of needed trace minerals, great things can happen. That’s because healthy plants resist insect and disease invasions.
Humic acids are quite special. Not only do they help bacteria to break down salt and toxins, but they also act like a glue to join soil particles together. This can help to turn compacted soil into crumbly vegetable garden soil, provides a good environment for beneficial microbes and earthworms, and creates millions of tiny air pockets in the soil. These air pockets provide the oxygen needed by beneficial microbes, and help to store rain and irrigation water.
One fall I applied liquid humic acids for the first time to my lawn. I was amazed by the great number of earthworms I had by the next spring. As you know, earthworms are great for the soil. I also know of farmers that used to have a problem with water standing in their fields after a good rain. But after using humic acids for the first year, the water just soaked in, and did even better the second year that they applied them. Humic acids can do wonders for a garden.
Ramial chipped wood is made by chipping small branches and twigs from hardwood trees and bushes that are still green. These small branches contain 75% of the nutrients of the tree. Sadly, until recently no one realized just how quickly they could transform poor, lifeless soil to rich, thriving vegetable garden soil. Here is a way that you can apply RCW even in the spring or summer and still get great results.
Some people prefer to compost the wood chips and then use them. The major drawback to this is that with compost, bacteria are what break things down, not fungi. Compost heaps get hot. Yes, it does destroy pathogens, but the composting process also results in losing some of the organic matter, beneficial to vegetable garden soil.
Second, composting RCW doesn't build long-term humus, which is one of the greatest benefits of using RCW. In contrast, when RCW is used as a mulch, the organic compounds go directly down to the vegetable garden soil structure and feeds the soil food chain without any loss, providing a rich environment for beneficial fungi, mites, pot worms, earthworms, algae, bacteria and mycorrhizae.
Step 5 (optional)
Though raised beds are not generally necessary when using RCW, I myself prefer to garden with them, since they are a quick path to deeper top soil, plus they’re a good solution to soils that are in a bog and don’t drain well. You can click here (raised beds) to go to my web pages about gardening with raised beds. I put a few inches of RCW on the paths between my raised beds. This helps to prevent weeds, and provides a soft, non-muddy path to walk on.
Additional Resources on RCW
For many years the Back to Eden website has inspired people the whole world over to use Ramial Chipped wood.
The French Gardener has some good information on Ramial Chipped Wood on his website.
My neighbor Mark has a YouTube channel, with 25 videos about gardening with RCW.
"RCW: The Clue to a Sustainable Fertile Soil", 19 pages.
"Chipped Branch Wood", 12 pages.
For a 50 year history of RCW, read the pdf document, "The Hidden World that Feeds Us all", 40 pages.
On pages 6-9 of the pdf article "MRBS, Ramial Wood Chips"' you will find a comparison of advantages and disadvantages of chemical fertilizers, compost and RCW. 6 pages.
"RCW, A Basic Tool for Regenerating Soil", 15 pages.
1. Ramial Chipped Wood
2. RCW solves gardening
3. RCW helps create
the perfect soil
4. RCW for bushes, trees
5. RCW creates a perfect
6. Growing soil with RCW
by incorporating in soil
7. Getting free RCW, and
which trees work best
8. Applying RCW
After extensive research, the items in this right column are ones that my family and I have found useful, and I trust
that they may be helpful to you as well.
Concentrated sea minerals,
blended with herbs,
and olive oils.