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Topsoil question

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Re: Topsoil question

Post  plantoid on 8/31/2016, 5:30 am

Beetle,
 Getting carrot seeds to germinate (  goes for any other sort of small seed as well ) if you can get them soaked & germinating before you put them in the beds you'll have a better than fair chance of getting a decent crop from them.

One way I've done it ( for quite a few  years ) was to get hold of some cellulose wall paper paste powder that does NOT have a fungicide added to it .

Make up a 1/4 pint of paste from it and then pour it in a polythene bag , adding half a packet of carrot seed and gently stirring them evenly throughout the paste.  Now tie off the bag and slip it some where dark that is nice and warm @ around  70 to 75 oF .  I used my linen airing cupboard as it also contained the hot water cylinder

To be continued .

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Re: Topsoil question

Post  plantoid on 8/31/2016, 6:26 am

Continued...
 After a few days you will notice that the seeds have started to sprout there will be microscopic greenish yellowish shoots starting to show in each seed. grow them on till the seedlings are about 1/2 inch long, they will now start to look like tiny whitish thread worms . Now is the time to so them ,, make a narrow straight line drill in the growing medium about 1/2 " deep , carefully snip off a tiny corner off the bottom of th polythene bag so you can use it like an icing bag and gently squeeze out a thin stream of paste & seedlings .

 Cover the sown drill without pressing the soil down , then  using a fine rose /spray head  gently water it well along the drill , this is to allow the paste to form a capillary path into the soil . Water well each early morning before the sun gets hot and again once the sun is well into setting.  It won't be long before you have a bumper carrot crop.

 If you cannot buy fungicidal free paper paste , try using some guar or xanthum gum powder ( it's a thickener for use in cooking ) instead .
Use cooled boiling water to reconstitute it .
Put it in a clean dry screw top container ,  add some cooled boiled water add a level  teaspoon of gum powder . Put the lid on and shake like mad for a couple of minutes , leave it half an hour , re-shake then pour the mixture into a small pan and boil up , the glop is then lidded and left to cool .   Now put it in a clean unused polythene bag  when it is cold  to room temperature ..it will be fairly sterile so should not cause mould problems.

 Go ahead and put your seeds in , the germination & sowing instruction as now as above .

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Re: Topsoil question

Post  plantoid on 8/31/2016, 6:34 am

@yolos wrote:
@MrBooker wrote:My wife bought some Scotts Premium topsoil to fill in some low spots in the yard. When I open the bag, I notice the soil was dry and had a rich black color. Some of the clumps crumbled easily.

 The ingredients are: peat, composted forest products, aged rice hulls (or compost) and sphagnum peat moss. Good thing is, it's on sale for .50 cnts for a .75 cubic foot bag.

My question is, could this be counted as one of the 5 kinds of bagged compost?
I have 2 1/2 bags left over and I'm in the process of putting together another 4x8 bed. Would it be ok to use the 2 1/2 bags of topsoil in my new bed.??
As far as I am concerned this is not soil.  It is not made of minerals (which I thought was what differentiated soil from compost).  Minerals may not be the correct term.  Compost made of peat, forest products, rice hulls will eventually completely decompose.  I don't think soil will completely decompose because of the makeup of the soil.  

I have been looking for some true soil (or maybe I should be calling it dirt) and can't find any bagged product that is not made of compostable products or products that will eventually disappear from decomposition.

https://southwestgardener.com/soil-vs-compost/
  Yolos ,
To make your own quality dirt based soil .. Perhaps have a look for the formulae for the official versions of , " John Innes potting , cutting & seed growing mixes . The contain washed sands , small grit & graves as well as sterile plant material etc.  & mother earth.

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Re: Topsoil question

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/31/2016, 8:08 am

@plantoid wrote:Continued...
 After a few days you will notice that the seeds have started to sprout there will be microscopic greenish yellowish shoots starting to show in each seed. grow them on till the seedlings are about 1/2 inch long, they will now start to look like tiny whitish thread worms . Now is the time to so them ,, make a narrow straight line drill in the growing medium about 1/2 " deep , carefully snip off a tiny corner off the bottom of th polythene bag so you can use it like an icing bag and gently squeeze out a thin stream of paste & seedlings .

 Cover the sown drill without pressing the soil down , then  using a fine rose /spray head  gently water it well along the drill , this is to allow the paste to form a capillary path into the soil . Water well each early morning before the sun gets hot and again once the sun is well into setting.  It won't be long before you have a bumper carrot crop.

 If you cannot buy fungicidal free paper paste , try using some guar or xanthum gum powder ( it's a thickener for use in cooking ) instead .
Use cooled boiling water to reconstitute it .
Put it in a clean dry screw top container ,  add some cooled boiled water add a level  teaspoon of gum powder . Put the lid on and shake like mad for a couple of minutes , leave it half an hour , re-shake then pour the mixture into a small pan and boil up , the glop is then lidded and left to cool .   Now put it in a clean unused polythene bag  when it is cold  to room temperature ..it will be fairly sterile so should not cause mould problems.

 Go ahead and put your seeds in , the germination & sowing instruction as now as above .
Thanks, Plantoid! Interesting method... but I have to admit it sounds more labor/resource intensive than I'm likely to pursue. The carrots germinate ok in MM -- just not in the dirt sections of my garden. It's easier for me to just plan to grow them in MM squares and skip trying to grow them in the dirt.

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Re: Topsoil question

Post  Kelejan on 8/31/2016, 1:00 pm

I am going to give this a try, Plantoid as I have always had trouble getting my carrot seeds to germinate sufficiently to give me any carrots.

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Re: Topsoil question

Post  Kelejan on 8/31/2016, 3:28 pm

Well, Plantoid, I went to my nearest Wallpaper place and I found a 140g tub of C15 Cellulose Powder that was the only one on the shelf.  The store had just bought out another wallpaper store and that was the only tub there was and had been put on the shelf that morning and that they would not be selling it in the future.

The directions say that this tub will make five litres, so I should imagine a teaspoon or so will suffice for my needs and that this tub will last for years.

We had to laugh when I said the I had got this tip from Wales this morning. Very Happy

On the bottom is a label: 25F 15 which I first read as 25 February 2015, then perhaps it means Temperature 25F 15C?

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Re: Topsoil question

Post  plantoid on 9/1/2016, 11:31 am

So long as it is fungicide free  it should be OK .

 Remember that carrots are a coo -ish crop , so blazing heat will make them like six inch nails , they like deep root soil


 For those with rock hard clay soil .

Years ago the only way I could get carrots in an allotment of heavy rock clay was to hammer in a 1" steel bar about four inches , rive the bar round in the ground  , whilst pouring water in every now & then tapping it down another inch or two with the sledge hammer every now & then . 
Eventualy I ended  up with a row of cone shaped holes along a taught line at 7 inch intervals , each hole some 15 inches deep and 5 inches wide at the top of the cone. I then filled each hole with washed sand then precisely  sowed two  carrot seeds in the middle each hole at a depth of 1/4 inch ( this is called station sowing ) and watered it well every evening  for a months or so .  If both seeds came up I snipped off the weedy-ist .

Come winter I had some amazing carrots ,  the only trouble was I needed a pickaxe to get them out the frozen soil

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Re: Topsoil question

Post  Kelejan on 9/1/2016, 11:40 am

That last paragraph had me smiling. Smile  Did you repeat the following year?

My little tub of Cellulose Powder has no indication of anything added and as it will no longer be sold, I assume all other wallpaper paste has added fungicide. Progress!

In retrospect I should have asked for a discount as there is nothing more sad than a single item left on the shelf that is not being replaced. Think of the paperwork every time they do an inventory check?  I know by experience with printer ink cartridges; eventually you have to write it off and discard the item in the landfill.

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Re: Topsoil question

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