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What is Raised Bed soil?
Raised bed soil is blended at Instant Landscaping Company. Our recipe was designed with the help of several industry professionals. We take the best top soil available to us in Central Oregon, and incorporate sand, nursery grade pumice, fir sawdust, dark bark fines, composted manure, mint mulch, knott compost, and Canadian peat moss. We aim to blend a soil with a pH near neutral (last measured 03/14/14 as pH 6.4). RB provides enough nutrients for the first month of growing, and allows for proper drainage when the bed is no more than 18 inches deep, and the subsoil is compaction-free.
What is the pH value of Raised Bed soil?
Raised bed soil is blended to provide a pH that is appropriate for vegetable growth. On 03/14/14 pH 6.4 was measured. Depending on the plants you would like to grow, you may need to amend your RB soil to be more acidic (berries) or more alkaline (potatoes). You can adjust the pH value with gardening lime (alkalizing) or organic matter (acidifying). These changes do not happen overnight. Please be careful about adjusting the pH as it is very difficult to change.
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How soon should I amend my Raised Bed soil?
It is a general practice to amend your soil before planting. This is because while Potassium and Phosphorous stay in the soil for some time, Nitrogen leaches easily after watering. We recommend amending your soil with a nitrogen rich fertilizer. Before planting vigorous transplants, such as tomatoes, it is recommended to fertilize with a well balanced fertilizer and gypsum (for calcium). Incorporate soil amendments at a depth of 4 to 6 inches. From year to year changes, soil testing is an excellent tool for managing soil nutrients in your raised bed project.
I want to build a raised bed that is greater than 18 inches deep, what should I keep in mind?
The nutrient seeking roots of vegetables are quite shallow, growing no more than 12 to 18 inches (depending on the vegetable). Roots that travel deeper than 18 inches are water seeking roots. If your base soil is heavily compacted, you may want to create a deeper bed. There are a few things to consider when increasing the depth of your bed. Raised bed soil is very rich in organic material, which is beneficial in the first 18 inches but can be problematic when it is placed deeper than 18 inches and irrigation is too heavy and frequent. This is because water can saturate the area beneath the root zone, displacing oxygen, thus creating an anaerobic environment that is favorable to disease (esentially, deeper layers of soil begin to rot and produce disease). So if you are going to build a raised bed deeper than 18 inches you can fill it with general fill dirt and top it with 18 inches of Raised bed soil, making sure to blend the two at their interface. Or you can fill it with completely raised bed soil, maintaining extra caution to watering practices.
What is the best irrigation method for my raised bed?
We recommend jet spraying irrigator heads that cover the entire growing area, with no overlap. After your plants are established it is important to harden them off by reducing watering frequency, but not duration. The goal is to water deeply, but less frequently, as to encourage plant roots to grow deep into the soil. Irrigation hardware can be found locally, just up the street from us, at Ewing.
Please see this link for irrigation design ideas and materials, here.
Sod/ Turf/ Lawn
What are the recommendations for installing new sod?
Frequently Asked Questions
Turf Installation Guides:
Use in conjunction with McPheeter's Guide
Turf has a tendency to dry along the perimeter of the lawn, especially near cement. Pressing compost or soil along these areas can help prevent rapid drying.
What are the dimensions and weight of a slab of sod?
A slab of sod measures, 21" x 42", which covers approximately 6 square feet. The profile (thickness) is generally 2 inches of blade and 1 inch of soil/root zone. It weighs approximately 30 lbs per slab.
When can I install sod?
Sod can be installed any time of the year. However, installation of sod when temperatures are above 90° Fahrenheit can be a challenge. In extreme heat please call our office for more specific care and proceedures. Instant Landscaping Company is here to help. Please call whenever you are concerned about any phase of your fresh turf installation.
How long does sod keep?
Instant Landscaping distributes McPheeters Turf
For best results, sod should be installed within 30 minutes. We guarantee your McPheeters Turf is fresh, but expect it to be installed immediately. If that is not possible, it is up to YOU to monitor heat inside the layers of turf.
Lift the slabs and stick your hand between the layers toward the middle of the pallet.
Hot Sod MUST be installed promptly or unstacked and layed out to cool!
Please make sure you ground is fully hydrated.
Also Every slab of turf must be kept raked up so it can breath during and after watering.
CALL US with and and all of your Turf questions.
Can I water the sod while it is on the pallet?
No! DO NOT water the sod while it is on the pallet. This will suffocate and kill the sod.
What is the cost difference between sod and seed?
When starting a lawn from seed, at best, you save about 20% of cost. However, this estimate assumes you had 100% success in the first year. There are several variables that make starting a lawn from seed very challenging. In addition to the seed, one must invest in soil amendments such as compost and fertilizer, herbicides, as well as copious amounts of water. A seeded lawn usually needs a second seeding the following year. Labor is not factored into the cost. Please call us for more information, (541) 389-9663
When should I mow my freshly laid sod?
Generally, you can mow your lawn after it is established. The sod usually establishes after 30 days. You can test before then by grabbing the center of the slab and tugging upwards, if the sod keeps to the ground it is established. If you believe your lawn is established, you can mow to a height of 2". Please call us for more information, (541) 389-9663
When should I fertilize my new lawn?
The sod comes pre-fertilized. After a month, apply McPheeter's fertilizer ("Yellow" during Summer/Spring, "Red" during Fall/Winter). Apply to color. Every spreader has its own number setting, our recommendation is to set the spreaders at a rate that disperses fertilizer at the same ratio as salt and pepper to a steak. DO NOT use a Weed & Feed in your lawn as it will harm your lawn over time and lead to thinning. Please consider using, McPheeter's fertilizer as it is formulated for our area.
My lawn has signs of fungal presence (mushrooms, powdery mildew, fairy ring), what should I do?
New sod lawns require frequent irrigations to become established, creating an ideal environment for the growth of mushrooms. Typically, mushrooms don't harm the lawn and will disappear when irrigation is reduced. On older established lawns, depending on the size of the colony, management practices can reduce and eliminate fungi presence.
In both cases, the most important thing is to water in the early morning before the dew has set and evaporated. When the lawn is established, water deeply, but less frequently (ex. every 3rd day). In established lawns, it's important to aerate and dethatch areas that show signs of fungi. Dispose of the thatch and soil cores. And replace with soil (low in organic matter). Fertilize the lawn regularly.
If you desire to use a fungicide, keep in mind that fungicides will hurt your lawn. Also, fungicides containing azoxystrobin or flutolanil aren't readily available to the home gardener and require multiple applications and proper timing over a long period of time. Where complete eradication is desired, remove the soil and sod to at least a depth of 1 foot and 18 inches beyond the outside edge of the colony. Refill the trench with fresh soil and reseed the area. Be careful not to spill any infested soil on adjacent healthy areas.
How deep should bark be placed to keep weeds out and maintain soil moisture?
A depth of 3 inches is the industry recommendation for excluding weeds and retaining soil moisture. If the area is already laden with weeds, eradicate them by mechanical or chemical methods and install a weed barrier.
Does your bark have splinters or slivers?
All bark wood products have the potential to harbor splinters and slivers. Though it is rare to find splinters in our products, they can be present. Slivers are more common, especially in fir products. Slivers are fine fibers that can cause varying allergic reactions, causing one to feel itchy or as though they have a paper cut. To avoid problems with splinters or slivers, wear protective gardening clothing and gloves. A hat or head scarf and protective eyeware will increase your protection. If you are concerned about splinters or slivers, we recommend using Hemlock bark as it is relatively "sliver-free".