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So... in the clay? the sand?

Looks like gorgeous space...

I don't really have large meadows to post pics of... My place was timbered before I got it and is mostly covered over with smilax and muscadine vines... doesn't look much like your place at all.

My current place in the sand requires the use of liners when I put in a garden pool... but at my previous place, also 8a Georgia I was able to dig out seep springs for nice pools...

I would find Springs by walking around during a dry spell... Not during the rainy season.

At my previous place, i put in a garden in a low pocket... made access to water easy..., but those low areas are called frost pockets for a reason... Lost a month at both ends of the season... and those late spring freezes often killed perennials that were leafing out.

Welcome to the forum, I look forward to hearing more about this great piece of property!

Re clearing brush to install new fencing...
Don't do it!
I run my deer fencing through the thickest tangles of scrub that I have. The deer aren't able to jump the fence through the thicket... Clear everything... makes it easy for them to jump.

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There are several good ways to keep dear out of even cleared land like a garden with very inexpensive electric fence you'd think they would jump.
I was attempting to share my personal experience...

If you would like to discuss what you did that produced good results... I'm sure that we'd all like to hear about it...

We all have access to the descriptions of other solutions... But that isn't the same thing as a discussion of personal experiences and lessons learned.

I live in the same area as danielkleach.

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I always prefer to go into projects with a minimum investment.
At my previous garden... I had an acre of raised beds... I called them raised beds... But they were more like terraces... I was on a slope...
Anyway... These were all shovel dug... no need for power equipment.

When I dug out springs... I used a shovel. I had one that was some 20 x40 feet, I swam in it, I stocked it with fish... They used to follow me around the pond when I walked around looking at the iris and water lilies.

And for fencing?
I started with chicken wire... worked fine for a starting place... unfortunately chicken wire didn't last.
I moved on to those rolls of welded wire with the 2in x 4in rectangles... that stuff seems to hold up fine... but when run across a mowed area, is easily jumped... Run another roll above the first to prevent jumping in clear areas... or... supposedly, a second fence 5 ft inside the first... haven't tried it yet...

I've seen people use electric with very poor effectiveness. The deer jump between the strands... Same as they do with barbed wire.

At this place... I'm planting stands of black walnut, osage orange, black locust, honey locust, and red mulberry... These trees all produce rot resistant wood... I'm growing my own fence posts from seed.

I've planted fruit trees, pear, loquat, apple, plum, peach... only to lose them to fire blight and various rusts... So... for me... most of these orchard trees are out.

Elderberry grows, lots of blueberry relatives like deer berry and farkleberry...

Still gardening with a shovel...

I have chickens... but free range is pretty much no-go... just so many animals that eat chicken...
I have to put wire on top of the outside runs...

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I have, yes. I haven't actually tested the soil as of yet. Here are a few photos I just took.
View attachment 116365
Thank you for the pictures.
Looks like sand to me also.
And... after I had soil sampled once... I wouldn't bother again.
They provided information on chemical fertilizers... as I garden organically... that information was useless.

Unfortunately, sand is very difficult to garden.

Rain and nutrients just go straight through it.

If you can find some red clay on the place... I'd probably garden there...

I like to grow food in the winter...
stuff like rutabaga, turnip, carrot, kale,snow peas and fava beans.

While the peas and beans don't set pods during the frosty weather... they usually get large enough to produce a decent harvest in the spring.

Personally, rather than worrying about mowing and tarping... I would try to locate a source of horse poop... and a source of free woodchips.
Most stables will allow us to back our pickup truck to the horse poop pile and load it... if we ask nice.
Most tree surgeons have a chipper, and will deliver to us if they are working nearby.
When I was first out here in the sand... I brought out pickup loads of manure right into the future garden and emptied the truck.


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I think I may actually be using raised beds for now anyways.
Raised beds on top of fast draining sand???
Raised beds in clay... make sense... but in sand? Not so much.

In my experience, outdoor cats are good only for clearing out rabbits. We had barn cats on the farm which did keep the barn rodent population in check.

I've got a couple destructive squirrels running around here now.
My cats catch everything... Including squirrel.
I always enjoy seeing them eating a rabbit in the early morning...
They catch rats and mice fine... they catch moles and voles too... but usually don't eat those.

My cats love venison when I bring home a nice roadkill...

Back to fruit trees...
I have fig trees, paw paw, persimmon, hardy orange and Ichang lemon.
The fig trees are dwarfed by the root knot nematodes...

The possums and raccoons usually get the persimmons and pawpaws before I can... I get a few hardy oranges... The Ichang lemon trees aren't producing fruit (at my house) yet.... Although the parent tree in town produces tons of fruit. Lemons the size of softballs!


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Ah, Tifton loamy sand. Sand means you have good drainage, sometimes too good.

Plan for what you will actually eat, not what others grow.

If you want to have raised beds, go ahead, but to my way of thinking that makes cultivation more difficult, not easier.

There's no problem with having raised beds on well-drained ground.

I never found that raised beds were worth the trouble for the scale on which I wanted to operate.
I wouldn' t want to be required to put that much water on those raised beds on top of sand...
I tried "lowered beds" in the sand once in my attempts to reduce the amount of water required...
Seemed like a good idea... but didn't work out at my house.

As danielkleach gets experience with our dry periods, I trust that my warnings against raised beds on top of fast draining sand will make more sense.

Ditto regarding plant what ya'll eat... But... at the same time... It's hard to go wrong with a nice winter cover crop of turnips / rutabagas... What don't get ate... gets turned under in the spring as green manure.

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What you don't want is soil with a clay subsoil that won't allow water to drain.
Where did you find this information?

At my house... the sand depth is nearly 200 ft... harsh.

Around this area, common wisdom is that a dense clay under a foot of sand is desirable.

One potential problem with clay under sand is digging on a slope.
Water forms streams under the sand... dig through one of those streams, and you could have a gully very quickly.

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Good drainage is always good. The information came from watching someone plant roses in yellow clay ground. The common wisdom varies from area to area.
Ok... The original poster is in Georgia where clay is desirable.

When gardening in bottomless sand... nutrients and moisture drain straight through.
The goal is to have less drainage.

Clay holds moisture and nutrients... very desirable!

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At my house, every plant has a name, too, including the weeds. BTW, what are tares in the Bible? And what do you use poison ivy for?
Tares? I found this:

Poison ivy berries are food to some 30 species of birds... plus other wildlife:

Not "weeds"
Volunteer plants.

Sometimes someone will trot out the hoary expression about a plant in the "wrong place".

Personally... I think that is mono-culture thinking, and the sooner we all get away from such beliefs... the better.

I believe in plant communities.

Any of our food plants originally was found in a wild plant community... growing among other plants shouldn't be a problem.

When we grow a mono-culture, our crops are susceptible to being wiped out by specific insects, viruses, larger animals.

In community, those problems are much reduced.

Don't get me wrong... I do practice some triage... removing some plants in favor of others... air flow is important... I'm just not obsessive about it... there's so much good that the naturals do for us if we allow it to happen...

Whether it's in being host plants to the local butterfly population, or giving bugs something else to eat, or helping to keep the native pollinators around or just diffusing the stands of whatever so that the problem creatures don't find our designated plantings... those other plants have value.

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What's wrong with planting a cover crop cocktail... and forgetting about the tarp?
A cover crop will improve the soil, that tarp won't do anything.

Tire Plant Wheelbarrow Garden tool Slope

Here's some of that red clay...
Best soil in the area...

Was working this yesterday...
Scoop up the turf... then stand on shovel and rock...

People complain about how hard these clay hills are to dig... but that's just from the traffic...
They say that you put heavy equipment on the soil, and it will recover... around the next ice age!

Where you are on the piedmont, I'd walk that 27 acres with a shovel and see what other types of soil you have...

I'll guarantee... you do a side by side planting in the red clay vs the sand... you'll believe!

There are some things that the sand is better for...
onions, carrots, rosemary...

But... most stuff? That red clay is the stuff.

You're pretty close to Athens... might be worth visiting the college of agriculture there... or seeing the test plantings there, maybe talk to the extension agent...

A lot of people that post online suggest stuff they heard somewhere... and... I run into the same thing in garden books... people write stuff they read in a earlier published book... but haven't actually tested the truth of these things out in the field.

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Heat up the soil to kill all the plant life + kill all the important soil microbes...

I once tried covering a patch of bermuda with a clear plastic... in the middle of the hot Georgia summer... Didn't help.

I'm not sure that a tarp would get hot enough in the winter...

A lady that I garden for tried covering a monster "weed" pile / compost pile with a huge sheet of black plastic for a couple years... I took the plastic home and used it to cover a tent for a couple of weeks.

In the Spring I had tons of seedlings come up as a result of the compost that dropped off that plastic... None of that stuff had grown in that spot previously...

Yeah... personal experience vs theory...

I did once cover a patch of florida betony with a black sheet of plastic... covered that with some old carpet (upside down) covered that with some mulch...

A number of years later... took that mess up... Florida betony was gone...

The tarp idea can work for some things... but it surely hasn't proved to be the solution everybody claims.
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