Improving the soil in your garden

  • October 27, 2013 · 4:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

On Sunday, October 27, we'll be meeting in the Naples garden of member Deana Bess. She'll be explaining the many ways the nutrient-deficient sandy soil of southwest Florida can be improved. It can then provide an ideal growing medium for the sensational semi-tropical plants that will thrive and beautify our gardens.

We'll get a guided tour around Deana's extensive property to see the various stages of developing mulch piles, bedding soils and container soils. We'll examine the workings of various compost piles and compost bins, and learn how to turn the compost over to speed up its conversion into rich loam for the garden. We'll see the worms multiplying in Deana's vermi-composting bin producing castings, a natural fertilizer for plants, and we'll learn how to start our own bins.

We'll be shown which amendments to add to our sandy soils to improve their texture, their ability to retain moisture, and their nutritional qualities. Deana will demonstrate how to mix various ingredients in proper proportions to create the soil required for each kind of plant. We'll see how to collect compost tea to fertilize our plants, and how to grow cover crops that can then be plowed under to enrich the soil.

After the guided tour we'll gather in Deana's home to discuss what we've seen. She'll answer all our questions about improving garden soils. Other gardening topics always come up at these meetings, so feel free to introduce your own. Amateurs and experts alike contribute their experiences and solutions to problems familiar to all gardeners in southwest Florida.

During the discussion period we'll be enjoying refreshments from Deana's garden. These can include whichever tropical fruits or vegetables will be ripe at the time, such as Monstera deliciosa and others we rarely encounter. Members are encouraged to contribute their own favorite snacks and drinks for everyone to share.

You can also contribute any excess plants you may have, placing them on the plant-exchange table set up at each meeting. You can then take home for your own garden any other plants on the table. The gardeners in our group are traditionally very generous, freely sharing our bounty with other gardeners.

To let Deana know whether you can or can't attend this meeting, click either Yes or No at the RSVP link near the upper right corner of the screen. Visitors are always welcome at these free events. If you're inviting any friends or neighbors to attend, please indicate the number when your submit your RSVP.

PLEASE NOTE: As more members attend our meetings, parking can become a problem. If possible, please share rides to each venue. You can post your offers or requests for ride-sharing on the web site's Carpooling page. It's especially important not to park on the streets around Deana's home. Her very long driveway turns at the left side of the house to lead to many parking spaces at the back of the property. Members should drive all the way back to the workshop and park there first, then along the left side of the property, then on one side of the driveway. Thank you.

After indicating if you will or won't be at this meeting, you can get more information about local gardening by visiting Deana's extensive web site at http://DeanasGarden.com. You can also watch her short video about improving garden soils at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEuRD5L15a8&feature=youtu.be. Much better is meeting Deana herself in her beautiful garden. We look forward to seeing you there.

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  • Mary W.

    Really enjoyed

    1 · October 29

  • John

    How to grow vegetables in SWFL in the summer.

    October 27

    • Missi

      How about watermelon? Can we grow this down here? If so, when is the time to start & what is the best method? I read they don't do well sitting in a bunch of moisture & humidity.

      October 29

    • Deana Bess

      Hi! Watermelon usually does best for me when I plant it in the spring planting - end of Jan after threat of frost. I do direct seeding near the edge of the garden so they grow over on the rocks; this helps prevent rot and bugs from getting the melons.

      1 · October 29

  • frany

    Enjoyed Deana"s enthusiasm, it was so contagious! Her place had so many wonderful things to see. May the Lord bless me with her umfff

    2 · October 28

  • Suzanne and Peter

    The club owes a big vote of thanks to Deana Bess for presenting such an informative class. She prepared in advance many examples of the benefits of organic gardening. Deana showed 26 of our members the various ways we can improve our gardens' sandy soil just as nature does, and how to fertilize it naturally instead of with chemicals. We admired the earthworms in her vermiculture boxes, and examined samples of soil before and after its improvement. The guided tour around her extensive garden was enlightening. We saw the wide range of fruits and vegetables that can be grown in this semi-tropical environment, inspiring many of us to add them to our own gardens. As usual the event ended with everyone enjoying refreshments provided by the host and other members, and some taking plants home from the free plant-exchange table. We've posted dozens of candid photos of this event on the web site. You can view the album by clicking on the thumbnail photos above. Click on each photo to enlarge it.

    1 · October 28

  • Deana Bess

    Thank you all for coming by! I had such a great time and you were all just wonderful! I always learn new things and appreciate all your experience! You brought food and plants which was so wonderful too! Thank you all again! Looking forward to our next meetup!

    3 · October 27

  • Lisa Ohlert

    I need to improve my soil and loved this meeting.

    3 · October 27

  • Jean Paskalides

    I have stuff to take care of Sunday and may not be able to make it. I hope I can still carve out the time because this seems like a great topic and a fun place to visit.

    1 · October 26

    • Deana Bess

      Hope you can make it! Life is just busy like that! Don't worry, I have classes a lot so this won't be the last one ever! :)

      1 · October 26

  • Deana Bess

    Please e-mail me at [masked] if you still need directions to my house! :)

    October 26

  • Missi

    I will not be making this meetup after all. I am desperate for a weekend free of plans so that I can catch up around my home. I am very sorry to be missing this & I hope everyone has a fun, fascinating time!

    1 · October 24

    • Deana Bess

      I totally get that! I'm sure everyone will notice my outside "to do" list as these last few months have been quite busy! LOL! Enjoy your weekend; I love those times!

      1 · October 26

  • Bonnie Breedlove Hawkins

    Hello Deana, I moved to Naples in April. (I live 2 streets over from you on 19th) I'm really looking forward to learning how to improve my soil/sand. I was wondering if the 2 brown mounds in the photo were delivered to you and if so, where could I get some?

    September 20

    • David Chapman

      Of course :) Email me through here and we'll setup a time.

      October 21

    • frany

      just say when:O))

      October 22

  • janet weisberg

    Thanks for hosting this event. Excited to witness and learn from you!

    1 · October 21

  • A former member
    A former member

    Spending a long weekend in Siesta Key

    October 18

  • Missi

    Love the photo of you & your pups, Deana! I look forward to hearing about how to properly compost. Hubby & I tend to a compost pit in our back lot each week. We stir it up when a pitchfork to oxygenate it & add the weeks worth of kitchen refuse & chicken manure & water it well. It seems to take forever to break down into usable compost though. I am also very interested to hear what you have to say about making our sandy "soil" fertile. I'm tired of lugging around heavy top soil, Black Kow & peat moss bags! lol

    1 · October 17

    • Deana Bess

      LOL! I too get worn out from all this work but here's the good thing; persistence and consistency pay off! I'll go over all the things we can do to improve our sandy soils! :)

      1 · October 18

  • David Chapman

    Awesome! Deana is awesome and can't wait for this meetup!

    1 · October 15

    • David Chapman

      Are you kidding? From the photos alone, I can see I am going to be learning a LOT from you. I'm excited!

      1 · October 17

    • Deana Bess

      LOL! I have many many examples of what I'm doing incorrectly and just a few good ones about what is successful. I like to show all the options and since I"m perpetually behind on my projects outside, I always have plenty of examples! :)

      1 · October 18

  • Deana Bess

    I want to make sure everyone notices we changed the day from Saturday to Sunday for a variety of reasons and scheduling conflicts with other events. Looking forward to our class!!!

    1 · October 17

  • frany

    thank you, thank you, thank you Deanna! I'm a gonna be needing this class :O)

    2 · October 15

  • Suzanne and Peter

    Deana's web site features many pages of useful advice about gardening in southwest Florida. Her gardening experience is extensive and varied. We expect even long-time gardeners will learn a lot by attending the informative get-together she's hosting in her garden. We hope to meet there many of the new members who recently joined the group. Everyone's welcome.

    August 28, 2013

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