wayne fajkus wrote:Whats the condition?
If you dig down a few inches is it moist? How does the moisture compare to the ground a few inches deep?
The exposed wood, is iy showing signs of rotting? Will it break apart with a knife?
J Grouwstra wrote:You might need a season to get to know the soil better. Your idea is to plant vegetables, right? Flowers and fruit bushes are usually less demanding, can do with poor soil, but veg is more demanding.
I find certain vegetables are better than other in telling how the soil is:
Broad beans can grow into tall and lush plants when the soil is really nutritious, but they can also stay very stunted in poor or compacted soil. Brussels sprouts are also very good at telling a story: if the sprouts stay very small and compacted, the plants won't have had access to a lot of food. If they grow big and fluffy, there was too much of it. You want something in between; the sprouts growing to a reasonable size, but still staying compact.
I would grow these veg and many more, to get to know the strengths and weaknesses of the soil. Obviously amount of sunlight, competition of weeds, presence of pests etc. all can be make or break factors, and there's no book that can tell you in advance exactly where you stand right now.
From what you describe the layer of soil seems too thin, as others have said, and I would fill that up, so that it's not all sticks and lumps of wood with little soil between. But the soil in the Hügels as you describe it does sound good, and the fact these beds haven't been cultivated recently is not a negative - all sorts of organisms have been able to work in peace with the organic matter present, improving the soil. The type of weeds now growing on top of the beds will probably not be the most stubborn ones.
You would be much easier to understand if you took that bucket off of your head. And that goes for the tiny ad too!
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