Susan Taylor Brown wrote:Okay, here's the first experiment. I pulled back the wood chips in this spot, at the end of hugelbed that is just sortat here, not doing much of anything. I pulled the chips back to the ground which is some decomposed granite that has been left after we scrapped most of it away, and dead dirt under that. I made a basin of the woodchips. The ground/DG was very wet which was good but no worms. I added about 3 inches of coffee grounds and some eggshells, then some shredded cardboard, some shredded weeds, and some leaves. I watered everything. Then I built my twig wall around the woodchip basin figuring I can just keep adding kitchen waste here. At this spot I did not break up the compacted area at all. I just want to see what happens. As soon as I get some more coffee grounds I will do another one where I break up the soil.
Basically this was just an excuse to build more twig walls. I love building them. I don't have to be strong ('cause I'm not) and I don't have to use tools (because I'm a kluz) and they make me smile when they are done. And hopefully will be good habitat to boot.
Oh and yes, Marco, this lower yard will all get irrigation by either rainwater diverted to swales, etc ( the house is up above so I have a lot of water to divert) or by the greywater system which will be installed in the next month.
Susan Taylor Brown wrote:I have experiments happening all over the yard. A hugel bed, composting in place, layers of wood chips - I am trying it all. Now I am trying to decide how to proceed in the worst area of the yard. There were several inches of decomposed granite spread over the center of the yard, upon which the previous owners had a batting cage. Prior to that I have learned they used to ride dirt bikes around the yard. Basically when we bought the place last year there were only some trees on the edges of the property. I have been doing some experiments and while kitchen stuff is composting on top, not much is going down. Test plants that usually grow like crazy (Coyote Brush and native asters) are staying alive but the roots aren't going down, mostly sideways under the mulch. So now I wonder before I do another chunk of piling organic matter to build soil, if I should go ahead and break up the top layer an inch or two? Then lay the kitchen waste, etc. I want to be a no-till garden but I think this tough dead zone might need some help at first.