John Elliott wrote:I'll second the idea to put the chicken manure on top of the coal ash/cinders.
Coal ash has the annoying property of having lots of available heavy metals that can leach out. When it really piles up (like next to a coal-fired plant), all that ash can do havoc to the groundwater and wells in the area. What needs to happen is that the metals need to be bound up so that they are no longer leachable. This can be done in a few different ways, but chelating them with the urea in chicken manure is quick and easy -- just spread it around and let the rain soak it in.
Another thing to keep in mind is that coal ash is most detrimental when it comes straight from the power plant. If it has "weathered", i.e., sat on the ground for a long time and been rained on a lot, then much of the metal ions have leached out. If this track bed supports a healthy crop of weeds, then most likely the weathering has been effective. However, if nothing grows on it, treating it with manure is really indicated. Then you can follow that up with a high sulfur crop like a brassica, and that will further bind up the offending metals into insoluble sulfides.
james beam wrote:How to use an old RXR bed might make a great new thread topic, especially if you included a satellite pix, or a property boundary diagram showing the RXR bed, current buildings and surrounding grades. I've never tried reclaiming something like that. I guess the use- depends on how the roadbed lays & where it is, and how it actually surveys out...do you own both sides of the roadbed?...for example.
Might make a good flat 'working or building area', you will probably know much better how to use it once you see it, once it is made available to you. Might be a bunch of dandy big stones under the roadbed worth getting out... or not, that scrap gravel might become useful as it should be about as inexpensive as you can get, considering 'the company' probably wouldn't have to haul it far. You might be thinking now about starting some trees or shrubs from seed...intending on using them in the roadbed about 5 years in the future. If the roadbed was purposed to grow food stuff, I might have the 'cleaned up' roadbed dirt tested for various herbicides or whatever... of which I think the RXR companies are well known for using. I would consider hugelkulture or sheet mulching on top of the roadbed. Might make for a huge animal paddock.