I have one of those full face things , I wear it when I ride the
motorcycle in subfreezing temps . It's up to 26? here , predictred high of
32? but I don't think it'll make that up here in The Holler . And there's a
90% chance for 1-3" of snow tonight ...
Fruit trees - mine have been in the ground for 1 and 2 years , they aren't
doing so well. Suggestions for a fertilizer that's eco-friendly ? These have
never had anything but a little fish emulsion last summer , and I'd like to
see them grow more , they haven't gottan any bigger since they were planted
had to dig holes in the gumbo clay and I'm afraid we didn't dig the
holes wide enough or deep enough. The trees are growing very slowly but
are still producing a decent crop of fruit. We usually add a little
composted cow manure every few months and that helps.
At our former home we had very deep loam soil from eons of tree leaves
falling on what had, a long time ago, been a sand dune (think ancient
bottom of the Gulf of Mexico). Fruit trees shot up like they were on
steroids there. I miss that soil and am willing to bet that under that
five feet of clay in the back there is another ancient sea bed that
would have done the job. Albeit that the clay was laid down to keep us
from having to pay for gubmint flood insurance.
I'm thinking of devising something that I could drive down around the
trees to penetrate the clay some more and then add fertilizer of some
sort to help the roots spread wider and deeper.
what kind of fruit trees? are they on grafted rootstock?
how were they planted? how much light do they get? how
much water? soil conditions?
i've seen various methods for planting fruit trees in
difficult conditions (read Sepp Holzer's works sometime :) ).
once the tree is already in i suppose you could go
back and gently dig down close to the tree to find the
roots and then trench outwards through the clay and then
fill that trench in with better quality soil. (it would
look like an asterisk or the spokes of a wheel). the roots
will follow that trench outwards. you'll have to keep
topping it off as the organic material decays, but it
should help as long as the slope is not towards the
tree (it should be level -- clay will eventually soak
up any extra water in there).
in the future the much easier method is to just make a
pile of the best soil you can including plenty of good
organic materials and plant into that without doing much
digging. the tree will do much better and you can keep
adding organic materials around the tree as the pile
breaks down. no trenching or digging needed. especially
in a small area where you're putting in miniature trees.
this way you avoid water logging issues too and the
tree roots will eventually find their way down into
the clay as needed (via worm holes :) ).
it can take a few years for them to get going. worm
castings, horse poo, rabbit poo, dead fish, plenty of
organic materials (but not right up against the tree
i already asked these questions in the other reply,
but describing the location, what type of plants, how
much light and moisture they get, if they are mulched
(and with what), etc. is helpful.
If your trees are being shaded by the forest (I think you are in a hole
in the forest around your house), harvest some more firewood - light
makes the biggest difference. But, 1-2 years is a short time in the life
of a tree (the best time to plant one is 20 years ago, the second best
time is now.)
As for bad soil, with trees I think the best approach is to leave it be
when planting - the tree deals with what *is* and grows through it,
where a tree in a hole of improved soil in the midst of bad soil is more
prone to be potbound and unwilling to poke its roots out. For much the
same reason I think a smaller/younger new tree is better than an older
one to transplant in a difficult location. While almost everybody would
love to be on the loamy gravel, plenty of trees manage just fine on less
pleasant soils. Improve it from the top...
Build a ring of compost at the dripline - that's where most of the
feeder roots are. Potholing compost/worm fodder (dig postholes, not too
close to each other, and fill with compost/compostables) can help get
things down more, but it's more work and the worms will do that
eventually from stuff on top. But if you want to feel more active about
it, go to. As the tree manages to grow, keep the ring at the dripline
(ie, moving out.) This will also naturally keep your pile from being
built-up near the trunk, which is problematic for several reasons and to
be avoided. If you avoid anything too hot you can simply build a pile
right there, or you can start it in another location and move it to the
trees after it's cooked a few months. Shredded leaves are a good base
for whatever else you are putting there - they will break down to leaf
mold eventually and will moderate runoff/leachate from more active
compost above - don't mix them in, just layer them under, and when you
stop turning (if you turn at all) over.
Do not add fresh material when it might induce a growth spurt going into
winter. After things are fully dormant you can pile it on, but from
roughly August (northern hemisphere) until then you should hold any
collected materials in a pile _not_ around the trees - but do keep
collecting as much as you can lay your hands on, or have dropped off by
the dump-truck load. Manure, spoiled hay, mushroom compost, clean
woodash, apple pomace, lawn clippings, etc.
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by
Please don't feed the trolls. Killfile and ignore them so they will go away.
Derald you do have to recognize that the OP is
dealing with sloped areas and that's always a challenge
when one combines that with clay and the potential for
heavy rains. surface mulching (whether you call it
lasagna gardening or whatever else) is going to be an
important part of any gardening in such an area until
it gets covered again with vegetation.
terracing and soaking in rains can only go so far too
without it being a potential hazard (soak in too much
water and you end up having the entire hillside slip).
hmm, while i don't practive no-till in all of the
gardens here those gardens which are not tilled are those
that are very productive vs. how much effort i have to
expend on them.
i practice minimal soil disturbance methods in 80-90%
of the veggie garden area and the rest gets moved by
shovel so it isn't shredded.
depends a lot too upon what i have extra to bury too
as i'd rather stash extra organic materials underground
where the worms can get at them.
minimal till, i'm not into doing things just because
- i am into doing things which improve the soil the
most and so far i'm liking how it is going with what
i'm doing and how little effort i actually have to
expend for most of the gardens.
as i keep consolidating gardens it has made it a lot
easier to work in them. dedicated pathways, the less
of those i have the better. if you must have them use
organic mulching materials and then at least you can
come through later and turn it all under and plant it.
heh, well as i've found out here they don't work well in
clay when it is either too wet or too dry and destroy the
creatures in the soil that i most want to encourage so i've
not done it since. the worms are much happier now (yes i
take a poll :) ).
the other trouble we had with them is that for the small
garden plots we had they made more of a mess than a help.
the money spent on the tillers (two, several hundred each)
could easily have financed my seed, tool and hose buys for
the next 10 - 20 years.
crop rotation is how i make my amending efforts go
as far as possible. very efficient.
gardening tool is my dad's Derald-powered push plow. As you know, by
"tilling" (as distinct from "rototilling"), I mean using hands,
four-tined spading fork, or shovel, pretty much in that order of
priority/frequency. Hands and/or fork blend in a pretty standard blend
of amendments plus a healthy dose of alfalfa and a fair share of
whatever compost may be available along with whatever volume of
legendary horse dung looks "right". Sometimes, though, I just push back
the mulch and plant, just like Ruth Stout.
Harvesting compost from my "everbearing" compost pile and digging
in the garden with hands are, respectively, my two favorite gardening
activities. The shovel gets used, maybe once each year to loosen the
soil deeper than the reach of the fork and every two-three years to dig
deeply enough to cut invasive tree roots that the fork won't handle. As
you observe, tools, tillers, and such put earthworms and insects on
which I depend heavily to maintain the garden's health at risk. Hell,
no: I AM NOT OBSESSIVE with this damned gardening jones, it's just a
it was done long before i moved back here, and both
were destroyed along with other equipment before my
time. now all that extra dead metal and wasted space
hogging stuff is gone and we're down to one large
weedwhacker which i've not needed to use since 2006, the
lawn mower and the hedge trimmers (which are useful for
chopping back the green manure patch).
there are some gardens here that i can do some work
in without having to use a shovel, but other than those
most of the rest of the gardens would break your hands
if you tried to stick your fingers in them. they are
getting better as i keep putting good organic stuff in
them and the worms do their magic, but like you said
before it takes time.
it's a good phase IMO. :) respect for the earth is
something so many people either don't care about or
they just have no connection to it at all. go outside?
what's that? bugs? eww! etc. *sigh*
the other thing that gets me cranky is to watch the
farmers around me turn their fields into dead subsoil.
when i was a kid, when the farmers would plow the birds
would follow along behind so they could get the bugs
and the worms - now when they plow you don't see the
birds out there much at all. wish i could afford to
buy them all out around us and do a community farm
and gardens space, but i don't have that kind of $$$.
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