Fertilizing rocky soil where it's half soil half stones (and no dirt)

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On Sat, 10 Sep 2016 10:47:54 -0400, songbird wrote:

I try to buy food that hasn't been processed, which means nothing in a box or in a jar or in a can, etc.
For example, I buy eggs instead of mayonnaise in a jar (the only hard part about making mayonnaise is getting the technique right). Likewise, I use tomatoes to make ketchup and oh, how I love to add horseradish to make shrimp sauce!
It's hard to find horseradish outside of a jar, so, sometimes jars are required - but I try to get the original food instead of the processed food.
I never buy the meats flavored with "up to 14% saline", simply because I'd rather not pay meat-prices-per-pound for salt water. So I buy the entire pork loin from Costco, for example, and then I slice the yard-long meat into separate inch-thick pork chops.
In the dairy section, I buy the Costco cream, and, along with Trader Joe's milk and eggs (Costco sells them in too-large a quantity), I can make ice cream for the grandkids using any flavoring agent I like (although the kids love oreo cookies in the ice cream - I try to use the mixed nuts instead).
I used to use "real" vanilla fertilized in Madagascar, but now I use the fake stuff that Costco sells after I exhaustively looked up the difference.
Likewise, I used to buy the 25-pound bag of brown sugar from Costco, until I realized that, in ice cream anyway, there's no taste difference between it and the white sugar when mixed in with coffee and/or chocolate.
It's infeasible to start with cocoa beans, but even when I buy cocoa for the chocolate ice cream, I never buy anything but *pure* cocoa, in that if it's watered down with sugar or dextrose, I don't get it at any price.
I even stopped buying the fake sugar at Costco in those large yellow bags (sucralose is the chemical name) simply because they cut it by more than half with dextrose (I don't like buying things where half is mere filler).
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Chert is not clayish sandstone, it is a type of cryptocrystalline quartz like chalcedony, flint, agate, jasper, etc. Consequently, chemically, it is SiO2; small amounts of trace elements can give it varying colors.
I live on the Florida "ridge" which is a slightly elevetaed, N<>S area in central Florida. It was a beach when most of Florida was underwater and is pretty much pure quartz sand. In my case, 60' of it. Odd to walk on but stuff grows in it just fine. True, some of it has acquired a varying amount of decayed matter in the top foot or so over the years but even without it, things grow. Why? Water.
I don't know where you live in California but consider the hugely productive agricultural area of the central valley...without water, it is a desert.
And speaking of deserts, ever seen one a few days after a good rain?.
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If it came from your mountaains it is the same stuff albeit lacking your rocks and finer.
BTW, did you notice all the stuff busily growing on your chert in the pix you linked? Just add water...:)
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On Wed, 7 Sep 2016 13:10:57 -0400, dadiOH wrote:

Here's a picture of the Franciscan ribbon chert on a road cut on my land.
http://i.cubeupload.com/9Ssf42.jpg
It does grow stuff on the top few inches.
http://i.cubeupload.com/usBxQY.jpg
So, even though it never rains in the summer, it must get enough water to grow oak and manzanita and bays.
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As you said, it is a melange consisting of a considerable variety of rock types both metamorphic and sedimentary. That variety gives rise to a number of soil types.
This link to the statigraphy of Mendocino County... http://www.mendowine.com/files/Tom%20mendo%20co%20geol.pdf near the bottom shows some. The nearest in appearance to the type you linked is the Redvine Sandy Clay Loam. Above that - about halfway down - is a location map.with which you should be able to get close to your location.
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On Thu, 8 Sep 2016 10:50:52 -0400, dadiOH wrote:

Thanks. I have a *lot* of the geology texts for my area, since it's one of the most studied areas on the planet (lots of earthquakes occur here).
Here's a photo I took today of the classic "ribboning" of the sedimentary rock layers in cut along my rather steep driveway.
http://i.cubeupload.com/BLWg5f.jpg
You can see that the rocks have been blended by a blender of sorts, which they term the "nightmare of the Franciscan sediments" in geology books.
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On Tuesday, September 6, 2016 at 9:50:18 AM UTC-4, songbird wrote:

Our county landfill sells a pick-up full of compost for $20; my wife gets a load every year for her gardens. Maybe you can get that locally. Use the compost to build up your soil for planting.
Paul
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Pavel314 wrote: ...

i have gotten too much trash/garbage/broken glass/ plastic wrappers/diapers/etc. in any municipal compost. having to spend a lot of time picking that crap out of the gardens has taught me a lesson so instead i have friends from a nearby small city who bring me their leaves and pieces of wood, bark, sawdust, and ashes from their wood burning stove along with bits of charcoal. in return i give them things from the garden and let them pick strawberries. leaves turn into nice dark humus after buried for a few years. looks like peat moss.
we also sometimes find people doing tree work who will drop a truckload of wood chips off because it saves them a longer trip to someplace else to dump it. we use these to mulch the perennial gardens where they can break down some into very nice humus which than can be added to veggie gardens.
these along with burying any plant debris from the growing season and the worms/pee/poo makes for a gradually improving garden.
right now we're in the middle of the harvest of most things and it's gone well this year.
songbird
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On Wednesday, September 7, 2016 at 8:05:56 AM UTC-4, songbird wrote:

We've never had a bad batch of compost but we're in a semi-rural county where they probably take more care than in a big city. We also have a three-bin compost system to make home-brew compost, as well.
We had a tree-service fellow drop off a few truckloads of chips a few years back, one of the benefits of having a few acres for spare parts. Still using it up, will probably last my lifetime.
Paul
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Pavel314 wrote: ...

i worm compost food scraps and any paper or cardboard. for anything else i just bury it and let nature slow compost it.

i could easily use a few large truckloads a season. anything extra we get i can always use to lift up some lower areas that can get flash flooded. later on if i run short of OM i can "mine" it.
with our clay a few inch layer of wood chips over it makes a perfect garden for strawberries. i have several patches and many thousand plants. no shortage of spaces that would use them.
songbird
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On Wed, 7 Sep 2016 08:01:51 -0400, songbird wrote:

Good point! I should be on the lookout for that.

Oh. If you only knew how many wood chips I have!
http://i.cubeupload.com/3cudHY.jpg
They chip the sudden-oak death trees and the Monterey Pines which die from some kind of bark beetle infestation. You see the pine tree in the background in this picture, all chopped up into blocks by the chippers:
http://i.cubeupload.com/8bCVNf.jpg
So there are piles and piles and piles of free wood chips everywhere.

I have a few good-sized piles of wood chips on my yard. They've been there *years*.
I'll be dead before they're decomposed.
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Pile them up, wet it down with cow tea (cow poop in water), keep it damp, turn it on a regular basis (move top down to an adjacent area) and it should heat up and turn into compost while you are still mobile. If you add a bunch of worms it may go even faster.
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dadiOH wrote: ...

worms won't like a hot compost pile, but after a while when things cool off worms will break it down faster. as will pill bugs or any of the many other detritovores. if there's any moisture in those piles he's probably already got something going on in there. just a matter of looking...
songbird
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Danny D. wrote:

looks good! investigate under that pile a bit to see how it is breaking down, if there are any fungi in there (white strands/masses of hyphae), etc.
you won't likely need to bring in any compost at all if you have partially decayed wood chips available in quantity. :)

great. :) i could use all of those in an afternoon...

arid climates can be like that, but you can speed things up by digging a trench, adding layers of wood chips and dirt in about equal measures and keeping it moist. if you have waste water from the sink or drains from the roof you can use some of that and not have an impact on your water bills... very useful stuff after a few years. :)
by putting them below ground you keep more moisture in there and that will speed things up.
after a few years plant squash in there and keep it well watered and watch it go...
songbird
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On Wed, 7 Sep 2016 16:56:37 -0400, songbird wrote:

Yes. There is tons of fungi on the *bottom* of that pile. I've been meaning to get to the bottom of it for years! :)

Tons and tons and tons of wood chips do I have. And every year, more and more as they do free wood chipping out here, for fire reasons.

Come and get 'em! :)

Kitchen scrap squash seeds *do* seem to grow very fast with really big leaves and big yellow flowers!
http://i.cubeupload.com/RrqvON.jpg
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Danny D. wrote:

it's gold! great! :) you have all the organic materials you can ever use. partially decayed to fully decayed are best for using in established gardens that need some OM added. wood chips are well used as a top mulch to hold moisture and to limit weed growth (and if by chance weeds do get started they're a lot easier to pull out of wood chips than that hard subsoil).
if i had property with really poor soil and tons of wood chips i'd be spreading them all over (and making sure they can't float away when it does rain enough to have water flows), shape your land to capture any water it gets, use the wood chips to keep the surface covered, within a few years you have a good start on topsoil and will be able to grow plenty of good stuff.

if i were close enough i would. for sure. :)

yes, they do, i have some vines going 40ft now. starting to finally fade a bit as we are getting some cooler nights.
songbird
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On Wed, 7 Sep 2016 20:44:09 -0400, songbird wrote:

That's the plan. I have a few acres to go though!

Wow. 40 feet. The wife's vine hugs the ground and goes about 10 feet, with one squash on the end out of about a dozen big yellow flowers.
Her bees are lazy.
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On Wed, 7 Sep 2016 04:41:42 -0700 (PDT), Pavel314 wrote:

That's a good point. I'll ask the local garbage disposal company what happens with the green bucket stuff!
I don't have a pickup, but maybe I can rent one cost effectively or ask a neighbor to split a load with me.
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In south san jose, they send it to the guadalupe landfill for composting.
You can pick up the resulting compost at the landfill (take coleman rd from almaden expy to hicks rd)
(the coleman in ssj, not the one by the airport).
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On Wed, 07 Sep 2016 15:47:22 GMT, Scott Lurndal wrote:

Ah, the *other* end of Coleman.
I go to that Costco on Coleman/De La Cruz all the time, but I do know what you mean on the "other" little Coleman, off by Blossom Hill Road. It's a small side street, as compared to the two and three lane (and sometimes four, by the airport) Coleman off of 880 where my favorite Lowes is.
I remember the signs at the little Coleman saying that the landfill is there, and the dump trucks, but I never went to the place myself.
I called them 'em up and pressed 6 for "Earth Care" and left a message. (408) 268-1670 (8am to 4pm, M-Sa)
I tried again, and pressed 4 to get a human being. The lady says they sell compost for $32.43 per cubic yard.
When I told her I didn't have a truck, she said they sell 2 cubic foot bags of compost for $5.50 each.
Thanks!
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