My back yard is very hard soil. I am expanding my litter garden
into it this year. So my idea was to dig holes and use the
holes like you would pots, without the blowing over, expense,
So yesterday, I started digging my first 10 holes. Oh my goodness.
I had to use an axe to loosen up the hard pack! Two on the
holes I had to give up on do to rocks the size of water melons.
Each hole was about 12" deep. I tossed a weed, root side up,
down each hole, then filled back with dirt and organic Canadian
peat moss. Peat moss to acidify and to hold moisture. My
soil is very alkali.
Interesting. When I went to put the dirt back, it only filled
about 1/3 of the hole. This is fine as I wanted mostly peat
moss anyway. But interesting none the less.
Yes, there were sparks.
10 more holes to go!
Day before yesterday, I planted my two new Ponderosa Pines.
So far they seem happy with their new homes. Got the ones with
a dirt plug attached.
yes, I am rambling.
Don't worry, all gardeners ramble to themselves. It's when you ramble in
front of other folks that you get the strange looks. I've been known to
tell some nosy Parker that I was praying for them. Then they look
I mean, an axe! I just wanted to dig some holes!
Oh but the weeds no long laugh at me now that they are going down
the holes. Now which one of you is the biggest!
I do love the way this peat moss feels in my hands. Goodness
I have tried almost everything else, including organic compost.
when it gets too dry here and i have to dig in the
areas with clay that i haven't amended yet, i can jump
up in the air and come down on the shovel and barely
make a dent in the soil.
in the areas i've worked in leaves, wood chips,
ashes and have planted things like winter rye it
works much better.
have you tried planting winter rye in the early fall?
(the grain, not the grass seed)
exactly! free stuff from mother nature, harvested
sun energy, minerals, nutrients, all worm food and
more plant food.
keep scrounging all the organic materials you can.
makes things much easier in time, concentrate them
to help keep them moist (for an arid climate).
i had some friends drop off wood that is rotting that
they can't burn. i don't use it in gardens, but along
edges to help smother things (put down a few layers of
cardboard and then hold the cardboard down with the wood
chunks). eventually the raccoons and other critters will
break all that down. any humus is good humus. :)
What would be the benefit? I had thought of buckwheat to
attract pollinators and squash bug parasite, but there
is an allergy to buckwheat in my wife's family as she
is afraid of it.
As I kept throwing weeds down the holes, your words kept going
through my head: "Free organic matter". Some of these weeds
are like a big dandelion, but with five times the leaves.
I had to squash them down with my shovel!
I keep a couple of paper bags in the garage with all
the plant discards from the kitchen. But, so far,
the weeds are so prolific, I hadn't had to use them.
Boy the weeds sure have a new attitude. No more making
fun of me. No more singing when it rains. Now they say
"I am not a weed! He is a weed. Milk weed. Tumble weed.
His name is Noxious! Noxious weed! NOOOOOOOOOOO!" No
loyalty among weeds, I guess.
Thank you for all the help!
Anthropomorphize? What me? Okay it might have been
the wind. (No, I can't pronounce it.)
winter rye (the grain) is not buckwheat (but buckwheat is
an excellent cover crop because it does grow very fast and
has large leaves). winter rye puts down very fine roots
which help break up hard soils. the time i planted it here
in a few of the heavy clay soil gardens when i turned it
in the spring it was like shoveling through butter in
comparison to what i usually had to work through. i would
do it again each fall if i could.
i remove any tops that have seeds before burying
but they certainly do help over the long run.
worm compost them in buckets, that stuff is
oh, the other way to get topsoil is to truck it in.
around here topsoil runs anywhere from $10-35/cu yd
not including delivery fee ($10-100/load depending upon
how well you know someone :) ). that's really the
easiest way to get decent topsoil for a garden if
your property is poor (from then on all you have to
do is to keep it balanced or improve it even more).
we had some topsoil brought in when they built this
place for the front yard where the septic drain field
is at. to cover it. this is why we have any topsoil
at all. otherwise it would be all sand (fill) and
clay (the subsoil that was here left from farming).
by all rights, they should not have even built here.
and if they'd known they were going to garden so much
they should have built up the back yard where the
gardens are at so there wouldn't be so much work. now
i can't truck stuff in easily, but back then they
could have brought in another 30 truckloads for a few
thousand, but that would have alleviated many many
hours on my part of fixing a rather broken situation...
ah, well, ... it's always a recommendation of mine
to get the layout figured out and the water flows set
up before doing anything else with a landscape. just
observing for a while during rains and seeing what
needs to be done. saves a ton of headaches later.
Winter rye makes a VAST amount of organic matter, both roots and tops.
It will help to condition your soil and provide lots of nearly-free
As for the milkweed, leave a few for the Monarch butterflies.
Your veggie scraps are not helping in the garage - put them in holes,
too, unless you have started a worm bin or compost pile. Else they might
do some mice some good, right there in your garage.
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by
Please don't feed the trolls. Killfile and ignore them so they will go away.
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