We are two guys from the southeast of Norway (A place called Asker, not
far from Oslo) planning to convert our garden lawn into a much more
(hopefully) productive permaculture style garden! It's not a
particularly large space, around 60 m^2. We are complete beginners and
have no practical knowledge whatsoever. We do have a certain amount om
theoretical knowledge from reading and watching vids but we need some
support from you guys!
So here are a bunch of questions, if you have any tips to give us about
a few of them or even all of them, it would be much appreciated!
1.REMOVE LAWN OR SHEET MULCH ON TOP?
How should we deal with the lawn? Is it a good idea to dig up the lawn
cover and start a mulch bed or even just start planting straight into
the bare soil with mulch on top, OR should we rather just do a sheet
mulch on top of the lawn and let the lawn decompose underneath over
time? Is there any risk of the lawn coming through the sheet mulch and
would it in that case be better to get rid of the lawn alltogether? We
might try out both techniques but any input from you guys on this would
2. TOP UP WITH MULCH EACH YEAR/SOIL COMPACTION DUE TO SNOW?
In a sheet mulch layered raised bed system, do we need to "top up" with
mulch/manure/compost etc every year or does it just stay as it is once
settled and decomposed? What about winter time? Here in Norway there's A
LOT of snow during winter, and wouldnt that compact the soil beyond
3. TILL THE SOIL?
The soil here underneath the lawn is quite compact and with a lot of
clay especially as you go deeper. There's also a lot of big rocks. If we
plant something straight in the soil, is it advisable to till the soil
first to improve soil structure and aeration? Or would such tilling
destroy the humus/microbial layer in the topsoil? Or do we do this just
once as we start it up and then leave it? Again, what about soil
compacting due to heavy snow?
4. COMPOST SOIL VS WILD FOREST SOIL
Whats the difference between composted soil and soil from the forest
floor? Do we have to buy ready compost soil, or could we just go out in
the forest behind our house and grab some soil from there to use in our
5. COMPOST SYSTEM
We are going to start up a hot composting system, made with recycled
pallets. Do they need to have a "roof"? Should we have one warm compost
put together all at once and then another ongoing cold compost? Again,
what about winter? temperatures get down to -20 celsius quite often, how
would this affect the process, it would obviously freeze, but is that
6. THE BIG BROWN IBERIA SNAIL
Norway has a big problem with the Iberia snail, the big brown one. How
should we deal with this? Killing them is not really a desirable option,
we are looking for ideas on natural, peaceful ways of distracting
them/keeping them out of the garden in the first place! Any
herbs/flowers that they hate? Can we make a barrier around the garden?
What about natural predators, which ones are they and how do we attract
them into our polycultural diverse garden?
7. A LITTLE POND
We want to start a little pond as well, should we also grab reeds/plants
from a nearby large semi natural pond and plant them in our pond to get
instant aquacultural activity, or wait for it to happen naturally? How
do we keep the water from getting stagnant?
8. BUY WORMS FOR WORM TOWER?
We wanna have several worm towers in our garden, should we just wait for
"normal" worms to come to our tower filled with manure and kitchen
scraps, or do we need to buy and supply composting worms? Where do we
find these worms to buy? What about the winter, will the worms die and
come back or do we need to supply new ones each year?
Thanks for taking the time to help us in our project and therefore
helping the earth as a whole! Gardening is definately the sustainable
Mads & Mikkel - Grindegutane