We have applied rockdust at about 500 grams per square meter thus far with half of the beds.
We are now entering our 3rd year of growing with RD added and I can attest that our tomatoes and potatoes have better shelf life and
the last crops were an improvement on seasons before as well as the crops from untreated beds. Cabbage was amazingly sweet.
Much of the theory does make sense, and I am not too concerned about having an imbalance as a result of applying rockdusts.
I read as much as I could about it and chemical analysis indicate that rockdust from Volcanic basalt may be the most balanced in minerals.
Your post really has me convinced it is the right path to take.
Finding a source as close as possible is important to cut shipping costs and bulk buys will save a lot.
Finding some "polvere di roccia" or "farina di roccia" there will be a challenge. Check for quarries and ask what type of rock there is.
In one of the earlier pages it mentions Mulberry as a Temperate to Cold climate plant but it does really well in our dry / summer rainfall / high altitude area too. I notice that the large leaved "male" plant grows much stronger than the "female" trees
In the Chicken coops/runs.... thread Obedience posted some of his paddock ideas. https://permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=1958.msg101533#msg101533 His idea for Brick Block got my attention. I searched if Chickens will eat Sweet Potato leaves (they will eat almost anything) and found a couple of very positive references. So if one were to plant sweet potato and protect the Stool with a wire cage it will grow out and the vines can be eaten by the chickens but not kill the plant.
What other Plants will do well like this?
I'm thinking Wire Cages on top of circles filled with compost then planted to whatever one wants as the feed.
Thanks for the insight Springtime. A friend iwants to build and underground house but the roof construction is proving to be prohibitively expensive. He's looking at Ferrocement too , with fiber added to the cement.
I made one with 6 - 14" flat tines cut from 1/4" Steel plate. The handles are over 5feet tall so it has great leverage.
I prepare the soil only once with it. It is a bit slow on hard soil but easier on the back.
We put down, compost, some rock dust, maybe kelp, soaked char, little granite dust and matured manure if needed. Sometimes bonemeal too.
The soil is just broken through the added amendments It is then watered, mulched and left to the earthworms to create tilth, mix all and improve fertility. We keep thick mulch over it as much as possible.
Going the "lots of seed" route to creating a Food Forest could work. Consider the areas you want the larger trees and sow a couple of seeds there eg Apple. place the understory and shrubs in bands on the sides combined with N fixers.
You will have to cull many of these later in order to have all well spaced.
This route would be ok if your soil fertility is good.
If not, sow the tree seeds in containers until they are ready for planting out. In the meantime do lots of groundcovers and N fixing plants to increase soil fertility. Slash and Drop in order to get plants growing as much mulch/biomass as possible in as short a period as possible. Some will grow back with a vengeance after cutting others may die. it may take a year or two, ~ then do your PC design This will give you time for reflecting on , where you want trees and what you feel will be the best locations for them and if you will create paddocks or other habitat. Concentrate on a smaller area and expand it as time passes. Temperate climates tend to be more fertile..
...so they used humanure to make Terra Preta . left it all in terra cotta pots burnt the lot, then left the site and came back later. I guess they used terra cotta chamber pots too. kinda makes sense in a way...
I have a cunning plan...err idea. How about laying out your paddocks for your chickens and planting a Living Fence "Fedge" with Willow ? I think its pretty PC. Will it be able to grow close enough to contain chickens? A test strip should show if it's viable. It would only be viable if you have enough moisture in the soil to sustain it...
The willow can be pruned (Pollarded) at the height required in the second and subsequent years to allow it to send out sideshoots which are woven through the Fedge, but open spaces need not be filled with living material.
What I find really cool about this is that it need not be in a straight line It can be curvy to allow you to include whatever trees you need in it and thus not requiring support until it's established. A lot of mulch and cuttings for extension can be generated from prunings and it would create habitat too...
Early in the season I cut the bottom out of 5gal Pails and paint them dark green. I place them over the small Rhubarb plants. The plant then grows toward the light to get out the top of the pail. ...thus the stems grow extra long. Light is not excluded as with regular forcing of Rhubarb.
We leave them on until after the second cutting. We cut just a few stems from time to time and freeze them until there is a lot or as we need them.
Ludi, Will Amaranth grow there? We get 20" rain only during summer, high altitude 4500ft daytime temps +32C/90F cool nights every year I see Amaranth grow along the road sides. They get some runoff but they always seem to do well