carl gibson wrote:Hello, I am wondering if anyone has some insight on what kind of fruit/nut trees or bushes enjoy getting planted into straight compost. The reason I ask is we have access to large volumes of inexpensive (food scraps from restaurants derived) compost in this area, and I am exploring the idea of putting down a layer of compost say 6-8 inches thick, maybe 3 feet wide and 100 felt long on contour and planting directly into it as a method of rapid food forest establishment.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:
The quick answer to the first part of your question is none. The reasons for this are: 1. as S. Bengi noted, you will encourage shallow root systems, this means your trees will not be drought proof at all., 2. Nutrient levels will be very high, great for starting a tree from seed but not so much for a transplant since those roots will suck up too much nutrient at first then as the nutrients are used up, the tree, now accustomed to great nutrient levels, can't get those high levels any more. 3. Every book I've ever read by super tree people, from any period in time, say you should plant the tree in the soil it will live in the rest of its life, not a hole with superior nutrients provided through mixing amendments, the reasoning for this is covered in both #1 and #2.
I agree with Geoff's idea of mixing coarse sand with compost but I think it is far better to use this material as a soil improver by spreading a thick mulch layer and allowing it to seep down into the underlying soil, thus providing nutrients to the microbiome living there.
Once that microbiome is thriving, dig the holes for the trees and install them just as you would any other plant, the soil will be rich in both nutrients and organisms and the tree will have a fungal network to hook into which means it will grow quite well and be rather drought proof from the start.