Hi all, I'm currently in the Dominican Republic and have been tasked to design and implement a garden. The owners are looking to have kind of a small food forest with a medicinal herb garden, as well as flowers all year for their honey bees, and paths running throughout. According to the owners, the plot is extremely fertile since it was only used for cattle prior.
Here are the deets:
slightly sandy non-flocculated clay, slight south slope, shaded in morning & evening, partially shaded areas throughout
8 3.25x16 foot brick beds (one two bricks in depth, others only one) for annuals (7 are shaded for a few hours in the morning)
2 trellises along each side for passion fruit (not established) and granadillo (established but struggling)
access to drip irrigation
small shade house for seedlings
large allotments of grass surrounding property
row of 11 established bananas running through center
somewhat living fence of gleditsia with mesh in between
aloe and pineapple along fences
5 young avocados
one large citronella
a few clumps of lemon verbena and mint interplanted between bananas
they would also like to throw in several cacao seedlings they have started
a few chickens maybe 7 cows
a couple horses
honey bees (several hives)
The biggest issue is that they have ripped out everything and left it bare (see photos), so the soil structure is super crumbly on top and fairly compact when digging into it (I've seen worse in this area), and very little water infiltration.
My question is what to do immediately to get the soil covered. It's a relatively large space so lasagna won't work here (except in the beds), and mulching can be dangerous since there are tarantulas around. I am thinking about first trying to find gypsum (any other calcium amendment suggestions are welcome) to disperse throughout, then pruning the moringa and gleditsia, and taking the dead banana leaves and grass clippings etc. then mulching everything and throwing manure on top of it all. After that I would lay out cardboard on top of the mulch but only where the paths would be, throw gravel on top of that, then plant a cover of radishes and clitoria or canavalia (more diverse cover suggestions would be great) where the planting would happen. Once the cover grows, I'd chop and drop it then plant all the babies and cover with more manure... I hope that makes sense.
Please tell me if I'm on the right track! Suggestions/corrections are more than welcome! Muchas gracias!
The value you will get from mulching is definitely much more than the potential harm from tarantulas - the tarantulas would actually be a help in of themselves by reducing pest pressure on your fruit and plants.
the only other things that stick out to me in particular would be:
Trim the dead leaves off the bananas to improve airflow & reduce the risk of fungal disease(use dead leaves as mulch.)
More perennial bushes as an understory layer around tress and at edges - berries, pidgeon peas, etc.
Sweet potatoes would be a good addition?
Experimenting and growing on my small acre in SW USA; Fruit & Nut trees w/ annuals, hoping to get Chickens, rabbits, and in-laws onto property soon.
Long term goal - Furniture & Luthier Stay-at-home farm dad.
Morning came much too soon and it brought along a friend named Margarita Hangover, and a tiny ad.