If the "topsoil/fill" isn't too deep you could probably plant trees right through it. They might be able to access the old soil that was covered up during construction.
I would also recommend a soil test to be on the safe side. That's always money well spent.
Sylvia Bloom wrote: All that's growing right now is some mullein, shepherd's purse, etc.
The mullein just indicates disturbed soil. Plant trees. If you can build some hugelkulturs and plant trees on those, all the better.
But... might be a good idea to plant out the whole property.
We're definitely planting all over! My husband is in the middle of a pdc course, but he's also the gen contractor/labor/electrician/plumber for the house project, and goes away on business a week or so at a time to try to earn some money as well, so we're totally overwhelmed... (Did I mention the 4 yo boy as well? We are new to life in the country and fairly new to gardening so the scale of acres is very daunting! We've got 100-200 seedling trees/plants coming, and I'm nervous about the timing messing up and accidentally killing them... I know life will be crazy this year, but since neither of us is working full-time, we are trying not too make anymore mistakes on too grand a scale (like flushing $5000 down the tube to dump fill on perfectly nice land!)
Here's a closer look at the ground of our personal quarry. Hey, I can save the rocks to make some more stone wall!
Thank you for your thoughts!
Wouldn't it seem best to get some biomass in there? As much as possible, whether you do it "naturally" or artificially -- dump as much manure as you can acquire, or maybe truck in some tons of Leonardite, or some other high-carbon biomass that will get down in there.
Maybe run some heavy equipment over it to try and break and grind it up more as well. Then seed with some of this Organic Nitrocoated or something similar. It's pricey, but you're talking about a relatively small area, so $200-300 worth should do. Seed with a large varietal mix of hearty, nitrogen-inducing forage. That should establish a good sward that can spread over time and conceal your current eyesore.
Again, I'm newer than new at this, so this could be bad information. It seems like you're looking for a way to "beautify" that area with a relative minimum of expense and inconvenience. I would think biomass and a hearty, mixed cover crop / forage would be the quickest path to that goal.
Sylvia Bloom wrote:... starting to build it again, with a green manure. ...The trees will just go somewhere else in the meantime...
Plenty of nitrogen fixing, soiling building trees and shrubs to choose from:
Alder, Elaeagnus, black locust, Siberian Pea Shrub...
planting might be difficult but prunus trees generally like gravelly soils, that would be cherry, plum, peach, nectarine, apricot, almond, etc...also possibly pear trees..lots of other plants like gravelly soil as well.
I'd try digging in the trees first..and doing a food forest around them..
around each tree make a habit of sheet composting ..using lots of mulch too, but leave a small space around the trunks of the trees so that they don't become mice nests and protect the baby trees really well..from chewing.
put in some spike plants with deep roots like diakon radish, swiss chard, if you like horseradish put it in but remember it can become invasive..also put in some nitrogen fixers and dynamic accumulators around and under each fruit tree..
you might make a hedge around of brambles or other berry bush/plants as a windbreak as well..
some ground covers that might do well are strawberries..
pick up this book from the library if you can find it:
American Weekend Garden by Patricia Thorpe
This is what I plan to do with my land. I'm at altitude. 7k feet. And the temperature swings can often be 40 degrees + between day and night.
I don't have the luxury of having a lot of stones on the premises, but I have access to a few sources that I don't have to pay for.
I've also considered making my own thick blocks on the cheap by purchasing inexpensive gravel and sand and binding it in molds with thin cement slurry.
I've thought about doing this for Amaranth... and also have considered creating a faceted cup facing south to act as a heat trap, and grow the plant in the center of the trap. Kind of a solar concentrator, for certain trees that may be marginal where I am.
I'm curious if any one here has any real world data on just how much one can influence a microclimate in this way (using stones)... and how much one can hope to ameliorate temperature extremes.
What would you say is the best case scenario vs typical? 10 degrees?
I can totally vouch for the general concept of stones. The darker and denser the better. Everything here does better when it is planted near stones.
I had Favas with bean flowers here on May 1 and some eggplant seedling varieties planted outdoors in a huegelbed with plastic cups over them surrounded by stones. They are doing just fine there so far, to my surprise. Normally you wouldn't dare plant a solanarum outside here until the first week of June at the earliest.
Hanley Kale-Grinder wrote:I would take all of the big rocks you can find/dig up and make large piles of rocks. This will act as a heat sink and create little microclimates. It will also provide habitat for lizards (not sure if you have those), spiders, and the like. As for planting trees, if you have other places with good soil, plant there first. I would jump on ever opportunity to lay down mulch, wood chips, leaves, and whatever else you can find. Maybe there is a tree trimmer or someone with a lot of horses who will bring a few dump truck loads of carbon. Plant annuals and pioneer species for a few years before risking trees (especially if you have other places to put trees). With diligence I think you should be able to rehab this spot in a few years time.