I’m working on a field that I haven’t planted in five years. It’s very acidic and covered in broomsedge, wild rose and blackberries. I’ll work around the blackberries but the rest needs to go. I’ve been hitting it every few weeks with wood ash to bring the PH up but I wanted to try adding humic acid as well.
This is where the stacking functions part of the post comes in. I built a compost pile on top of a small hill. To the right is a peach tree and herb guild. I feel like there will be some fertility working it’s way down to it.
In the middle I’ve installed twelve inches of metal half round (I don’t know what it actually is) to collect some humic acid for the field. From there I will dilute and spread.
On the left is a small ditch. It will be funneling rainwater with compost goodness down to two separate hugelcultures. The one closest to the camera is offset twelve inches to the right. I did this in hopes that any goodness that works it’s way out of the top bed will be caught and not go onto the path. I like to build smallish hugelcultures separated by a couple feet. I like to anchor both ends with perennials.
Coming down the hill towards the camera are several more beds. They contain various herbs, berries and greens. I let dead nettle self seed every year as a free winter cover.
I put together the compost to be passive. I want it to be there until spring of 2022. The hard clay where I put the pile is not a good place to grow anything. I plan to use the compost as a vertical growing space for the next three seasons. When I use the final result the soil underneath will be in great shape to plant as I wish.
Looks like you've got your work cut out for you but I'm guessing that it brings you joy.
I'm fairly new to the biochar party but several of the things you mention scream biochar as an answer.
I am going to be using it to raise ph, break up clay and water and nutrient retention.
I understand not wanting to add another thing to the ten things you're already doing.
But if you decide to you'll be able to get rid of the wild rose and broomsedge - with FIRE! and get something useful out of it.
Good luck either way. I'll be following your progress.
Castaway Compost - Yer Trash be Treasure! castawaycompost.com
That’s a great thought Keith, thanks! I haven’t messed with biochar in awhile but will look into if for this situation. I cut the roses and broomsedge two weeks ago as a form of chop and drop. Broomsedge is possibly the worst chop and drop on the planet but maybe better than nothing.
There’s one narrow bed in the field that I did a quick biochar thing once. It was quickly productive so I’ll give it some thought. Thanks!
I went WAY back on Instagram to find these biochar pictures. This was the simple way. I dug a ditch and burned wood and weeds. After it got going I tossed all the clay back on top. A few weeks later some compost went on top and kale seedlings went in. I’m sure there are other ways to go about it so I’ll look into it. Thanks for the suggestion!