elle sagenev wrote: this year I've ordered compost and I've ordered wood chips
C Mouse wrote:What worked for me, and might work for you, is cheerfully called ba***rd trenching. With a bit of a twist from yours truly for both fast and long-term results, incorporating slightly raised beds.
You mark out your bed and dig up a single spade cube of soil, so about 1' in every direction, set that aside. At the bottom you break up the subsoil with a garden fork, claw, whatever. And then you DUMP in compost, manure and LOT AND LOTS of wood chips. Then you take your next spit of soil and you put it upside down in that first empty spot - putting any topsoil, weeds and roots right down into the hole with all the goodies.
The downside to this - this is a LOT of manual labor. But in my experience it's worth it, and when you want to plant fast it will get you a crop the first year and they will just get better every subsequent year thereafter.
elle sagenev wrote:Ok so I posted this and never came back. I suppose I have several things I should have said.
I have swales and Kraters. Everything there but a very hardy plum tree died. It's pests that are the biggest predator there.
What I'm looking to do is a kitchen garden/orchard. It's a smaller area, fully fenced, close to the house and water source. I have been attempting to grow a garden here for years and the plants just don't get very big and certainly don't fruit. The trees and bushes that survive pest pressure just don't get very big either.
I just want that smallish garden area to thrive. I want to see some results. I've been mulching for ages in the area. I think part of the problem might be grass. I have a lot of grass in that area. So I'm hoping super thick mulch around the trees would be good and compost where I want plants. I don't know, I'm going to try it.
Two words NO-DIG
elle sagenev wrote:I have been content to play the slow soil building game. Planting soil building plants. Mulching. Mulching with shredded paper (to help surpress weeds), leaves, hay, wood chips, etc. It's going poorly. My plants are growing slowly.
I am tired of seeing nothing every single year. So, this year I've ordered compost and I've ordered wood chips and I better see something grow or I swear, I quit.
James MacKenzie wrote:i live on the east coast of cape breton canada on what is called a till plain... leftover glacial till (rocks) and clay - all that grows is acidic stuff like balsam firs berries etc.. it IS very more temperate that wyoming would be though..
but the soil, well it isn't... so all raised beds ... period... you could make a quick switch with tire gardening... cut the sidewalls out with a Stanley knife.. instant round beds - the tires do keep warmth better - you hill potatoes by stacking them
you live in wyoming which, form what i understand == horses... find a neighbor, load up on the old black stuff and fill the tires..
radishes, broccoli, kale, cabbages... and cold weather crops should do okay
amending shitty soil is demoralizing and energy sucking as others have pointed out.. i am sorry and feel your pain nothing worse than pale tiny radishes bolting after 3 months
best of luck - seriously ... a shitload of horse poop will get you going
Eino Kenttä wrote:I read somewhere that Siberian pea shrubs are allelopathic towards grass. I don't know if this is true, or if it is, to what extent, and maybe it's invasive in your area, but... Maybe it could be something to try (if you haven't already), to kill off or slow down the grass and fix some nitrogen at the same time?
Tereza Okava wrote:I've been meaning to reply here too, thanks Eric for bumping the thread.
I have clay, it gets very dry here, the clay completely eats through all organic matter so quickly. Many of the suggestions simply don't work when you've got ground like this and your climate situation. But I think limiting it to the kitchen garden, trenching everything that you can, woodchips, etc, you will see some progress.
As for your grass, not sure what kind of grass you have there (whether its seeded or runners) but I know I didn't see any progress in the battle against grass til I put in solid borders (I used old tiles, planks, etc). But heavy mulching, even putting down cardboard works.