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Planning Brand New Property- Need Help with Cover Crops/preparing soil for growing

 
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Hey there! This is my very first post on permies- although I have been reading for months.

Today, we closed on 3.66 acres in the mountains of western NC. Zone 7a. The top of the property was bush hogged a year or so ago and was left with all the trees and such left on the ground. It's a mess and difficult to walk on. 10 years prior to this, the trees were all clear cut. So the trees that were bush hogged a year ago were mostly young pines. As the weather is warming up, lots of green plant life is popping up.

We are not completely certain, but I believe we would like to use this top portion of property as food forest and crops. The results from our soil test showed the ph as 4.9-4.9. The phosphorus is very low, and the potassium is low. They recommended about 120 pounds of lime per 1000 square feet. Yikes!

What we are thinking right now is to slowly clean up areas, apply lime, and sow a cover crop of some sort as we get the area cleaned until we have decided for sure where we want to grow what. I also considered using the downed trees as a hugelculture type bed or terrace as the land slopes downhill. But I am not really certain what the best plan is. I absolutely love the ideas that I am seeing in the permaculture world. I have read at great length. But I am not sure how to put it into practice.

I attaching a picture of the top portion of the land that I am asking about. All that 'cleared' area is actually the down/broken trees and full of low stumps.

I sure would appreciate any advice and ideas!
194775394_10159239597732937_2896215146012008551_n.jpg
[Thumbnail for 194775394_10159239597732937_2896215146012008551_n.jpg]
 
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Posts: 767
Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama), Zone 7B
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There may be a way to minimize the up front use of Lime.  I asked an agronomist who analyzed my soil test about how to maximize the use of langbeinite for my orchard.  Even though it is mined as a natural mineral it is hard to find in 50 lb bags.  At least in my area. One 50 lb bag delivered was $140.  I am only planting a half acre so i had to find options.
He suggested using a handful and scattering it in a 6 foot by 6 foot area where each tree is planted.  I am hoping that my use of compost and SEA-90 will help bring the nutrient profile up.
 
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