I was able to source a few small truck loads of well rotted sawdust and i spread it directly onto our sandy acidic and thin soil. I spread it about 4 inches thick added touch of nitrogen amendment from chicken manure processed through fly larvae. I threw some hairy vetch seed down in a corner, raked it in and then threw on a bit of dried vermicast.
I should add that the land was historically over worked then left for 35 years and the the forest is coming back along with meadow sweet, and a variety of weeds.The plus is that there is a small number of native grasses and legumes are hanging around.
So whats next? without working the sawdust in mechanically? I dont have animals and there's little manure around due to the poor grazing? Shall I try to grow vetch in the sawdust? or some other nitrogen fixer? i was wondering about spraying some worm tea that is fresh onto the area?? We have six acres of land and i am trying to find ways to rejuvenate it.
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
posted 6 years ago
Welcome to permies Joe
For me, 6 acres is huge. What's your plans for the land? Livestock, food forest, let it all/some of the forest regenerate?
I find having a bit of a 'masterplan' really helps to focus things, although I'm a terrible planner and am always ignoring my own advice!
I'd pick an area I wanted to improve intensely, say garden/orchard, and use sawdust etc as a surface mulch. I wouldn't recommend turning even well-rotted sawdust into the soil, I'd chuck it around on top as mulch. r
For pasture areas, I'd seed a really diverse pasture mix, especially taprooted forbs, to build up the soil. (After snowmelt, I suppose?)
Do you plan to have chickens? I think a small, free ranging or carefully rotated flock could really help with fertilisation. small, free ranging or carefully rotated being key.
I don't know much about your climate. I see you're around Toronto, so we're talking lots of snow, right? I assume there's not a lot of growing time before it's too cold this season?
Can you grow favas? The beans are so large and tough, they can be poked in pretty much anywhere. I love the things.
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
posted 6 years ago
Very open ended question. I'd agree with Leila about knowing where you want to end up. How much money do you want to spend? What kind of a hurry are your in? Are you planning on making a living off those 6 acres? What kind of climate? If you truly have sand soils that are depleted you may want to introduce some lime and other rock powders, as it will take a long time to rebuild reserves of cations like calcium and magnesium, and other rare earths that have been leached away. The vetch I know is annual, and will establish, but I'd aim for perennial legumes as your foundation for soil building -- clover, alfalfa, alder, lupine, cottonwood, etc... depending on your climate and what kind of vegetation you want to head towards. Your forest weeds might give you some ideas too. Folks will argue between incorporation and top-dressing. In the end, I figure it is the root activity of your vegetation is what will build soil. Food waste is also a nice addition (usually buried).
Paul Cereghino- Stewardship Institute Maritime Temperate Coniferous Rainforest - Mild Wet Winter, Dry Summer
Hi Joe. I'm new to all this, but if you're from the Toronto area, then we have the same climate and similar regional economies (I live just North of Detroit - GO TIGERS!)
If you are looking for a perennial nitrogen fixer that will grow well and turn a profit in this region, I highly recommend alfalfa. Another option is to plant black beans. Yes, it's an annual, but it's in high demand in this region and it dumps mad nitrogen into the soil. But in your depleted soil, I don't know how well beans will grow.
“Life is entrusted to man as a treasure which must not be squandered, as a talent which must be used well.” ~ St. John Paul II