Lila Stevens wrote:
It seems to me with soil improvement, "fast" usually isn't cheap, and "cheap" isn't usually fast.
Toko Aakster wrote:TIMEFRAME is important.
In permaculture, we usually look at our soil amending plan on the scale of years, not just a couple seasons.
Like Lila said: Fast usually isn't Cheap. Additionally 'Cheap' doesn't mean 'Low Effort' - Doing something in a short amount of time isn't quite the same as doing it 'easily.'
You mentioned leaves & rotting logs. Both of those are high-carbon and decompose slowly. They help soil structure and water retention and make healthier soil in the long run and ARE important, but if you ONLY put carbon in an area, and not corresponding nitrogen to help break it down quickly, it'll be sooooo sloooowwwwww to decompose.
They need other good rottable stuff to go fast. Stuff that turns sludgy and nasty smelling when it rots. That's the green stuff you gotta mix with your browns, so your soil can feast as fast as it can.
It's about feeding the life in your soil - not feeding your plants. You feed the soil, the soil feeds your plants.
The soil life is what eats rocks and slurps up organic stuff and poops out nutritious plant food.
Feed the worms, the fungus, the beetles and protozoa. Feed the bacteria!
Your friends in the soil enjoy manure. They LOVE decay and fermentation. They feast on things like rotting meat and plants.
Make them a cozy home for them with a big pile of woodchips - it's insulated from the cold and scorching heat, and holds the moisture in after it rains, so they don't shrivel up.
Cultivate your soil ecosystem - spoil them with rottable goods like you'd spoil your pets with treats!
Get a big barrel, fill it with water, and let green weeds FERMENT for weeks, then treat your soil to some tasty sips!
Rotting meat and spoiled leftovers? Bury it.
Found a dead animal? Bury it.
Stale dogfood? Bury it.
Rain-spoiled hay from a local farmer, coffee grounds from a local cafe
Your neighbors left out leaves and lawn trimmings? Swipe them, chop 'em up, and bury them. Or just pile them in a big heap where you want to garden. Turn the whole garden into your compost pile for a year.
Become someone who LOVES seeing rot and fungus and decay, because that means you found something you can feed to your yard!
Congrats you've adopted several trillion individual life forms. They're your pets now, and they have a nifty side-effect of making plants grow real good.
Feed your babies.
Dan Fish wrote:Hey that is a really important point. I didn't include it originally but I douse my clay with compost tea every year just to be sure I got what I need in there. Maybe that's why I can grow veggies in soil that I can't "stick my arm up to my elbow in". I am up to a finger now though which is better than when it was close to pickaxe-proof.
Dan Fish wrote:Hey Lila, thanks for the encouragement. Also, I bet the clay will make better garden soil once you get it "adjusted". Lots of minerals and water capacity after you do a few million hours of heavy labor hahaha.