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Looking for insight for a site design: Zone 5 and pure sand....

 
Posts: 181
Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
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I'm helping some extended family out with a design/plan for their new property. About half the property (including the main part of the property that the house is on) is on a "glacial sand ridge" meaning that it's 100% sand. As in, you have to dig down through 18 feet of pure sand before you hit anything else. Thanks a lot, glaciers! They're squarely in Zone 5.

I'm researching elsewheres, but I wanted to throw something up here and see if anybody had any experience with this type of situation. I'm looking to assemble a list of trees/shrubs/perennials that will survive and thrive in those conditions. They would be open to permaculture ideology and edibles, but non-invasive ornamentals and other beneficials would be fine too.

And yes, I've already suggested volleyball courts and a tiki-bar...



 
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Do they have an "edge" to the sand in an accessible area?

I would be tempted to dig down those 18 ft, and put in a BIG root cellar, for beer. A BIG water reservoir, and an ice house.
You could easily rent beer aging services, and put in a mushroom culture section too... generate enough revenue to pay for it in a few years.

Then as backfilling, bury wood a couple feet down and mix in whatever brush and gravel you can find in the top 2 foot.
The wood will give a water and nutrient resevoir, and something for fungi to start building up a network in.
Gravel gives long term minerals, as long as there are bact and fungi to convert the rock surfaces, then roots will hunt the gravel too.
 
Matt Smith
Posts: 181
Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
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Dig the ideas! There's all sorts of cool stuff I'd do with the property if it were mine, but it's not. These folks are very sharp and open minded, but they're not yet hip to permaculture, etc. The first step is trying to work in some edible species around the property where I can.

So right now I'm just looking for plant recommendations.
 
They gave me pumpkin ice cream. It was not pumpkin pie ice cream. Wiping my tongue on this tiny ad:
A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
http://woodheat.net
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