When I started this project there were just a few trees on site and tons of bare sandy soil. There was one big mahogany, two slash pines and a Norfolk Island pine. the two slash pines died and this left the soil exposed to the hot Florida sun drying it out. under the mahogany was much darker soil and I tried to reproduce this.
I figured the shade and leaf mold had a lot to do with this so I planted a small strangler fig. I knew it was fast growing and produced a lot of leaf litter. It was and it did. I also planted a verigated ficus, this is a cousin species to the strangler fig lots of shade and leaf litter. This tree turned into a banyon with lateral roots, real pretty. Over the years these trees grew to shade half of my front yard, produce ample shade and leaf litter, and some darker soil.
The past four years I have amped up my front yard project and planted a bunch more trees. Two more mahoganys, a laurel oak, a mango tree, and avacado, a ficus benjaminis, two rubber trees another verigated ficus, some bannans, an Arizona cyprus...it goes on. The problem is, that over the past year I rented the house out and the tenants burned all of the leaf litter. This exposed the soil and viola...dry spodosol. This was very angering. I ended up evicting them.
So for the past week I have been adding loads of mulch in an attempt to add to the soil. I don't know if I can grow soil or not. Some results have been positive but in the end it just ended up the same way. I also don't know if I need to grow soil...
I have had most things grow sucsessfully. Greens, tomatoes, all sorts of other vegies. Most of my trees grow real well so I am wondering if I need soil or if the sand does fine. It is an acidic sand light grey for the most part has some organics now kinda found its way into the top six inches but nothing like soil would be. If the trees do fine then veggies seems to grow the why try so hard for better soil. That is my quandry?
See this thread for another permie trying Jerusalem artichokes to improve soil: http://www.permies.com/t/22770/gardening-beginners/tp-plant-Jerusalem-Artichoke
I thought of micuna beans: http://www.new-ag.info/01-6/focuson/focuson8.html which are being used to build soil in Guatemala. They do best when there's a fair bit of rainfall.
You can try using some of the dark earth as an innoculant to a new mulch/compost pile, and start regrowing the colony, and just respread that around the trees to re-innoculate the soil.
A healthy colony appears to be able to move moisture and minerals around, so unless you want to bury wood, i wouldn't disturb the soil life, prob not worth it.
They have already stopped double-digging standard garden soils, at least on less than decadal scales.
Here is what I wanted...Bad picture but you can see the organic matter.
This is the mulch I put down. The pile I got it from was in the woods a couple feet high and full of fungus.
Here is the Mahaghany that made the darker soil.
It's about woodchip gardening and a couple of the offshoot videos of people who tried it go into detail about the rock dust they use and how long it took with what soil they started with. Hopefully one day you'll be able to look back and think if those tenants hadn't burned my place up I would have never found this accelerated pathway to what you've been doing for years.
wayne stephen wrote:I can imagine that the former microbial community may be in a dormant encapsulated state just waiting for the right conditions. It must take more than a surface burn to completely sterilize soil ? On the aside, which situation is more volatile ? A landlord with permies for tenants , or a tenant with a permie for a landlord?
They raked it up and threw it in my fire pit. Now, we have ample amounts of tinder across the street and I told them not to mess with the mulch on the ground if they were going to use the pit...They didn't listen so when I and asked where the mulch was they said it was tracking in the house...Not listening so I booted them. I know the temptation was great but so to is my resolve to make an improvement to this yard considering how much time I have spent on it.