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The Vern Tessio method of clay soil rejuvenation

William James
Posts: 1009
Location: Northern Italy
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!!Experiment, results not in!!

I'm trying a new experiment with the upper half of my garden, which is generally much more compacted and much more difficult to work with. Any comments or suggestions would be helpful.
My problem was that I have the beds already planted, so I need something localized in spaces where there are no plants. I also want the worms to do the job of mixing between the various holes.

I'm still waiting to see if this really works, but initial results are promising. If it works, I plan to get a motorized post hole digger.

For those who don't know Vern Tessio, perhaps and image will help.

1. With a post hole digger dig minimum 30cm deep. If this works, I'll do a second pass and go deeper.

2. Fill with well-rotted manure mixed with small wood chips to 3/4 of hole. Compact it a little with hand shovel.

3. Add a couple handfuls of compost, then a little more manure.

4. Top off with the soil you removed in 1, make a slight mound.

5. Seed / Transplant whole bed.
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Alder Burns
Posts: 1324
Location: northern California
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I used to plant transplants by a very similar method in heavy red clay in South Georgia (USA) years ago, mainly as a means of stretching limited quantities of manure. I'd posthole down, drop in a shovelful of manure and some ash, backfill with some of the removed soil, and plant out brassica and tomato transplants. I did not get as good a yield as I did from fully amended permanent raised beds on the same soil, but it was usually a pretty good yield. It was, however, pretty labor intensive to plant out several hundred transplants this way....
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