So, I"m a farmer from Rhode Island that is used to being able to work the soil in March Generally.
I just got a really great piece of land in Ashland OR which has a much more clay/loam like soil
and much more water retention than RI. Despite relatively similar temperatures it seems like the soil doesn't really dry out here
I have several questions about this.
The farm is on a Southwest facing slope of about 30 degrees. Will this drastically change the time it takes for the soil to dry out enough or should I just plan on everything happening in May?
is there anyway to plant with out wreaking havoc to the soil?
Secondly does anyone know where to get free compost in Oregon or cheap compost?
Can you elaborate a little more on what you mean by "work the soil"? A 30 degree slope is going to be quite different from the flats of Rhode Island. You may want to look into no-till methods where you roll the cover that is on it now and plant into that. No-till is a lot less damage to the soil, and it saves fuel because you aren't running the tractor with a lot of tilling operations. Here's a good video that explains it all:
As for cheap compost, have you contacted the local power company about getting chips from their tree trimming operations? I let our local electric co-op know that I was interested in getting some chips the next time they were trimming in my area. A few months went by, and out of the blue the contractor stops by my house today and tells me they are going to be working down the road and they will need a place to dump chips. I smiled and said "sure, dump them right here, how many loads you think you will have?" When he said "oh, maybe a hundred", my mind went into overdrive thinking what am I going to do with this bounty.
Willie Smits: Village Based Permaculture Approaches in Indonesia (video)