If you take the stones off feilds you facilitate the wind erosion of the soil under them and between them and on a slope you facilitate rain erosion, the soil being a carried down the slope with the rain water that falls on it and runs off it.
Also as there are often just more stones underneath you just get down to the next layer of stones. to take the stones off your soil is just to uncover the next aler of stones.
It is a covering of plants stops the erosion of sand and clay particles and the worms will bring up the mineral particles from below the stones and mix it with the dead roots and leaves of your protective plant cover.
Plants even increase the mineral particles of the place because they collect the dust that winds carry that later falls at their feet in the rain.
I post a photo of a cut made for a road that shows how their are more stones waiting below the stones you may lift off a feild. agri rose macaskie.
the areas where there have been disturbed soil from many many years ago when this was a celery farm, the disturbed areas are much less fertile than the undisturbed areas of soil.
because the neighbors and us both enlarged our pond areas we have a lot of dirt piles..and i'm in the process of planning to use some of that mucky soil from the ponds to build raised beds this next spring (if i can get my son to use the tractor to haul it it will be easier for me too ..see my meaningless drivil post..duh)
it would be nice to have the stones or rocks to be able to put around the beds that i'm buildling ..to help hold in the soil and collect soil..i'm planning on using more of a hugelkulture type framework of rotting boards and logs (have access to some rotting aspen boards)..but some rock would be nice to have.
another permaculturist and i can't remember which said the sides of the raised beds serve to grow htings in so by making the floor of your garden into a bumpy surface you increase the surface area like a gathered skirt has nomore material than a tight one. So stones are atractive but not everyone goes for them. rose macaskie.
The title should be Soil is not uncovered , it accumualtes on top of the ground. Maybe it would be better to say, You dont uncover soil under stones but accumulate it over them.
A picture of a stone covered feild.
Plankl wrote: People see lots of problem with rocky soils when thinking about planting some shrubs and trees.
I've read that a small amount of dynamite in a large monolith can open enough cracks that an apple tree can live a full and happy life. What type of stone was not specified, though...
There is also the "wireless drip irrigation" from stones collecting dew. This thread discusses that, including the "talus garland" effect.
I think the major problem with stones comes if you try to till.
I used not to be able to dig except with a mattock, that is with a mattock with a triangular shaped blade you hit the ground with the point of the triangle. I could only get the pointed shaped mattock into the ground the point made its way between stones. Some thirteen fourteen years on i can dig the soil, the stones have gone.
I think the wornms bring up soil beteween the stones and the stones start to sink. I do throw stones on to the paths to make a stone path if i come across them when i dig but they have also disappeared, i can now, dig easilly in places i could ont have dug in before. It is like magic how the soil changes if you let the grass and weeds do their job, how it fills with worms and changes texture and colour, stops dying your clothes red for example, stops sticking in heavy clumps to your shoes, it is just pure magic how it changes.
Of course fourteen years sounds ages before hand but on this side of fourteen years it seems short and it started changing in the begining how it is fourteen years later is only better than how it waqs thirteen years ago and so on, becomes usable though not perfect long before. rose macaskie.
rose macaskie wrote:
i imagined tilling a big stone, so the idea of tilling it seemed funny it iis nice to laugh but i suppose you mean smaller stones. rose
No, I meant to be funny: your reaction was just what I intended.
If someone wants to farm, they often imagine tilling the soil. If that sort of person goes to rocky land and tries to farm, efforts to turn that imagination into reality go about as smoothly as a hot knife through granite.
I have a book called magick muck written by Lady Muck infact by Jane Down who started work selling her fathers cowmuck and became a expert on composting muck and on soil.
She was told at a gardin centre that they would sell her composted manure if she gave a conference on muck which got her into the propogating information business. She seems to have been intellectuallly inquisitive anyway, her father started trying to make worm compost but it is her who really studied up on worms. She is very interestring on worms and as they have a lot to do with building up soil here goes..
Jane down says that worms in england produce 7.5 tons of castes per acre a year and they raise the level of soil a quarter of an inch according to Darwin but she says in the Nile valley worms produce 1,200 tons of worm castes per acre per year. and so the babilonians imported worms from the nile valley.
Charles Darwin wrote a book called "the Formation of Vegetable Mold THrough the action of worms. 1881.
There are lots of types of worms but for the sake of understanding how they build soil the important thing is that some eat motly organic matter the remains of once living things plants andead leaves and such and others tunnel around deep into soil with very little organic mater in it bringing up soil from below. I would say must not thse bging up soil from around and under stones shaking the stones down and so the earth gets left on top and the stones underneath.
Normally worms reproduce and move into land so you need not worry how to get worms on to your land but as your soil betters gets more organic matter in it you will notice more worms.
I include another photo of the same place as the bits of rock abouve but here you can see junipers oxycedrus growign in the lowest parts between the rocks.
Maybe i will be alble ot take some fotos of worms tomorrow .agri rose macaskie.
rose macaskie wrote:
plankl my experience is that the stones start to disappear when the soil accumlates...
...I think the wornms bring up soil betewwn the stones and the stones start to sink...
Under many conditions soil doesn't accumulate, it ablates. Which leads to a saying around here: 'New Mexico's main export is topsoil'. Between wind and water erosion that removes soil, you can be left with a rocky surface that is called desert pavement.
In colder, wetter climates frost heave brings stones to the surface. I remember as a kid having to 'pick rock' from the fields. In those areas you will see piles of rock on the edges of the fields from decades of picking rock.
If one is no tilling or no tillage farming then rocks do not present as much of a problem,
should they or should they not be removed is probably as much of a decision by the methods one uses to farm, and your philosophy on farming is.
big rocks that tear up things I try to remove, it is easer to remove a rock that is a foot around then work around it, on small rocks under 3", I leave as they do not cause the problems,
If it was in a garden type plot I would probably remove the 3" rock, and use in a path or other
for the most part rocks are not a major problem for me,
Ardilla wrote:Under many conditions soil doesn't accumulate, it ablates. Which leads to a saying around here: 'New Mexico's main export is topsoil'. Between wind and water erosion that removes soil, you can be left with a rocky surface that is called desert pavement.
Have you read any of P. A. Yeomans' writing? He did a lot on soil management in Australia, including windy, arid locations. Apparently with the right kind of subsoiler (the books were written before that implement had been invented, a chisel plow was the closest thing) and an appropriate pattern & timing of tillage, the wind & water erosion are both fairly straightforward to reduce. He writes about a dust devil passing from a flat seedbed onto a field with his recommended pattern of ridges in it, and the surface velocity of the wind dropping drastically. The same size of particle was on the surface in each field, but the dust devil picked up tremendously more of it, from the smooth surface. This was mostly shared as an illustration of how much moisture the wind picks up from a flat field, versus one cultivated to slow wind at the surface, and from his perspective the moisture is, in the long term, also extremely important for the quality & quantity of topsoil.
I think short berms of gravel, a couple inches high and a couple feet apart, would probably also cut surface wind speed very well. There's nothing like a row of trees, of course, and the book goes into that fairly deeply as well.
The Keyline Plan
ardilla thats Spainish i did not thik before why is your name the spanish word for squirrel?
Ardilla, i was thinking, when i said that earth accumulates on top of rocks of earth that is covered with vegetation if it is not it gets eroded.
Water can erode soil down hill from under ground cover but not as much i imagine.
i will put in a photo of earth that has built up on a shelf in a rock face ust out of the village of Tamajon and afterwards soe photos of how bad the erosion is on either side of the village.
the earth in this rock face is beyond the reach of live stock and owners of live stock. the live stock around there are sheep and goats.
The plants covering this slope are time and gorse with a few junipers.
Even the time has been over grazed, of course where the hill is steep overgrazing has its worst effects sooner than in other places. i still think this bare hill is the result of over grazing. I know less teep places near by that have been left bare by over grazing. Anyway the rock face is steeper and is full of plants.
This is a foto of junipers this time the mountain up to two thousand od feet and more ones called vulgarly sabina albares, and more formaly juniperus thurifera, on a slope nearly totaly bare of earth. agri rose macaskie.
rose macaskie wrote:
...ardilla thats Spainish i did not thik before why is your name the spanish word for squirrel?
Ardilla, i was thinking, when i said that earth accumulates on top of rocks of earth that is covered with vegetation if it is not it gets eroded....
Yes, my alias means squirrel. I like the critters and sometimes behave like them.
I understand what you mean with the soil accumulation. My point was that some environments and landforms are erosive by nature. In order to build soil in these landscapes, you have to use strategic earthworks and plants to counteract erosion and soil loss.
This book said that soil betters in six years with grass and in more than a hundred with trees. However a moe precise recipe of r bettering soils thay gave included the use of clover with the grass and of currant bushes too, so a variety of plants as you say ardilla.
If you think of trees power to better soils you have to remember we clean out the undergrowth in woods, taking away vegetable matter and ditto the trees when we harvest the wood we don't leave much to replenish soils with.
For me the main thing is to get people understanding about overgrazing and how much food people could have if they did not do it. That way millions of kilometres of land would be saved millions of kilometres are overgrazed in the whole world.
Here fear of fires drives overgrazing and all the undergrowth dries from July to Octobre, sometimes more sometimes less, so the danger of fires would be big if they were left with a lot of grass and clover and such around in summer,
Proper grazing techniques mean you have eaten down one feild and another is half way back to being overgrown again and another has totally recovered from the grazing, it was exposed to two mounths ago, i don't know how long it takes for grass to recover from from being cut for hay. mounth ofr two ago . Good grazing techniques woudl mean a lot of dry grass great tinder in summer.
In one bit of my garden the grass has stopped drying up compleltely in summer so maybe a bit of faith in the power of good soils and deep roots and we would not have the expected dry undergrowth an summer.
Fear of fires leads the shepherds to overgraze, pride of work and responsabliity to the village to keep fires away comes before their purse strings and stomachs they do for the vegetation here in Spain. It is their job to do for it and South America even the Southern States of North America have been heavlily influenced by spain so were have they maybe taken this laying barren for fear of fires .
You would have to think fire breaks in the undergrowth in the natural pastures, like quarter of a kilometre overgrazed every so often maybe, as a fire break. Optimum vegetation elsewhereto deal with the world ecology and food needs and a reduction in the danger of fires altogether. Maybe flooding areas in fires could be a possiblility.
The experts in the book, "manual de conservation de suelos manual of soil conservation that inspired me said that grass renovates soils better than trees, in six years, rather than in centuries but he used a variety of plants on the peice of his land that had been a road whose soil he wanted to better, grass, clover and currant bushes, so he did use plants, to renovate soils, clover to produce nitrogen, his use of currants bushes was in consideration of the fauna rather than to get variouse depths of roots, maybe i remember wrong and he was multi purposing and his currants had a double function.
He did not use earth works though they are mentioned in the chapter on terraces which is in fact three chapters if i remember right. He used a bit of chemical fertilizer at first to start things off.
He said you could do a bit of very light grazing but not a lot, so as not to spoil the plants and reduce the organic material meant to better lands. The neighborinhg gardener uses lawn mower to such effect as to greatly reduce the grass on his land that would better his soil, the desire to reducd fire risk is all pervasive here.
THe truth is if i reflect on it that the bit of my land the former owner prepared with ray grass i have just read about htat it only last four years that means pplouhged and planted with just ray grass has remained sticky clay for longer than other bits of garden so maybe clover or some other nitrogen fixing legume is tremendoulsly important.
The passing shadow of a tree is good in hot climates for pastures. Shade in hot countries is another reason for some bushes and trees. Heidi Guildemaeister,
I read this the manuel of conservation of soil and was inspierd by the idea grass was so good for recuperating soils so i just left the wild plants grow in my garden to cure the ground. That would be wild oats, oats have long roots, clovers, blakberries and regrowing dead elms and i now have good soils the clay has turned to loam at a considerable depth in most places. Not where someone put a herbicide that seems to be used a lot there but in nearly all other places.
I had not heard of earth works till last year. I have plenty of rain compared to the rain fall of some places like where Geof Lawsons successful efforts to better things in the dead sea took place so maybe i did not need to use all the weapons in the armory but in other places you do have to include water harvesting earthworks.
The expert that inspired me in the book on conservation of soils was both interested in recovering land and in the fauna,.He said you should leave a bit of land for them in every feild rather than a bit of your whole farm for them. He reckoned that they need places at regular intervals rather than one big peice of the farm in one spot for them. agri rose macaskie.