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Suggestions for rich gravelly soil

 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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So yesterday I decided to revise some plans I had for a little section of dirt. last year I dumped a bunch of wood chips and silty loam topsoil in this area - I let them sit over fall and winter and now I've moved them down the hill 10 feet or so. What I'm left with is on the forest/meadow/driveway edge. Its SUPER gravelly - obviously man altered. But the soil is deep dark brown nearing black and is a clay like loam (with some sand introduced by man) Anyone have suggestions for what to plant here? It gets minimal morning sun but from 2-7 it gets pretty full on sun. I was thinking of smacking the ground around with my digging bar to loosen the top bit a little (I've shoved down to a gravelly semi-hardpan) I was considering some mixed mints and ground creepers? Plausible? Insane? Other suggestions?

I'd like to get on this today if possible - but a major sounding thunder storm is sliding by and it sounds like I may be in store for a reenactment of the Blitz on London
 
Nicole Alderman
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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duck forest garden hugelkultur
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Mints seem to thrive everywhere, so I think they'd likely do well. Dandelions and plantains are both edible and like to grow in straight up gravel, so they'd likely do well, as well. I also have alders happily growing in a pile of straight up gravel. Both were left by the previous owner. I've been leaving the alders, since I figure they'll help reclaim the land. They also are useful for coppicing (waddle fencing and firewood, etc. I thought there was a thread about the uses of alder trees but I can't find it). There's also trailing blackberry growing happily there. I personally love the taste of trailing blackberries over Himalayan or evergreen... Maybe other cane berries would do well there, as well?
 
Landon Sunrich
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Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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Thanks Nicole. I've actually got an experimental alder bed growing somewhere with a bit more mottled sun where I laid pit run gravel and sand over a bunch of red elderberry I took down (in turn over a nice clay soil - I figure worst case scenario the gravel and sand keep the elderberry nice and wet all season and they rot quicker and I have to bust out the digging bar to incorporate the mix together in a few seasons). I also have a bunch of trailing black cap already all over the property. I even have started saving seed - I had one plant which self trellised trough a giant Laurel along the road side which had by far the largest (and quite tasty) black cap berries I've ever seen (I've been picking them since I was a small child) Might be do to all the heat and extra c02 next to the blacktop but genes also probably have something to do with it.

I'm looking to have this space as densely productive as possible as it has good direct afternoun sun - AND Its the bottom terrace so I don't want anything that's going to grow to a height of more than about 18 inches. I was thinking strawberries and mints, but really I'd like something a bit more substantial if I can manage it (and that's where the suggestions come in)

Anyway - thanks again - great regional suggestions which I am already implementing! Just not in this particular patch.
 
Landon Sunrich
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Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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Nicole Alderman wrote:plantains


You are talking about the lawn weed not the banana thing right?
 
Nicole Alderman
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Posts: 1112
Location: Pacific Northwest
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duck forest garden hugelkultur
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I should have read a little more thoroughly! I didn't catch the part about it getting full-sun from 2-7:00! My baby was waking up from his nap and getting all fussy on me, but I wanted to try to give some suggestions since you wanted to try and get it done before the storm ( the storms already here--I've heard thunder at least twice already!). I hope someone else has the help you need!

landon sunrich wrote: You are talking about the lawn weed not the banana thing right?
Yes .
 
Bryan Jasons
Posts: 62
Location: Maine
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Running bamboo, ideally a good edible type, is a favorite for driveways. I think they can handle some shade.
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