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Large sunken beds while building stone walls

 
Xisca Nicolas
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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This is a west facing slope, with the rebuilding of 4 terraces 50-60m long.
This place used to be winter grown (rainy season), sown of cereals and lentils.

I have finally decided to put a caterpilar in my place because I needed stones to build those walls.
Resulted a lot of crushed stones for little good big stones.
This stone is partially containing earth, it is strange, it looks like "rotten stone", really the stage before turning into earth.
I gathered pine big branches.
I pay the transport for some clayey earth from 10km away. This town is said to have good results for growing. My own soil lacks clay.

So here is my plan, ideas welcome to better it before the machine finishes the job!

The caterpilar removed the top soil and put it apart.
Then they pick the underground rock, and we take out what can build walls.
We put this on one side of the terrace.
I put the pine branches I have gathered, as deep as possible, I guess this will be no more than 80cm, and it will be rock under it.

-> 1 layer? More layers and then how thick would be good?
I can get more pine if needed.

-> Should I put some manure at this stage there?
I can have bags of nearly dry goat dung for this.
Then they will put some clayey earth on top.
Then mix this earth with my stony underground (clay will compress less I guess)

Then they will do the other side of the terrace.
Last, we will put back the original top soil, with some local compost (cow manure with the crushed branches they use as bed instead of straw).
May be mix with a little of clayey earth?

I had to verbaly fight to obtain that they do this! They first did not remove the top soil, resulting in a mix of everything at the beginning.
Then they wanted to do all the job here, and then go and look for the clay, to put it on top of my draining local soil.

Thanks for the advices you can give me.
I do not have internet at home and did not plan to have pics today with me, so I will try to put pics later.
I will anyway take pics to show the process and inform about the results.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1276
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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So, here is a photo of what is going on at the moment!
You can see the hump of logs and some logs into the lower terrace.

You can see that it is quite deep, I don't know if this is necessary to put that deep...
I thought about puting some earth and then more logs + more earth on top...

Some one told me not to burry any animal manure with the wood -> anaerobic fermentation, which is supposed not to be good.

Any comment?
pared-pino519-200.jpg
[Thumbnail for pared-pino519-200.jpg]
 
John Elliott
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In your dry climate you can bury animal manure with wood. For things to go anaerobic, they usually need lots of water -- like a fetid swamp.

One thing you could add to your beds is charcoal. Maybe if you have some large burnt pieces from the brush fire, you can use those. That biochar will increase the soil carbon and it won't all decompose after a couple of rainy seasons.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1276
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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That is a great idea, I have carbonized wood from the recent fire!
But the pine from there is very little carbonized, because the fire was little. The cistus would bring more, and in this case I have to cut them now, without waiting autumn.

I am interested by this idea of adding manure underground in the anaerobic part.
Yes, I do understand that that pudrification can occur only with humidity and my place is dry. BUT, it will not stay dry in winter! So there will be a time coming with wet underground, especially because I am adding some earth with more clay.

I will put a photo of this earth, the colour is so diferent from my local earth.

So, won't this fermentation finally occur during the rainy season?
I think I have 400mm/year, all in winter and in very little days.
I do not know what will be the result, and I do not even know what are the advantages of nitrogen that deep (1meter more or less)
Of course I can obtain from a close neighbour some fresh (but dry) pure goat shit! They sell it in bags.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1276
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Promised photo...
and...
Xisca Nicolas wrote:I am interested by this idea of adding manure underground in the anaerobic part.
Yes, I do understand that that rotting can occur only with humidity and my place is dry. BUT, it will not stay dry in winter! So there will be a time coming with wet underground, especially because I am adding some earth with more clay.

won't this fermentation finally occur during the rainy season?


At the momet there is so much new earth there that I will wait to add more wood.
This leaves me time for deciding.
canteros593-300.jpg
[Thumbnail for canteros593-300.jpg]
the logs near the walls are just covered my a mix of the 2 soils
canteros570-300.jpg
[Thumbnail for canteros570-300.jpg]
See the difference of colour between my soil and the more clayey one!
 
Sam White
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Location: Caerphilly, Wales, UK
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forest garden trees woodworking
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I love the walls Xisca, great job. We recently replaced a retaining wall in our back garden that is supporting a terrace and it's is something we've thought about on a larger scale in our fields so I'll be following your progress with interest.
 
Marcus Hoff
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Location: Málaga, Spain
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Looks really nice. Is it drywall or are you using something to hold i t together?
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Thanks!
It is looking like "una pared seca" but it is not, there is some concrete.
The building method is typical of here, and wallman can even recognize who built a wall from the way it is made.
They put some stones first, on both sides, and then they put some concrete in between.
The wall is made in a way that it could stand up without concrete, and also it is nearly invisible.

I will pick up some pics that show the method!
 
Sam White
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Location: Caerphilly, Wales, UK
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forest garden trees woodworking
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:Thanks!
It is looking like "una pared seca" but it is not, there is some concrete.
The building method is typical of here, and wallman can even recognize who built a wall from the way it is made.
They put some stones first, on both sides, and then they put some concrete in between.
The wall is made in a way that it could stand up without concrete, and also it is nearly invisible.

I will pick up some pics that show the method!


It's always interesting to see how people do things in other countries/scenarios! Sorry if I'm derailing your thread but here's a couple of pictures from our retaining wall (a much smaller proposition than yours) for the sake of comparison:



In progress.



(Almost) finished.

We used a single dyke (as opposed to your double dyke) and backfilled with smaller stones and rubble. No cement was used, just the weight of the stones. The second image shows the well before we put on the coping stones although you can see a few at the far end of the wall in the first image.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1276
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Your stones are flat. Here this is impossible to do a simple dyke wall! They never do even for a small wall.
Also, as a lot of stones are heart shaped, the large or thin end of the stone is alternate, so that they hold on better.
They put all stones in a way that they do not move no matter how you step on them.
They work with a hammer to remove what they want, to locate some stone that do not fit perfectly.

That is great to see your technique related to your type of stone.
If I also explain more about the technique, then the threat will have to be part of the building forum as well!
 
Sam White
Posts: 222
Location: Caerphilly, Wales, UK
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forest garden trees woodworking
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Ha, yeah, our stones are too flat really. Yes, I'll stop talking about the walls too!

Are you expecting any settling of the soil once the wood starts decomposing? If so, are you expecting this to impact the stability of the walls at all?
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1276
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Well be welcome, this is also about walls!
They are not TOO flat, they are real nice, and we all do with what we have. This just mean local adaptation of general recepes.
I was thinking to put more soil, so that it will go down at wall level, and I think I should anyway put some stoney soil behind the walls. I do not see why the impact of compost would be worse than just soil... If someone tell me to beware, then I will see what to do!
Anyway here they put a mix of the too much stones we have. This depends on the size of the wall, its lenght also. The longer the weaker.
 
Tim Malacarne
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Location: South central Illinois, USA
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Beautiful walls, and oh what breathtaking scenery! That soil you had hauled in looks great, by the way, you ought to be able to grow anything you want! Good luck! Best, TM
 
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