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"Water to "see" what grows/weeds, and fertility?"strange advice -need feedback/rehab soil plants

 
Posts: 43
Location: Southwest Oklahoma, southern Greer County, Zone 7a
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M Monroe wrote:I didnt have the time to read all of the previous feedback to your original post so apologies if this is redundant.  
I think the advice on watering the weeds may have been along this line:  "Weeds'' are pioneer plants.  They will provide what nutrients the soil needs based on the state of the soil. Different plants have different nutrient properties. They come before and help prepare and amend the soil health.  So by seeing what weeds come up with watering, you can get an indication of the state of your soil.  Hope that is helpful!



I, too haven't read the whole thread. But I live in a tough arid environment. I agree with the advice to just water and observe especially if you’re moving into an unfamiliar climate. Nature really is the best teacher.
 
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Location: mid atlantic / northern piedmont zone 6b/7a USA
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Judy Bowman wrote:

M Monroe wrote:I didnt have the time to read all of the previous feedback to your original post so apologies if this is redundant.  
I think the advice on watering the weeds may have been along this line:  "Weeds'' are pioneer plants.  They will provide what nutrients the soil needs based on the state of the soil. Different plants have different nutrient properties. They come before and help prepare and amend the soil health.  So by seeing what weeds come up with watering, you can get an indication of the state of your soil.  Hope that is helpful!



I, too haven't read the whole thread. But I live in a tough arid environment. I agree with the advice to just water and observe especially if you’re moving into an unfamiliar climate. Nature really is the best teacher.




I smiled when I saw that their were replies to this 7 year old thread!! I  wrote this thread when I had  purchased my first place, a 3.5 acre property. I was trying to develop my zones on a 'homestead scale.'  I received helpful advice on this thread.- ( that I immediately put into practice. )

I needed all the ideas  I could get.  I was completely starting from scratch in terms of the soil- and -This soil when I landed on it, was bare.. it didn't even have weeds and it was blowing around violently dustbowl style.. that is how bad the soil was.  (I agree with you on 'weeds'- I love 'weeds' !-and you are accurate on how they can tell you the condition of soil.- I think when I bought the property I was obsessing on the water issue, and this property had ample water. I figured I could figure out the weeds/bountiful crops as long as I had what I needed in terms of acre feet of water/water rights.

One of the best pieces of advice on soil rehab/land tending is what I received was from one of my mentors when I was  living in New Mexico,  Roxanne, the founder of Flowering Tree Permaculture ) and It was some of the most elemental and important aspects to keep in your mind at all times. (and of course ideas central- to both Indigenous agricultural wisdom and Permaculture practice)  

-things like using adobe bricks; (teeny earthworks) making little walls/ simply collecting rocks (to give much needed shade and shelter to nurture plants who could handle the poor soil at first-and those plants, provided something for further growth to build/work with once they came up. as the fertility improved.

It is humbling sometimes when you have nothing really to build on but this really dead dirt- But you work it in your hands and it comes to life.

Also of course-using this earth or the rocks you can collect to divert or hold water. That soil just wanted to slide

build on what you did last season, observe.learn. plan.
I was also reminded gently (when I would get frustrated at my dirt patch - I totally had 'ants in my pants' to create my eden)
that her property took her.... 30+ years...
Patience is probably the hardest thing to 'cultivate' when you're trying to green the desert (at least it was for me)

7 years on I'm in a completely different terrestrial biome now- a temperate forest-but we had major drought last year. All around me, farmers fields were brown- but mine were green.. I still use everything I learned in the Southwest -every day.
When I am around other growers in the Northeast ( and they are complaining about something-) I just say "You have no idea what is "hard,"!!- Try growing food with poor caliche soil, no water (or hardly any), high winds, and extreme temperature swings...................all the time"-

My mom lives outside Sedona, so I get my 'Southwest fix' as much as I can.
I'm going to put in a grid garden in her backyard to keep my skillz sharp. - Southwest farmers and gardeners are brave, awesome, and inspiring. Getting something, anything really going there is no easy task..

But to get technical on the 'soil rehab.'
The areas that improved the most on this site were areas that I terraced myself- or were naturally quite sloped (mesa hillsides) They seemed to have natural 'sheltering' from the high winds and improved ability to hold water-simply due to the topography. I also had some luck with soaking straw bales in fish emulsion, lots of humates, and pickup truck loads of compost. and making pits or grid gardens.
I did get sheet mulching to work -but I was a little horrified about how long it took to decompose. (would I be 80 years old before I had my eden?) I think I was too stingy with the water there.

cruising down memory lane,  I looked up the property , and I saw from newer real esate photos (the people who bought it from me had resold it during the pandemic real estate sales highs and made a big profit) I was happy to see most of the fruit trees I planted are still alive (but very small, they look like 3 year old trees- not 8 year old trees)
so small victories

hopefully your response (and mine, and others) someone from the Southwest will see this and get some good ideas! (or simply encouragement)

 
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