Hi, new here. Looking for some advice or direction on dealing with 3 acres level backfilled quarry. It is sand/gravel little to no topsoil. We have newly acquired 14 wooded acres in foothills and level land is a treasure that I can't waste. Any thoughts on an economical way to covert this land back to something useful? We'd love to be able to graze some small hoof stock there. I have a mild love affair with hair sheep. But if not pasture, something that could once again support green life. I was looking at hugalkulture (we have plenty of trees) but not sure about having to truck in the topsoil. Any thoughts, books or websites would be most appreciated.
The obvious way to build this land into good soil would be laying down topsoil, expensive and not really necessary unless you are working with time constraints.
I would use the method of composting/mulching/planting to build topsoil within the boundaries of what is already there.
Depending on the quantities of compostable materials you have or can get free, you may need to take a cellular approach where you do small areas at a time.
You could bury wood, and keep the surface nearly level, or you could build some actual hugels around, either will work. The dependent is your intended use for the land.
Pastures do not have to be level, they can have bumps and wriggles, which give places for water to soak deeper into the soil/substructure.
Layers work well for building soils, lasagna mulches end up making compost which helps build new soil. You can also plant into these lasagna mulches giving new green material which can be chopped and dropped to continue the process.
This website is very good as is richsoil.com a web search for permaculture will bring up several other sites to peruse.
One of the best methods for building soil into humus rich, healthy soil is to lasagna bed it and plant deep root plants into the applied compostingmulch beds. When these plants have grown just chop them down and leave the below ground roots to rot.
These decomposing roots will add a lot of organic material into the soil, help it both drain and retain water and also give places for the necessary micro organisms to grow and thrive.
Even untreated cardboard and black soy ink newspaper are good for amending soils, they keep weeds down by blocking sunlight and they decompose creating organic materials to be adsorbed into the soil they covered.