• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Should I get something more to this mix?

 
Milja Hahto
Posts: 25
Location: Finland, northern Satakunta
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a yard that is can not yet be called a garden - mostly just lawn, and a few trees (and even the leaves are usually blown to neighbours side by autumn winds). Ie, I get very little to put into a compost, but I am in great need of the end result, as the soil under the lawn isn't very thick. In many places if you dig the grass mat away, that's about it. So, what I need is not a fertilizer for existing plantations but something to plant into, to grow in. Preferably loads of it. Otherwise I will pay more for soil for the plants than the seeds or even seeplings/saplings themselves.

At the moment pretty much the only thing we have in any substantial amount is moldy saw dust / cutter shavings. Maybe even two dozens sacks, some 150-200 litres each. It greatly outnumbers the food scraps and cat litter this household produces, but I have figured that we could probably get some horse manure nearby (probably already mixed with straw).

Do you think I should try to get something else to the mix than the sawdust and horse manure? I don't really know what it could be, though - everybody around seems to compost themselves, and in many cases it does not seem to be much. I'm a newbie gardener (and not just a newbie in permaculture) and it is a bit harsh start to not even have something to grow in...
 
Dan Boone
gardener
Posts: 1751
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
190
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Milja, my brain is stuck on those leaves that blow away every fall into your neighbor's yard.

Is there any way you can put up the tallest possible fence (or maybe a densely-planted hedge) o catch those leaves and dump them into a windrow at the base that you can rake up and use for mulch? Because leaves (and leaf mold) would be a great addition to your sawdust-and-manure mix.

The other notion I have is that you could plant a lot of chop-and-drop plants (the one that comes to mind is comfrey, but anything that grows a lot of biomass in your area would work, especially if it has deep roots and doesn't need a lot of high-quality soil to grow in) and collect their greenery to add to your sawdust and manure mix, or to mulch over your mix after planting stuff in it.
 
Milja Hahto
Posts: 25
Location: Finland, northern Satakunta
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dan Boone wrote:Milja, my brain is stuck on those leaves that blow away every fall into your neighbor's yard.

Is there any way you can put up the tallest possible fence (or maybe a densely-planted hedge) o catch those leaves and dump them into a windrow at the base that you can rake up and use for mulch?

Alas, not really. The birches extend to the border, even the lightest wind would carry them over any hedge - and the leaves tend to fall during strong winds, as we leave in the middle of fields (which is why our neighbour doesn't care and why we get none from the neighbour on our other side!) But we are also planning to replace the birches with something less high (and less resource hungry).

Dan Boone wrote:The other notion I have is that you could plant a lot of chop-and-drop plants (the one that comes to mind is comfrey, but anything that grows a lot of biomass in your area would work, especially if it has deep roots and doesn't need a lot of high-quality soil to grow in) and collect their greenery to add to your sawdust and manure mix, or to mulch over your mix after planting stuff in it.

If I take the lawn away, there's 0-5cm of soil. Under that, in some places plain sand (where some old buildings were demolished on the 60'-70') and elsewhere plain hard clay (the really hard grey stuff with high clay percentage). Not even weeds grow well there without the addition of some soil first. I could turn the lawn, but then I would need some soil above it to grow in while the lawn composts enough.

And I should start composting the cutter shavings very soon - the sacks are decaying and that will cause problems before the end of summer unless we do something...


(This yard would be a good blanc starting point for someone who likes and has the money to make a garden in the TV-style, fast and bringing in new soil and big plants, but a plain nightmare for anybody with very limited means, with little experience in gardening, and wanting to grow it ecologically.)
 
Adriaan van Roosmalen
Posts: 24
Location: Netherlands (moderate maritime climate)
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You could grow your own green manure. Because you are quite North, you would have to figure out which green manure or cover crops plants would grow well in your climate.

When I removed about 30 m^2 gravel from my front garden last autumn, I sowed winter rye and that did quite well. But I am in the Netherlands so our climate is different from yours. I also sowed some patches with crimson clover and that produced a huge mass of organic material.
 
Steve Farmer
Posts: 370
Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
2
forest garden greening the desert trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like the idea of just letting the weeds grow, have a look at Jesse Grimes's 2nd vid in his first post here http://www.permies.com/t/47811/labs/Jesse-Ant-Village-Videos. Fairly sure a first step is to rip up some or all of that lawn.
 
Milja Hahto
Posts: 25
Location: Finland, northern Satakunta
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Adriaan van Roosmalen wrote:You could grow your own green manure.

You I would start composting with just the two ingredients I can get now (because, as I said above, we'll get problems with the sawdust if we delay the start), and add the green manure next year?

Adriaan van Roosmalen wrote:When I removed about 30 m^2 gravel from my front garden last autumn, I sowed winter rye and that did quite well. But I am in the Netherlands so our climate is different from yours. I also sowed some patches with crimson clover and that produced a huge mass of organic material.

You say you removed gravel - but what did you have then to grow in? I suppose you added some soil instead? The amount of soil I can afford to buy won't cover a big area, not even as 5cm layer. (The house is taking up most of the budget)
 
Milja Hahto
Posts: 25
Location: Finland, northern Satakunta
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Steve Farmer wrote:I like the idea of just letting the weeds grow, have a look at Jesse Grimes's 2nd vid in his first post here http://www.permies.com/t/47811/labs/Jesse-Ant-Village-Videos. Fairly sure a first step is to rip up some or all of that lawn.

(I'm having problems with flash -> no video checked...) If I rip the lawn, the weeds won't grow. We already have an area where this is happening - even weeds barely surviving, definitely not thriving. Nothing to gather from there to the compost.

Need to add some soil first, and that means I need the compost first.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!