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Healing a piece of land. The recipe.

 
Posts: 123
Location: Quebec, Canada - 4b/5a
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So. I've been quite busy populating this forum section lately and i hope it's not to the inconvenience of anyone.

So, the current status of the land is: 5.1ph ex corn and soy. Not cultivated for two years. Next year is number three.

My plan.
Rototill a part for beds so i can plant garlic this fall.

For the rest of the piece, i was thinking to add lime, composted cow manure and then put a black uv tarp to cook it down (and kill grass and weeds).
I would prepare a bunch of biochar and charge it, so it would be ready to add in spring time.
I also have the equipment for rameal fragmented wood- a good chipper and sources of fresh twigs.
Anyhow.
Thanks for reading and sharing!
Ps: I plan do do biointensive beds in order to grow medicinal plants and veggies for market and seed saving.
So far, the rototiller doesn't seem to be a good bet as it ... breaks everything up and mixes the weeds in while still doing a superficial job. Im thibking that i may be faster, on the long run, just forking the beds by hand. Am i crazy?
 
Posts: 166
Location: Kentucky 6b
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We talking broadfork or run of the mill garden fork? I've tried the later, and well, it's more work than I wanted with the limited time I have. Area to cover is going to be a huge factor. Don't get me wrong, the results of the fork were soooo much better than tilling, but switched to an initial till followed by hand work to get the areas I really wanted improved to my specs.

I just got done putting a garlic bed in a few hours ago actually. Where I put mine was terrible clay (backfill from a recent septic system overhaul) so I went with a raised bed using cinder blocks 1 high. I cut the sod out, forked the clay soil, added compost, then topped it off with a commercial garden soil. I figure it should help with the actual harvesting of the garlic next year. To be honest if that portion is harder than it should be I'll never do it lol.

I'm leery of biochar, but I have the opposite problem you have, terribly alkaline soil so you should be in the clear. All in all sounds like a great plan.

Is your tiller a walk-behind? I find them suitable for land previously worked up, but if you're breaking fresh ground with them they suck lol, I spent more time being dragged around by it and fighting it than tilling soil. I had my dad bring in one on the tractor and the results were a night and day difference to say the least.
 
master steward
Posts: 4321
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I've never has success trying to solarize soil, even during the hottest part of the summer. I'd especially not expect it to work overwinter.

 
Blake Wheeler
Posts: 166
Location: Kentucky 6b
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Mines been mixed. I'm able to weaken the grass off enough to finish the deed with a thick mulch but it never totally kills it. I usually get it dry enough that I can burn the rest out. Plastic helps, but doesn't do the trick alone.
 
pollinator
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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you solarize everything the goodies and the baddies, I think of more harm than good?
 
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Charles Laferriere wrote:So. I've been quite busy populating this forum section lately and i hope it's not to the inconvenience of anyone.

So, the current status of the land is: 5.1ph ex corn and soy. Not cultivated for two years. Next year is number three.

My plan.
Rototill a part for beds so i can plant garlic this fall.

For the rest of the piece, i was thinking to add lime, composted cow manure and then put a black uv tarp to cook it down (and kill grass and weeds).
I would prepare a bunch of biochar and charge it, so it would be ready to add in spring time.
I also have the equipment for rameal fragmented wood- a good chipper and sources of fresh twigs.
Anyhow.
Thanks for reading and sharing!
Ps: I plan do do biointensive beds in order to grow medicinal plants and veggies for market and seed saving.
So far, the rototiller doesn't seem to be a good bet as it ... breaks everything up and mixes the weeds in while still doing a superficial job. Im thibking that i may be faster, on the long run, just forking the beds by hand. Am i crazy?



I use a broad fork or go ahead and do a double dig (if I need to get lots of rocks out (and I always have to get multitudes of rocks out) I'm going to kill the microbes but then I can put back the best microbes and add mycelium at the same time).
The broad fork is better than the rototiller, opens up the soil with out disturbing the layers of biology living there.
If you are going to till, or have rocks to remove, go ahead and do the double dig so you can really prep the now dirt to become even better soil by adding back the microbes you want to live there, incorporate biochar and include mycelium.

You know your pH but if your going to work the space, you might want to wait and do a second test after you prep the dirt. Adding biochar and composted manures will change the pH.
Wait for spring to do the solar kill, winter will just put everything you want dead into dormant state and then in the spring when you pull the tarp it will start to grow.
Biochar YES! WOOD CHIPS YES! I would use these as the bottom layers of a lasagna mulch, that way you can reap the benefits of deep mulch and it will also be control of the un-desirable (what others call weeds)
 
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