This was a Project that is a result of 2 years of abstract thinking that has ultimately results in this concept of a possible, practical way of building soil, retaining water and making living soil in the desert.
First year attemt was somewhat accidental with just a ovate hole in the ground filled with saw dust from the chainsaw, filled hole with the stuff, and in 4 week time of watering every seven days, BAM!!, black matter(Humus that was not their before, something that would become the Assimilated mater of the sunken garden.
In my experiment I quickly jumped on this Idea and switched to an elongated sunken bed that was measure of 1.5 meters in length,30 cm wide and a depth of 10-and 12 cm in depth but having better results later with 7 cm depth.
2014 sunken beds\
filled with leftover vines from squash vine and leaf material.
Year two 2015
given my results from the experiment I desided to widen the bed to 55 cm wide for larger space for root growth with 7cm depth, any deeper and the roots for this years squash roots would struggle reaching the moister to the center of the bed, it is why I prefer 7cm depth.
chopped leafs to start the bed with.
expanded, sunken bed with 12 cm depth but later changed to 7cm.
5 months later the black soil is present and quite true to what would otherwise be displayed on a drawing but now with real photography depicting the complete soil horizon of the sunken bed.
Alas black soil.
organic horizon, Assimilation and Eluviation horizon.
nxt pic shows the literal graph chart I cleverly invented on my limited time.
What happens to cow manure when you add to a sunken bed.
I was fortunate to get my hands on some manure from a raw milk dairy farm(joy ) and this is the form it makes, round sticky balls of poo, yet does not look like it.
and when breaking open the clods I discover what looks like some white flaky growth on it, with the occasional wood lice( not included )
If you get really excited you could excavate pits and fill them with wood before putting the dirt back and adding the other materials. This has worked great for me here in droughty Texas. As the pits settle I just keep adding more materials on top. Even the paths are treated this way and topped with wood chips.
Tyler Ludens wrote:If you get really excited you could excavate pits and fill them with wood before putting the dirt back and adding the other materials. This has worked great for me here in droughty Texas. As the pits settle I just keep adding more materials on top. Even the paths are treated this way and topped with wood chips.
I have tried something like that but they seem to always go wrong for me, probably has to do with the fact that we are such a dry desert getting only 7-8 inches of rain avg.
I quickly learned that raised beds heat up faster and tends to dry up to fast, whereas sunken beds are cooler and evaporation greatly diminished, it makes the soil too cool in spring resulting in a slow root establishment but eventually fulfills its intentive goals , my idea would be to place large stone within or around the bed for heat attraction.
Being that your from Texas, Im guessing that you may get more rain than we do.