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An experimental new lot w/lots of challenge

 
Niklas Fred
Posts: 6
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Hi

I'm from Vantaa (technically the same as Helsinki, southern Finland). I have been growing stuff for maybe 15 years now. I would need advice for an adventurous challenge I took on recently:

I rented this small allotment because it was very cheap and very near to my house. It's 100 sq. meters, and the soil is the heaviest and thickest clay you can imagine. The elderly lady who used to rent it hasn't done anything to the lot in two seasons so it's pretty much overgrown with weeds. There's no running water there (to add to the challenge), so all water conserving practices imaginable should be implemented.

I would like to use this opportunity to plan an approach on how to get this piece of land producing with the least amount of physical work. I have a bit of a bad back, and that's why I've been gravitating towards no-dig and related practices like heavy mulching on my own yard garden. I'm in no particular hurry with this one, but sooner is better than later as usual. My goal is to make this a place to grow bulk vegetables like potatoes, beets, cabbage, rutabaga (Finnish delicacy ),peas,onions... I intend to have a soil analysis made as soon as the ground thaws.

I really don't have enough manures available for the kind of heavy sheet mulching/composting that I see promoted in many permaculture books. What I have available: straw, kitchen waste compost from our 4-person family, cardboard & paper, store bought organic fertilizers. I can get small amounts (maybe max. 100 kg) of horse manure. And of course I can grow green manures.

My initial plans in my head include at least these several options:
1. I could just cover the ground with cardboard and newspaper and let it sit for the whole next season, to smother the weeds.
2. I could clean the weeds by hand at least from some of the area, and plant a green manure mixture, maybe oats, pea, clover, fava bean?
3. I could make a hugelkultur bed to get something edible growing right away.

I would appreciate any ideas, no matter how progressive. Especially the no water- part seems scary.

Thanks in advance!

 
Justin Nickel
Posts: 4
Location: Upper Midwest/South Central Wisconsin
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If you are able to entice a farmer to fence in some of his swine there temporarily, you would have a nicely manured, rooted area very quickly. Buy a nice (5kg or so) sized bag of corn, spread around on the area when it's damp and walk it in. After that, let the pigs loose and they'll grub up the corn, turn the earth and deposit some very beneficial foundation for a good layer of humus.
 
Niklas Fred
Posts: 6
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A great idea but this is a sub-urbanish location, I don't even know where to find a non-factory farmed pig here if I wanted (sad to say )
 
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