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Soil Building the Pedestrian Way

 
Kelda Miller
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Resource: 15 sq.ft of hard-packed soil near a church parking lot. Two women interested in it being a garden. (One has time on Sunday mornings, the other has more time during the week but does not drive a car).  Nearby are numerous coffee-shops, an organic cafe with juicer, a safeway dumpster, neighbors chickens (manure?), church-goers, and bank employees that park there during the weekdays.

My plan to build soil bit by bit. 1)shredded newspaper added to 2) juicer pulp with 3) coffee ground mulch overtop and tidy-like. The biggest holdup so far is the limited hours at cafe makes it hard to pick up pulp. Everything needs to be hauled by buckets (until the day i get a bike trailer, but that's a separate issue.)

What are some other ideas? I'm aiming for a sheet compost that won't attract rats or dogs. And can be added to whenever there's a few extra minutes in town.
 
                        
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I have heard, but never tried, that Daikon radish is a fantastic choice for breaking up compacted soils.  Don't ever harvest it, just let it grow to its fullest and then rot in the ground.  Other than that, you may want to bring a few worms into the mix once you get mulch down.  Although they'll find their own way there, it will happen more quickly with your help.

Good luck.

 
Dave Boehnlein
Posts: 294
Location: Orcas Island, WA
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I've heard that daikon would be a good option for making big spongy plugs in the soil. However, make sure you get a big variety. The small garden ones we often find in the veggie catalogs here in the US probably won't do it. There are some enormous varieties. Also consider mangels (or mangelwurssels). These are giant stock sugar beets that will break up soil in the same fashion. They can be ordered from R.H. Shumway's seed company in Randolph, WI.

Dave
 
                                
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Location: Middle Georgia
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if you could collect bagged leaves in the fall and have a guy from the church how has a pickup pick them up and take them to the spot then you could till them into the soil making great organic mulch. That would speed things up
 
Leah Sattler
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I would contact a local riding stable. It is possible that they must haul away their stall cleanings. For small fee or maybe nothing they might be willing dump a load on the desired garden spot. it won't be composted yet but if spread thick, over time the worms and microbes will break down the manure and shavings and the thick layer will smother grass and weeds. After a few months you will be able to pull aside the remaining intact stall cleanings and you will find rich black earth. 
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