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Curtis Mullin
Posts: 27
Location: Massawippi, Quebec, Canada.
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Idea is to leave the back wild this year (1/2 Acre), but order a truckload or two of rich soil and dump it right in front of the house next to the deck on the driveway where it (maybe 1/8 Acre) is mostly unused space but sunny for at least six hours of the day give or take, in spite of the 50' tall maples et. al..

Just wondered what folks thought about this. Must I dig up the drive for root space (perennial shrubs, blueberries, etc.; general garden stuff, spices, carrots etc.) or can I use the uneven landscape (some spots as low as four feet, such as where my sheepdog, Piano, dug up) to make up for that? Might I have to murder a few gorgeous maples?

Ciao.

Massawippi, Quebec, Canada (west of Maine).
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Northish
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Southish
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Westish
 
Curtis Mullin
Posts: 27
Location: Massawippi, Quebec, Canada.
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I don't see the three attachments of pictures?
 
Jason Padvorac
Posts: 103
Location: Northeast of Seattle, zone 8: temperate with rainy winters and dry summers.
6
bee books food preservation forest garden urban
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Sounds like a good project! Here are a few things that spring to my mind:

1. How long is it okay for this to take?
2. Is drainage going to be a problem?

For 1, if you are okay waiting for a natural rehabilitation process, you can use something like daikon or oilseed radishes for biological tilling. They throw big roots down deep, then die and decompose, leaving holes. This was a key part of how Fukuoka rehabilitated his orchards. If you're spreading nice organic matter over this, I don't imagine it would take too long for this to be really nice.

For 2, if it is highly compacted and has low spots (looks like it might be puddly?), I could imagine that possibly causing problems for what you'd be trying to grow there. I don't know how well radishes do with wet feet.

In any case, if you're okay taking some time you can probably find something to plant there which will send down nice roots and break it up. Then when the thing dies naturally or you kill it, the decomposed roots will leave nice channels for water and plants to use.
 
Curtis Mullin
Posts: 27
Location: Massawippi, Quebec, Canada.
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Wow, Jason, thanks for a great reply! I had not even thought of using plants to breakup the compact driveway (and some gravel; maybe a few inches of crushed rock)!

"...oilseed radishes for biological tilling. They throw big roots down deep, then die and decompose, leaving holes. This was a key part of how Fukuoka rehabilitated his orchards."

Maybe I ought to do a mix of annual produce and as you have suggested what Fukuoka did... cuz, I'm impatient! And I doubt that even the angriest of starving pigs would be all that nosy about rummaging through a driveway most entirely void of life. Maybe I ought to envite Paul over to help dig it all up with this old rusty shovel I have... you know, cuz he's a giant who does those sorts of things with ease and joy.

As for drainage, its pretty decent. What we see in the pics is mostly (what I call) spring sweat which tends to dry out by August. I am more concerned about how much soil I ought to use (about as much as in a raised bed, I figure; 6-8"), and about the quite compact gravel getting in the way of root systems - as far as the perennial shrubs go. The other generic garden crops I am not too worried about as they tend to have fairly shallow roots. Because this is the highest part of the land, I thought what I might do is keep piling giant rhubarb leaves etc. (any other suggestions for this?) to make a thick soil get thicker and thicker and thicker like that guy did in that video I saw not too long ago (guy sticks in a five foot pole into his earth and makes the pole disappear)... or I could keep dumping more soil from the magic soil faery yard, with the obvious disadvantage of $$$.

Anyone suggest how many dump-truck loads I might need (2-3), and relative cost for that sort of impulsive action?

Thanks again!


 
Casie Becker
gardener
Posts: 1474
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
116
forest garden urban
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I'm going to push my favorite technique again. If you're near a city, contact local tree trimmers about becoming a dump site for ramail wood chips. (basically chipped wood from prunings which has a high ratio of bark tissues and leaves). It's a free source of quality organic matter to add to your soil, makes a good mulch, and encourages fungal growth which will improve the soil it sits on. On top of all that, it's a free resource. Most tree trimmers are short on dump sites that don't charge a dumping free.

I would suggest you use it as an above ground amendment for at least a year (mulch with it, not till it in) unless you intend to supplement with a lot of nitrogen. General knowledge (though there is conflicting evidence) is that tilling wood chips into the soil will tie up the available nitrogen for at least a year.
 
Curtis Mullin
Posts: 27
Location: Massawippi, Quebec, Canada.
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Thanks for the idea!

I will try some version of this, as I am highly against the NOISE POLLUTION generated by those wood-chipper machines, so I rather avoid encouraging these Wild Soundscape MURDERER MACHINES as much as possible while I am alive on our Earth. Having said that, though, this idea of yours at the core is a great one! So thanks for that! Likely what will end up happening is that I will be harvesting dead leaves twigs et. al. from the forrest floor and mix that in a bit each year. My only worry with stealing the whole mixed woods forrest floor carpet covering from our forrest is that... it might render the soil a little too acidic, yeah? So I might not necessarily be all that into balancing it out with bags of limestone powder; or what else might y'all suggest for this? Or might I focus more on dead-healthy wood chips and mulch madness?


Ciao!
 
Casie Becker
gardener
Posts: 1474
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
116
forest garden urban
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I tend to focus on the wood chips because I see a lot of them being taken to landfills. They're there, so better to use them. The big industrial machines used by professional in this area are so efficient that they don't spend much time on.

I also chop and drop all my smaller tree and shrub branches. If I had enough, I think they would work just as well as chips. I would probably have to grow a dedicated hedge just for mulch production. Maybe you have a hedge somewhere that needed regular pruning?
 
Curtis Mullin
Posts: 27
Location: Massawippi, Quebec, Canada.
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Not much for hedges around here (as I live in the sticks), but I will keep looking around!

Much obliged.
 
Curtis Mullin
Posts: 27
Location: Massawippi, Quebec, Canada.
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Anyone else out there in permaland have suggestions for breaking up driveway-type soil?
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