About now, my farmer neighbors REALLY think I am crazy!! I so want this to work, because many are convinced that roto tilling every season &/or nylon to block "weeds" are the best options.... so, here I come along, crazy American lady with my unattractive cardboard & paper mulch, not taking the advice from wonderful old farmer men (being a Man is a big deal in Italy) and creating havoc in an otherwise very beautiful postage stamp plot.
Regarding Your Posts: Thank so very much, but I dove in & tried a bunch of seat of the pants stuff before the advice came in!! I wish I knew how to post pics - I'd show you the silliness I have going on!!
Here's what I've got today:
Leila: That paper/poo mix got spread yesterday before I received your post! Too late to loosen the soil, because it is all covered now, but honestly - that would have been a truly mind blowing amount of hard labor in that clay without a gas or electric tiller. Thank you for reminding me about the manure & greens!!! Important!!! I can plant fava in the Fall? Sorry! I am SO knew to this & from Southern Cal. originally - no snow in L.A.! I have comfrey & bee balm seeds - I am hoping to grow for green mulch & for breaking up the soil down deep. maybe some tea, as well.
Runners? I'd like that, especially for the mint, I think. How do you feel about rooting enzyme?
Mike: Looking into 18 Day Berkeley Method tonight! 18 days from now takes me well into September. I wonder if that is too late. Maybe I can spread a thin layer of potting soil over the paper that is over the compost and seed into that in a week or so? I could try.....
John P: Some of that shredded stuff is white & glossy - too late now, I already mixed it in. Most of it is unshredded brown moving paper just laid on top - not blowing away because it is wet from rain & decomposing into compost already, after less than one day.
John E.: I just got the poo in last Sunday afternoon. I'll watch for mushroom growth - should I just throw in my mushroom salad scraps? I'm guessing that a little of the root system needs to be intact, so not the grocery store, sterile looking shrink wrapped variety, right?
Now I'm worried that all that compost may damage the 80+ year old olive tree in the middle of the yard. Ouch!!!
I didn't want it to die in the sun or fill up with wild grass seed while I'm figuring this thing out, so..... I covered most of it with brown packing paper (unlimited supply, my husband works on an Army base-people moving in all the time) & shredded office paper. It's kind of mooshed into the compost due to the rain every night.
************ I'm currently frightened by the difference between what I thought I was doing & what I am actually in the middle of****************
For the Lawn Area:
Add some sand? From the beach? Is that ok?
Buy some commercial potting soil, spread thinly over the paper (which is over the poop)?
Seed the thyme, chamomile, mint into it? I already have the seeds.... As for oregano, etc,.. I love that Idea. We do get some snow, ice, frost from Winter-ish to May/April-ish. I will see what overwinters well & add it to the mix.
Wait & see what happens?
For the Winter Veggies:
open a few bags of potting soil on top of the cardboard that is on top of the compost?
Seed Kale, etc?
Please don't think I am not into reading/studying etc., I am!! But, with 3 kids in school, in school myself, person with etc., I figured that if I didn't just finally START TRYING, even though the learn as you go plan is full of pitfalls and mishaps, I might not ever get going. The perfect time never seems to come, if I wait for it, if you know what I mean. The language thing has made finding good, cheap resources a little harder & since what I am asking for is out of the norm, people seem to think that they are misunderstanding what I want. For example, Why would I want the tree trimmer to dump his chips in my yard? Most people I talk to seem to think that is just too weird to be true.
Thanks again for your input
PS My cherry tomatoes are getting famous this year! In Italy!! My 2 cherry toms plants are ridiculously prolific and sweeeeet!!! If I can swing that with the rest of this garden, keep giving away delicious fruit & veggies - It will really help us get to know our neighbors, make friends, inspire some sheet mulching & soil cultivation - for home gardeners, at least. Picture me with eyes squeezed shut, fingers, arms, legs crossed, chanting "Please let it grow! Please let it grow! Please Let it grow! Please don't let the Old Olive Tree die because of me! Please!