kim murphy

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since Aug 01, 2015
Previous Dr. Acupuncture, IT Entrepreneur
Saint Raymond, QC
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Recent posts by kim murphy

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Lucky you!!! If I had my choice of garden soil, I'd choose clay every time instead of sand. Clay holds onto nutrients and water making it a joy for agriculture as long as it isn't worked when it's too wet. What are you worried about destroying? Everything? The clay particles will still be there, the sand particles will still be there... Lots of organic matter will still be there... Roots go down 10 feet, 30 feet, etc... Anything you do is only a scratch on the surface. You can't remove all life from the soil regardless of what methods you apply. And even if you did, it would quickly be reseeded with microbes from the air, and from bird droppings, and from deep within the soil where your treatments don't reach. Insects, molds, fungi, bacteria, and animals are abundant in your area and will quickly colonize everything you touch, regardless of whether your touch is good or bad.

55 acres eh? What do the tops of the rhizomous plants look like? Are they something that could be shaded out by corn? Or squash? If not, I suppose that means either leaving it basically like it is, or using heavy equipment. Tilling rhizomes turns one big plant into twenty small plants. A strategy I've used successfully with some types of rhizomous plants is to till, and then wait till the plants are just starting to re-emerge and till again, wait and repeat, until the roots run out of energy. It doesn't work easily with every rhizomous species, but it works with many, and it's an excellent way to deplete the soil's seed bank. I guess that I'll catch flack for suggesting tilling, but it's a practice that has survived 10,000 years, I suppose because it works so well. And any cultivation you do is just a scratch on the surface regardless of how deep you go.

Sounds like you need heavier equipment... A 6 foot tiller attached to a 55 HP tractor will chop up corn plants, small trees and roots, any type of fibrous rhizomes.

Pigs love eating rhizomes... Perhaps run a sub-soiler through a field and then pasture pigs on it to dig up and eat the rhizomes.


Wow, breath of fresh air! You inspired me right off the bat, thanks for that...

Only thing is, is that it's not CLAY!!!

It's a sand bed, use to be a river bed, and is sand, sand, sand. The land that is, the land I described and hope to market garden and polyculture. But, those folks, the previous land holders, brought clay from a cliff about 500ft away and across a 100ft, rapid river.

Oh, I should also mention that certain portions along our side of the river is inhabited by raspberries, and lots of them (not productive though). Flanking them are conifers (pine and spruce) which is making progress to move and fill in the gaps. But can't really because the soil is so complex here. Acid and Alkaline loving and linking is really quite a treat here. Well, at least from an observational point of view. As another example I have maple (syrup trees - two types of maple and birch). It's quite an interesting piece of earth.

So, back to the question. Rhizomes. Would you mind sending me a pict or link to a 6' tiller, and a sub-soiler? Yep, wrapping my mind around the totality of it.

Bums up, for you! I'm mean thumbs...

ps: think i'll add a bit more to the local bio so that you don't have to guess what i do or not know

5 years ago

Mike Feddersen wrote:I don't envy your situation but maybe if you want to try a few things you can grow your land in stages. I was thinking that maybe composting big swaths of the stuff could be accomplished in pile of the stuff scraped from the ground, then spread out after the heat has destroyed the stuff.

Also if you plastic mulched in rows or areas with raised beds.

I found this Mother Earth on Weeds

Preface: I don't seem to get how to reply yet...can't find a "reply" icon.

Yep, you're right!

In stages, mulch, raised beds.

Thank you!
5 years ago
HI All,

Thank you kindly for any and all input you can offer to assist me with my dilemma!

The property: 55 acres, 15 will be food forest (poly-culture orchard) and market gardens. The balance will remain an intact forest and managed sustainably. We don't even know if we wish to log any of it for our own purposes, besides pulling out felled trees for mushroom production and wood chips. The property is sloped towards a flat that is surrounded by approximately 1km of river - its a valley with a south facing mountain just north west of us. The flat was/is sand. But, about 40 years ago the family that owned this property (for 5 generations) brought clay and mixed it with the sand - manually. At that time they cultivated it for about 10 years then allowed it to go fallow. That was 30 years ago. Since then of course nature has been reestablishing itself, but Nature's choices have turned out to be a nightmare with regard to not destroying soil structure.

How do I remove those rhizomes without destroying everything? And they, the rhizome plants are at 3 separate layers: surface (quack (couch) grass), a mass about 4"s in depth, then another between 2"s to 6"s, and then another which has 1-2" diameter roots from 6-12"s in depth. Below that it's all sand. So, we only have a foot of good soil, all matted with the rhizomes.

This is what we've tried, and the results that followed. As as a preface I didn't want to till, I had hoped to double dig. Have you ever attempted to double dig a mat of rhizomes 1' deep? You can't, it's an impossible task. That's where I'm hoping you can tell me I'm wrong...there are methods I'm just not aware of.

So first we tried this machine that removes sod, it slices the mat at about a 4" depth, that's 4"s of my 12"s...yikes. So we stopped that and thought we'd till a plot and see what happens. That attempt, with only a very minimal 1 pass meted out lumps of unpenetrable lumps and masses. And, yes I attempted to shake the soil from as many lumps as possible, but still not looking good. So, okay, lets just raise the soil, by adding soil. Brought in soil and placed it atop the tilled lumps. Planted away. Almost all of the root vegetables are crooked. If that was my marketing plan, crooked root veggies, I succeeded, but as far as I know there's no market for elbow shaped veggies.

In two other areas I'm trying a couple of other ideas. I read somewhere that if I mow as close as possible to the soil then lay black plastic for 2 years I'll kill all the rhizomes. I don't really want to wait two years. And then what? Will I need to remove the roots? Will I still need to till? Will I kill all of the micro organisms in the process of having covered them for 2 years - won't it be dead by then? In the other area I took to using a foot long screw driver and just stabbed the soil to its depth, lifting and twirling and manually pulling out all of the roots but retained most of the soil. That was a 25' circle which took about 1 week to accomplish. And what was left behind, from the latter attempt, seemed to bring the sand centrifugally to the surface.

Thus far it's not seeming like any of my choices are optimum. Not destroy soil structure, but remove the rhizomes. How the heck can this be accomplished? 2 years covered in plastic, till lightly then add another foot of organic soil? Does that seem like a solution?

Oh yeah, and my hope is that I will eventually follow the practices of Coleman, Fortier and Jeavon's models, so I'm very familiar with all of the tools employed. The walking tractor, etc. But, their methods, nor anything else I've read about organic soil management, address how I'm going to prepare farrow land, they all commence from the assumption that the soil is workable and can be immediately double dug or lightly tilled.


5 years ago