This leads me to issue #4 which is my hard, dense clay. While I know that clay soil does have some advantageous properties, mine has a habit of changing from a gooey, sticky mess in early spring (can't cultivate) to brick-hard clay in summer heat (almost impossible to grow through it). In fact, I recently posted on another thread started by someone who apparently has clay soil as difficult to work as mine.
Ultimately, my goal is to get a BUNCH of carbon in the soil where it belongs. I did my master's research partly on the history of energy, and this inevitably runs through studies on agriculture. Among my findings was a nifty little side note to energy but a potentially tremendous boon to gardeners (and farmers). A 1% increase in soil carbon (in just about any form) yields upwards of a 25% increase in soil fertility--especially in carbon--poor soils. As I said earlier, I am a tad impatient and I want to find a way to get all that carbon into my soil as best as possible. In my humble opinion, that means turning the carbonaceous material into soil ASAP. This is the reason that I want to add a bunch of nitrogen to the chips ASAP, let bacteria do their thing, and incorporate the final product into the soil sooner rather than later. I am thrilled at the thought of using chicken bedding--nitrogen rich and teaming with micro organisms all ready to do their part.
This is also the reason I am not opposed to using existing 10-10-10. Though I know that 10-10-10 is not a green fertilizer, it is taking up space in my garage and this seems like an ideal way to get rid of it. don't apply it to soil, apply it to carbon where the micro organisms can use it to do their part to turn it to soil. While I know that the 10-10-10 is not exactly green, would it do any harm to the composting wood chips (and hamster bedding which I am getting a nice supply of thanks to my daughter, and paper clippings I have in virtually unlimited supply thanks to my line of work (teacher)? Please note: I am not going out of my way to get the 10-10-10, I am using what I already purchased prior to discovering this site and trying to go down a more permie path.
I do intend to use the soil contact and worm action to help get things going. These are the types of information I glean from using this site and I thank all those who have offered it to me freely. If this sounds like a rant, it was not intended as such. I simply love having the exchange of ideas that I get on this site so thank you very much for both reading and contributing.
I spent the last 18 years working with soil biology to improve rangeland as well as restore native prairies and reforestation all across the state of Texas... The sticky gummy then hard as a rock clay soils I have found result from a calcium magnesium imbalance... Fortunately, that could be mitigated by adding organic matter and increasing soil biology... When you can take a three foot long 3/8 rod and mash it into the ground to the hilt just by leaning on it in black gumbo clay in the middle of August in the Heart of Texas,,, you got to be doing something right.. a well-balanced static compost plus the wood chips integrated into the soil will go a long ways towards improving your clay...