Hi everyone, this is my first post! I'm starting a garden in urban Portland, OR for the first time and looking for some permaculturish advice for how to prep my soil. I live at a rental, so who knows how long I'll be there tho I'm looking at hopefully 5+ years. I've taken college classes in propagation, soil science, and mushroom propagation, but this is the first time i've gotten to design and start a garden of my own from scratch. I'm also newish to the PNW and not too familiar with this climate & soil situation.
The current soil:
The yard (~1400 sqft) was used as a playground for a daycare for 10 years, which currently shutting down. Every year the operator has had a load of chips from chip drop dumped on the yard, and at some point he had "nontoxic playground sand" dumped, not sure what that is exactly, possibly feldspar. The ground is pretty compacted from kids running around, with almost nothing growing on it except some low non-grass weeds on the lesser trod areas, and from a quick squeeze seems moderately clayey.
I've read Gardening West of the Cascades front to back, and the thread about it on here challenging some of it. I'm worried about the symphlan thing, wondering if anyone has experience with that being a problem after 3+ years, or has avoided it somehow. Solomon's soil amendment recommendations are kind of intense but seem justified, esp given the regional deficiencies in relation to common garden veggies. I don't have a huge budget but i'm willing to pay for Complete Organic FertilizerTM if it's necessary (learning "good&fast" in the "good, fast and/or cheap" formula). Trying to execute a plan by late october to get the soil ready for planting an annual veggie garden in spring. Not planning on putting in many perennials since its a rental.
-from a permaculture perspective, what kind of testing if any should I do? Shake test, NPK, other, none?
-Are wood chips in portland generally softwood? And if so, are there mushrooms that are easy to grow in softwood/conifer chips to help break them down into soil?
-What kind of bed prep would you do starting in fall to be ready for spring annual veggie planting? I don't mind bringing in outside materials, but obv less effort is better. The ideas I have thus far are:
-Chip dump in fall+mushroom inoculation, then direct planting
-horse manure dump in fall, compost until spring & apply
-rototilling to 1' w/ solomon's recommended amount of COF, plant w/ fava beans to overwinter & till in in spring
-We're hopefully going to bring in some chickens in the spring, for some local fertilizer, and I'm also wondering how people have used/prepared their chicken poo for use in the garden.
-My fav vegs happen to be corn, beans, and squash. Has anyone had success with 3 sisters gardening here? It seems a little dark/damp, but a guy can dream....
Looking mainly for ideas from folks local to the PNW, preferably who've gardened in a spot longer than 4 years. If yr not but have some thoughts, please just let me know if it's coming from experience or speculation (not that the latter isn't useful, I just wanna know). Or, if there's a good PNW specific thread on this, sry if i haven't found it!
Thanks in advance! Also let me know if there's other details that would help in getting better advice