Jason Mendes wrote:Aloha! I have for the past three years been living in the tropics and making gardens and planting where soil is open or simply clearing away what's growing.. But now i am residing in the suburbs of Mesa, Arizona, where the backyard is all gravel.. I've done a couple of raised beds by pulling away the gravel and making a border with wood boards, but i am brainstorming ways to simply plant right on the gravel.. I do notice that many 'weeds' grow easily in the gravel. The ideas i have so far would be.. Layering cardboard and organic matter like grass clippings and kitchen compost, then possibly other soil/compost brought in. As i am writing this, i am thinking that raising the level of the soil could be a problem close to the actual house, because there is a foundation layer of cement, then up a few inches, stucco. So, has anyone done anything like this? Any ideas?
i get more rain then dragonfly and the OP. Its 8-12 inches here. its a colder region also.
i have a nearly unworkable soil though. You need a pickaxe or maddock. Its a powdery heavy clay.
I must say working organic matter into my soil is nearly worthless.
tilling is meaningless. It recompacts itself. Ive tilled in 6 inches of manure twice a year for a few years. You can barely tell i did a thing.
heres something interesting though, and Ive been playing with this to great benefit. I now put down a layer of compost, then leaves or straw. after a season the soil underneath is workable. more workable then areas I mixed in a total of 30-36 inches of manure into 8 inches deep!!!
it seems to me to be related to microbial life. they cant thrive in manure mixed into my soil. Its actually volcanic soil so its actually full of good stuff though a bit alkaline. in layers though, like youd find on a forest floor, the microbial life makes its way into the soil. That or associated acids that such things release.
for actual beds I think Im going to re do them as hugelkultur this year(and biochar as im able). I think the action with all that decaying wood will be extremely beneficial.
Ludi Ludi wrote:
Personally I think raised beds are not a good idea in a dry climate. I think reconfiguring the area with basins to capture rainwater is a better idea.
Don't put a raised rim around a basin except on the downhill side. You want rainwater to go into the basin, not around it.
I can't express how important I think this information is for us in dry climates!