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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old June 11, 2015   #1
HydroExplorer
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Default Cardboard to amend red clay soil

Last year I laid down a few layers of cardboard to choke out a serious infestation of Canada Thistle.

This year I dug into the beds and was surprised to discover that my soil is now rich a lot deeper than it was last year. Also, there are a ton of earthworms.

All I did was put out several overlapping layers of cardboard and cover them over with wood chips. This year I added some leaf compost to the soil and now it is growing plants really well.

Anyway, I just wanted to pass on that tip for anyone who has red clay to amend.
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Old June 11, 2015   #2
Tracydr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HydroExplorer View Post
Last year I laid down a few layers of cardboard to choke out a serious infestation of Canada Thistle.

This year I dug into the beds and was surprised to discover that my soil is now rich a lot deeper than it was last year. Also, there are a ton of earthworms.

All I did was put out several overlapping layers of cardboard and cover them over with wood chips. This year I added some leaf compost to the soil and now it is growing plants really well.

Anyway, I just wanted to pass on that tip for anyone who has red clay to amend.
I did that in AZ and noticed the same thing. Even better in the places I added some work castings to.
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Old June 11, 2015   #3
Tracydr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HydroExplorer View Post
Last year I laid down a few layers of cardboard to choke out a serious infestation of Canada Thistle.

This year I dug into the beds and was surprised to discover that my soil is now rich a lot deeper than it was last year. Also, there are a ton of earthworms.

All I did was put out several overlapping layers of cardboard and cover them over with wood chips. This year I added some leaf compost to the soil and now it is growing plants really well.

Anyway, I just wanted to pass on that tip for anyone who has red clay to amend.
I did that in AZ and noticed the same thing. Even better in the places I added some work castings to.
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Old June 11, 2015   #4
Redbaron
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You have independently discovered the #2 key to building soil health:

2) Armor on the soil

The full list is:
1) Least amount of mechanical disturbance possible (no till)

2) Armor on the soil (either living plants and/or mulches, no bare soil ever)

3) Diversity (both plant and animal biodiversity)

4) Living root in the ground as long as possible (to provide habitat for beneficial soil microbiology)

5) Animal impact (but rotated so there is neither over grazing nor undergrazing)
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Scott

AKA The Redbaron

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system."
Bill Mollison
co-founder of permaculture
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