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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 May 17, 2018   #16
Harry Cabluck
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Good luck with your project.
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Old May 17, 2018   #17
FourOaks
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Be careful with dwarf trees. They have shallow roots and fall over. Might be good to put them up with guy wires.

Nan

Oh yes, its not my first rodeo. At my previous home I had Dwarfs that I fought with. Now that I am VERY familiar with how they like to flop over, Im planning ahead. I just happen to have a pile of t-posts that are not being used for anything. I have every intention taking care of that problem early on.

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Good luck with your project.

Thank you. Its certainly not an overnight project. Im really trying to think everything out. I want highly productive, but easy to maintain, long term. I need to produce enough to sell at my Farmers Market, as that is my income, but also enough for 3 people to eat.


I have already come a long way. Thats for sure.
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Old May 18, 2018   #18
FourOaks
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Another day, more Leaf Mulch.


I decided to go this morning for more Leaf Mulch. Im now about 2/3 the way. Hoping that 2 more loads gets it covered. It will be Monday before I can head back to get more.


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Old May 20, 2018   #19
SteveP
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That is really looking good! I look forward to seeing it planted and producing.
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Old May 20, 2018   #20
FourOaks
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That is really looking good! I look forward to seeing it planted and producing.

Me too my friend, me too.


My plan is slowly evolving. I didnt plan to at first, but now Im planning to till the leaf mulch in, plant it out, then mulch on top. Or something like that.


I am hoping it will be the final tilling, ever. I plan to put Organic Fert. (Espoma Plant Tone) in each hole. Otherwise, mulch on top.

Last edited by FourOaks; May 20, 2018 at 05:22 PM.
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Old May 21, 2018   #21
FourOaks
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Another day.... but the final load of Leaf Mulch!!!


Thankfully, im finally done with the Leaf Mulch phase of the project. I went this morning to my "go to" place and had them pile some extra in. Looking at my scale house receipts, on average I have been bringing back around 3/4 of a ton. This time around, 1.2 tons.





The next step, hotly debated. Till the amendment in, or leave right on top. I thought hard about that. Both having pros and cons. I have decided that Im going to till it in. Essentially, im in a hurry. I dont think that tilling in will cause the end of the world. Directly after tilling, the plants will go in, along with Organic Fertilizer. This year I have had some good luck with Espoma Plant Tone, so Im going to stick with that. I can get the 25 pound bags from a local source.


Tomorrow morning I will be off to the Compost Facility to get Wood Mulch.


And oh yes, I made a new friend.





On one of my trips back and forth I found this little fella. I want to encourage more of this. Im really wanting to go full circle with a Perma Culture attitude. I want to invite turtles, birds, bugs (yes good and a small quantity of not-so-good).. and other critters that encourage a well defined eco-system. Believe me, I didnt start out that way. I wanted to have each square inch under cultivation, to maximize my investment. Now I feel differently. That, that attitude, is what has caused so many problems in the ag. world.
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Old May 21, 2018   #22
Old School
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Looks like a Box turtle. Nice job so far. Must feel good to have the leaf mulch down finally. That is a big stretch of land. Lotta plants will grow in that area
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Old May 21, 2018   #23
FourOaks
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Looks like a Box turtle. Nice job so far. Must feel good to have the leaf mulch down finally. That is a big stretch of land. Lotta plants will grow in that area
We have over 4 acres here. Our property is rectangular. 1000 feet long.


The new garden plot could be enlarged, by doing some stump grinding, or, simply utilizing another spot. Honestly, the latter is the direction I am going. I want to create "Agriculture Pockets", for lack of a better term. Being that I am a Market Farmer, it goes completely against convention.
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Old May 21, 2018   #24
imp
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I agree with Nan, lucky you re leaf mulch and the wood mulch too!! Good work on that garden. I'd be tempted to get even more of the leaf stuff, LOL, because it just is so lovely!


Talk about worms, they'll be moving in fast. They LOVE leaf litter.



Good work and hope to see more pictures as you bring it along.
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Old May 22, 2018   #25
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There's a lot of satisfaction in seeing a project phase with a check mark next to it. Good job!
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Old May 22, 2018   #26
FourOaks
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I agree with Nan, lucky you re leaf mulch and the wood mulch too!! Good work on that garden. I'd be tempted to get even more of the leaf stuff, LOL, because it just is so lovely!


Talk about worms, they'll be moving in fast. They LOVE leaf litter.



Good work and hope to see more pictures as you bring it along.
Little bit later on in the season ill be getting more. I plan to just dump it in a spot close to one of the greenhouses, over in the wood line. It will just set there the rest of Summer into next Spring. Ill use it for potting soil for all my plants. Dont know about shrinkage, but im guessing 3 loads should be enough for all my Spring needs. Plus, I can back my truck right up to that spot. No hauling it around.


If you think about that for a moment, its a huge cost savings. In the Nursery Business, soil is a large factor of the price. Im getting it for free! This works out as next year I want to use some larger pots for some of my flowers. This helps with keeping my prices in check, at the Market. I would rather lower my production cost, then try to justify a price increase.


Dont worry, there will be plenty more pictures. Hopefully this will eventually answer questions that I read all over the internet about "Back To Eden" style gardening. Some folks are dead set that the wood chips must be "Ramial Tree Service Chips". I have seen first hand in my front flower beds that regular wood mulch, real wood mulch, does indeed compost and disappear into the soil. I dont have photographic proof. This thread will hopefully detail that. With LOTS of photos of the process.


As titled, it is a long term project.

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There's a lot of satisfaction in seeing a project phase with a check mark next to it. Good job!

You aint kid'n. I was getting tired of the Leaf Mulch phase.
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Old May 22, 2018   #27
imp
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I don't know about your leaf litter, but mine shrunk tremendously over time as it became black lovely soil type stuff. My shrinkage was over 75%, YMMV.
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Old May 22, 2018   #28
FourOaks
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I don't know about your leaf litter, but mine shrunk tremendously over time as it became black lovely soil type stuff. My shrinkage was over 75%, YMMV.

Holy cow at 75%. Hmmmm... well I get it for free, so I can just keep going back for more. None the less, thats my plan for next years Plant Sales. No matter how much I have to get, its free.

Alrighty.. so I finally got to move onto the next phase of the project today. Mulch!





Thats what $20 will get ya. Well, they will pile it as high as you want, but the weight does start adding up. I think this came in at .87 tons.





A close up. All sorts of sizes in there. I have watched the process while waiting. They use a large tub grinder, and dump in the trees, they grind up, spit out onto a conveyor belt system, and into a pile.





Not able to get a decent photo because of the sun. I did get 42 Tomatoes planted. Its a random assortment of Prudens Purple, Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, and a generic Red Brandywine.


This took far longer then I anticipated. I never could find a good flow of operation until the very end...


1. Dig hole
2. Drop in 1/4 cup Espoma Plant Tone
3. Drop in plant
4. Back fill while stirring together leaf mulch and clay soil
5. Mulch


Wasnt until the last 5 plants that it occured to me to dig all the holes at once, then fertilize all at once, drop in all at once, etc. And, if you recall, yesterday or so I mentioned about tilling in the Leaf Mulch. Well, that didnt happen. The tiller would not fire up. Nada. Dead. I took it as a sign that it wasnt meant to be. I grabbed the shovel and started digging. Some holes dug really easily. Other holes were a little tougher. Hopefully in the coming years the soil will soften up to the point that it can just be dug by hand.


Tonight after dinner I plan to pound some t-posts in the ground, and run 20 pound clear fishing line. Hopefully this will spook the deer population. Each morning I have noticed fresh paw prints in the mulch.


Tomorrows plan is to spread the rest of the mulch, plants Ky Wonder pole beans, Marketmore Cukes, and some Mini Pumpkins.
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Old May 22, 2018   #29
Nan_PA_6b
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The Law of Leaves states that no matter how thick a layer of leaves you start with, in the end it's not enough.


Nan
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Old May 22, 2018   #30
FourOaks
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The Law of Leaves states that no matter how thick a layer of leaves you start with, in the end it's not enough.


Nan
Possibly.
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