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View Diary: Introduction to Ecological Gardening pt. V: Basic Garden Ecology- Polycultures (39 comments)

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  •  Thats the exact reason sand is tough, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ice Blue

    it "eats" organic matter at such a higher rate than other soils. While adding layers each year works, the sites don't hold that fertility for long, making more work for us.

    But it can be done :) Especially if you go the route we are talking about here, knowing your soil and what crops will grow.

    Thanks for reading!

    •  Getting ready to amend the sand (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FinchJ

      This year, instead of tilling numerous sacks of chicken manure and my own compost in, I am going to till  first (to break up the deeply rooted native weeds) then spread compost and manure on top and rake it smooth.

      Fingers crossed.

      The problem with sand, for those who wish they had sand instead of that difficult clay, is that all nutrients wash into the groundwater every winter.

      •  With sandy soil, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FinchJ

        it is best not to till at all but go for a sheet composting method that allows for the formation of fungi and beneficial microbes. These help hold nutrients and water in the soil.

        Large areas can be prepared in this way- as barking cat said upthread- plant right thru the mulch and add more mulch every year.
        This produces the most amazingly healthy and alive soil, regardless if you start with pure sand or clay....not the first year but you will see some amazing changes by year 2 and beyond.

        By the end of four years, i had converted an acre into sheet composted garden- would have been much faster with more available leaves.This method eliminates 90% of any weeding, holds in water better- using soaker hoses under the mulch gives you optimal use of water- and allows for longer growing season by protecting from light frosts.

        Just try a small patch, you will be a convert.

        •  I will look up sheet composting (0+ / 0-)

          Any suggestions for reference works on this topic?

          •  Look up Lasagna Gardening (0+ / 0-)

            for a book on the subject, but it is really just applying any good compostable 'brown' material- leaves, straw- with alternating layers of nitrogen source- manure, fresh grass clippings - and some household garbage- fruit and veggie peels, no meat or fats.

            You want to shoot for around a 12" deep sheet- do this thru the summer and the fall, top off with a layer of leaves and pine needles, let it mellow thru the winter and then plant your baby plantlets down thru the mulch- do not till, but pull mulch back an inch from your plants.

            Stand back and watch your garden shoot for the stratosphere.

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