Friday, February 17, 2012

Soil Rehab

I've started a roadside "pottager" out the front of our house, but most of the plants have really struggled due to the poor soil. It consists of: weedy grasses (chiefly kikiyu), over poor dusty soil with some builder's sand and gravel in it, over hard packed in quartz stones (up to fist sized), over dense black clay. Fair enough, for the last 150+ years it has been a road so I couldn't really expect fertile loam, but it is worse than I'd realised. We've got a typical goldrush era wide road, would have originally been dirt with gravel topping. The main town roads were made wide enough that a bullock cart would have enough space to turn around. Now it's 2 lanes width of bitumen down the middle with weedy dirt verges on either side deep enough to angle park a car with a bit over a metre to spare- so my garden bed is about 1m wide. That way when the town fills up on Booktown weekend there's still adequate parking space.  

I'm sifting the soil with the setup pictured- shovel the soil into the sieve and rock the pot around until it falls through. Any clods need to be broken up by hand. I'll be refilling the hole it came from with assorted organic matter and compost layered in with the sifted soil as per "no dig garden" recommendations (although this garden is anything but ;/). I've always planted such gardens immediately on completion and haven't had any drastic problems with either settling or nitrogen draw down.

The gravel and rocks are being put to good use elsewhere making paths and building up our gravel driveway. Big chunky ones down the bottom topped off with the smaller stuff. The garden bed next to our path is one I'm preparing for my 7 y.o. daughter. She says the santa statuette is her garden gnome. :) As good a use as any for it I guess. 

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