building soil

I took another class at Oregon Tilth – the focus of this class was soil building techniques. I was feeling so inspired after the last one, and this got me motivated as well.

Today I tore up the back yard beds against the house. I took out all the bark and the wood edging. Brought in six cubic feet on garden compost and turned it into the hard, hard (did I say hard!) soil. It’s looking pretty good now – I got sidelined by the first downpour of the season. It is suddenly fall!

Cover Crops
I am plating Crimson Clover (a Legume) as a cover crop on the bad beds for winter. This will help to fix nitrogen and improve the soil when I turn it right into the soil in spring.

Cover crops can be divided into two groups: legumes and nonlegumes . Legumes have the ability to “fix” nitrogen and can provide a portion of the nitrogen requirement for a subsequent crop.

Common cover crops: Alfalfa, Barley, Buckwheat, Crimson clover, Fava beans, Oats, Rye (annual), Vetch (hairy), Wheat (winter).

Lasagna Gardening
This is a really cool technique where you pile different “browns” (carbons) and “greens” (nitrogens) over a bed to build up soil.

You can use the following ingredients you outdoor lasagna:
Grass Clippings, Leaves, Fruit and Vegetable Scraps, Coffee Grounds, Tea leaves and tea bags, Weeds (if they haven’t gone to seed), Manure, Compost, Seaweed, Shredded newspaper or junk mail, Pine needles, Spent blooms, trimmings from the garden, Peat moss

First layer – newspaper or cardboard
Second layer – peat moss
Third layer – organic material
Continue alternating peat moss and organic material, then add water until consistency is like a damp sponge. Cover with burlap bags.

Compost Layering
This is really similar to the Lasagna technique, except you stir everything up as you go.

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  1. ... says:

    Just randomly ran across your blog and enjoyed browsing through it. Cheers.

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