[permaculture] dealing with hard ground

Carrie Shepard outlikeelijah at gbronline.com
Wed Sep 14 17:46:11 EDT 2005

My advice:

Find and make friends with the closest animal rearing people around you, beg
them to muck their barns.  In Carla Emery's words "Learn to worship manure".
Call the city clean-up crews and ask for them to dump any woodchips from
utility clearings.  Ask your friends and neighbors to save their egg shells,
veggie scraps, and coffee grounds and tea bags for you.  Go dumpster diving
for cardboard and newspaper -- ask anyone who is moving if you can have
their old boxes...

Do you have a windbreak or is wind a problem?  You may need to create a
movable wind barrier until you get each area of soil built up and things
growing in it.  Old pallets lashed together or even just one pallet stood up
with a T-Post will help to prevent wind from drying out or blowing away your
soil building ingrediants.  

I've had to make barriers, wind-blocks, buy row covering, salvage wire
fencing, to protect soil building and young plantings until they're well
established.  It looks odd, but it works to keep the critters out of it long
enough for them to finally be able to benefit from it as well.  This year we
had guineas hatch out babies that have lived in our stand of jerusalem
artichokes.  It was wonderful to see this stand of newly planted orchard
barrier provide a safe habitat for the guinea mommas.  There's 16 new keets
alive and about 3 or 4 weeks old now.

Many people ignorantly haul off their leaves every fall and just a simple
drive through your neighborhood can net a lot of valuable leaves to layer on
your soil.  We can usually find all the leaves we want already bagged up and
set on the curbside as soon as they start fallin' off the trees.

I recently heard Carla Emery talk about her garden (her husband says he told
her it couldn't be done because the soil had been abused growing cotton
commercially)  She basically made a compost pile, then planted crops in it
and made a new compost pile until her whole garden was filled in.  She also
advocated for personal garden rabbitries so you just either move the rabbit
coops around or leave them in the center and shovel and scatter their
droppings where and as you need them. 

With a continually renewed mind about soil growing,
Who used to only think about the finished vegetable or fruit, and now I
absolutely love cleaning out my rabbitry and frequently can be overheard
singing 'inch by inch and row by row, gonna make this garden grow'

More information about the permaculture mailing list