[permaculture] Heap Composting versus Field Composting

Tommy Tolson healinghawk at earthlink.net
Mon Jun 25 19:51:41 EDT 2007

Dieter Brand wrote:

>   Some of the above may to open to debate. In particular,
>   point 3. above probably depends very much on the climatic
>   conditions. Under wet conditions a mulching layer will
>   disintegrate quickly into the soil, while during dry conditions
>   it is far more difficult to know how much of the plant residues 
>   return to the soil and how much will volatize into the air.
>   Does anybody have information to clarify this last point?

In the early observation phase, I journeyed to the soul of the land I 
worked in Santa Rosa, California and asked what it needed now.  I got, 
"Clean me up and keep me covered." The land had a lot of trash on it 
that we cleared off.  It's not ever okay to leave land bare. I knew 
about mulching with straw, so we did that while we remodeled a 1943 
redwood-framed farm cottage.  Later, after the earthworks was done too 
early and too hastily, a type-one error that never got right, we did a 
lot of sheet mulching, amending adobe soil with calcium (bagged shell 
flour) to break it up, running plastic timed drip irrigation lines 
beneath the cardboard.  In August, while the adobe was like concrete 
everywhere else, I could peel back the cardboard and bury my arms up to 
the elbows in the berms where sheet mulching worked best, after only one 
application. I was at work on the guilds as my marriage (to a woman who 
refused to take the design class) collapsed.  This was wine country, 
Mediterranean climate, nine months dry, three months wet.  We irrigated 
with potable well water because it's what we had.

Tommy Tolson
Austin, TX

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