[permaculture] arid soil building

lbsaltzman at aol.com lbsaltzman at aol.com
Thu Dec 3 17:34:06 EST 2009

We live in a more Southern Mediterranean climate and have even less rain, though the pattern is similar. We are working a much smaller property than you have, and it has taken years to build up the soil.  It is deep clay subsoil. The top soil had been depleted by bad orchard management back in the 1930s and 40s before the area had been sub-divided.  We still have patches that are only suitable for perennials. Annuals just don't thrive in the heavy clay.

I swear that there should be an association of Mediterranean climate farmers and gardeners. We are a forgotten minority. I find few books that address our needs in general gardening or farming books.  So much more is geared to temperate zone climates.


-----Original Message-----
From: Rain Tenaqiya <raincascadia at yahoo.com>
To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Thu, Dec 3, 2009 1:21 pm
Subject: [permaculture] arid soil building

We live in a classic Mediterranean climate, with about 35 inches of rain that 
omes in intense bursts that usually start from the middle of October and start 
etering out in April.  I feel there must be a lot of knowledge about this 
limate given its long history in Europe.

 have started to compost in pits because it takes so long above ground.  I have 
ven used tarps, as was recommended.  They help, but I really need to irrigate 
he piles to see reasonable results.  We have all sorts of fungi from the forest 
earby, so I don't think inoculants are necessary.

art of my problem could be that aside from the first year, when we had record 
loods, we have been in a drought.  Maybe this is the new normal, however.

e collect and use all of our humunure and urine, and I bring in a ton of leaves 
nd straw from around our site.  I also have several long-term wood compost 
iles.  I finally broke down and got some rock dust, zinc sulfate, and gypsum, 
or specific areas.  I've also brought in forest soil from nearby for the main 
ood forest and kitchen garden, which also got a layer of horse manure from a 
eighbor.  I'm thinking about spraying seeweed on trees that are doing the 
orse.  In general, however, I really want to minimize off-site inputs.

s far as biochar goes, the soil actually has a fair amount of charcoal from 
ast fires.  I couldn't justify putting all that carbon in the air by burning 
ll the wood around our site.  If I wait long enough, a wildfire might do it for 
e, however.  Hmm, interesting.


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