Godless in the garden


Godless in the garden

Discussing all aspect of gardening.

Location: Planet Earth
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Latest Activity: Feb 19

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Comment by Randall Smith on January 23, 2015 at 8:22am

I'm still wondering why my avocado won't sprout. I'll google it. My radishes ARE sprouting, however!

Comment by Joan Denoo on January 23, 2015 at 3:36am

Growing Food With Zero Heating In Massachusetts' Winter

This man is growing watercress and figs in Massachusetts even as the winter gets -7degrees F without heat in a hoop house using solar powered aquaponics and insulation. He thinks climate change is real and he may be growing avocados and citrus fruit. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on January 23, 2015 at 12:17am

I forgot to send the video. 

7 Food Forests in 7 Minutes with Geoff Lawton

Comment by Joan Denoo on January 23, 2015 at 12:15am

Barbara, in this video, Geoff demonstrates how to create a food forest. He starts with a hugelculure, planted with legumes first and then he goes through each year of what needs to happen. I think his last year is the seventh. 

By building on top of the clay, and starting with things that will create healthy soil and organisms, going through different phases and when he is done his hugelculture is not only rich soil, but the clay below it is transformed into good growing soil. 

I don't see any of his many demonstrations as applying to clay soils, he does specify how to build a desert degraded by over cultivating and goats eating the wrong things at the wrong times and damaging the soil. 

I have had experience with rabbits. I had a portable fence that I moved around my garden and they did a beautiful job of mowing the grass and fertilizing as they went. I put them in hutches at night. We had a problem with dogs jumping our fence and digging under it. They killed one of my rabbits. I had to keep an eye on what was happening in the garden, but at that time, I was a stay at home mom and it didn't matter. They are wonderful for so many reasons. They can be house trained as well. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on January 22, 2015 at 11:36pm

Kathy, were you ever able to get the clay into good growing soil? I know it takes breaking the clay up, manually, and adding lots of leaves or compost. I like the idea of permaculture of laying down cardboard, then a huge pile of leaves on top. Leave it for a year, and then till it. 

I've never done it that way, but it makes sense. If we can get the earthworms working, they do the job of penetrating the clay and breaking it up. It takes longer, but it makes sense. Especially if one plans to live on the site for many years. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on January 22, 2015 at 11:32pm

Back to the subject ... you need a hole that drains; I don't know how fast it should drain and the extension agent should be able to tell you. 

I am so inspired by your ambition and ideas. It is as though you open a new door and find it inviting to go through and see what you can experience. Thank you for sharing this will us.!!

I Googled "how to plant a tree in clay" This is what I got 

Hardpan gardening.

"I made the mistake of planting fruit trees in "bowls" that held water, when we move here. Lost every one of them within a year or two. Now, when I plant a tree or perennial shrub I loosen the soil over an area much larger than the "normal" recommendation for the planting hole. Then shovel out the loosened soil. Use a tiller to break up that bowl wall so it's not just like a slick bowl. The wider tilled area gives more space for the young roots to more easily penetrate, especially with trees that don't have a long tap root. For many mature trees, the majority of the roots are in the first foot of soil, with the feeder roots much closer to the surface. 

"I'd also like to recommend that you check with your county extension service forestry service, and state university. Often they have the best advice for soil conditions in your area. Your soil may need an amendment that wouldn't apply in my area, for example. And, be sure to get a soil test. Depending on your area, it's likely that you'll need to add lime."


Comment by Joan Denoo on January 22, 2015 at 11:17pm

Barbara, loosening the clay around the hole won't help if the water cannot drain away. You would be making a larger bucket. You need a hole in the bucket. Remember that song by ??? "There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza; there's a hole in the bucket dear Liza. Well fix it Henry, dear Henry fix, fix it. .....I can't remember his name!

Comment by Barbara Livingston on January 22, 2015 at 10:59pm

Entertaining? :)  Love it!  You are so right about beautiful fluffy dirt in one spot and 6' away this nasty clay. I'm going to plant my plum tree .. how remains a mystery tonight. Tomorrow is another day!

Comment by kathy: ky on January 22, 2015 at 10:52pm
I've planted in the same condition. On to go back two years later and dig it out. The tree that I put in was still alive but it had never broken by the original clay. There was simply no place for it to go. The soil within this two acres ranges from the worst clay one can image to the richest, most organic that can be found. It's always entertaining.
Comment by Barbara Livingston on January 22, 2015 at 10:32pm

Bucket effect - that's when excavating the hole for the tree in heavy soils such as clay you compact it and the roots can't grow through it. At least that's the way I understand it. I created a 'bucket' when I dug hole with my shovel. I didn't go back and use my fork and rough up the edges, thus water couldn't drain out of it.  

Good thing I didn't plant the tree, its roots would have grown to diameter of hole and then died. So tomorrow I'm going to take fork and poke holes around edges and bottom and see if it drains. Then according to online 'experts' I get to choose what I think is best - no amendments, or 2 to 3 shovels of compost mixed with original soil. This gardening stuff boggles my mind every so often. :)  Thanks Joan for offering a hand, appreciate it.  Before I do anything I'll take your advice and call the ag extension office and see what they say. Can never have to much info and I want my tree to live. 


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