29 March 2016

Permaculture - inspired landscape design: dirt

Today things finally had thawed enough to get the skidsteer going. 

The giant windrow of composted barnyard stuff is somewhat mixed... There are bits that are just slimy hay, bits that are gorgeous compost, and bits that are what amounts to quack grass sod. 

This means that what you end up with is kinda lumpy. 

However, I managed without breaking anything - not even a fence post. (This is actually quite an accomplishment for me, the skidsteer is persnickety and I'm far from an expert.)

Once I had lots of piles of dirt in place, I got the rake and started moving it around. Big chunks got tossed over by the chicken coop fence, where I hope to grow some squash and sunflowers so the lumpiness won't matter. Lots of the partially decomposed stuff went by the retaining wall, where there will be lots of things planted that will appreciate it and help it break down the rest of the way. 
The smoothest stuff went in the barrel around the well head - it'll get planted with flowers so it looks like a container, and as a side benefit, the well head itself is much more protected. 

It was a lot of work but I'm very pleased. 

Yes, I let the chickens out to scratch in the fresh dirt. They seemed appreciative. 

There's more raking to be done, but what's there needs to settle and thaw the rest of the way. I have another big pile to spread out, and more loads to bring out to other low spots around the house, but that was a good day's work. 

Oh - I scraped off a bit of "sod" and took a picture of what our soil looks like :

Clay. Just... Clay. 

This is why I'm not a vegetarian anymore - there's no way our particular patch of land could grow much beyond pasture grasses... But it grows those well. And then the animals turn the quack grass into this stuff:

Which grows lots of things. :)

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