When we get a goodly stack, table and surrounding floor is covered, we set about moving them where they are needed. These areas right now, is the vegetable garden for stubborn weedy patches and the orchard. It's a slow process building soil this way, but we're in it for the long haul. Doing something the right way always takes time, but the end results are worth it.
I'm waiting on the rains next week to thoroughly soak the cardboard in place. Then, I'll cover it all
Building soil this way, on such a large piece of land isn't easy. It's time consuming and often back aching labor. It would be easier and more expensive hauling in three dump trucks worth of top soil and compost in. But there is no telling what is in those truck loads. From experience, I've found "compost" less than half composted material (branches and too green stuff mixed in). Fill dirt and top soil is often riddled with weed seeds just waiting for the opportunity to sprout. I want to reduce my labor not increase it.
Last year, we did a "back to Eden" layering with shredded trees and branches waste with a combination of cardboard and straw for the orchard. We had an abundance of tree "trash" after hurricane Irma blew through. This year, not so much. Thus, the lasagna gardening technique. Sometimes, one method just isn't doable because of the expense. I mean nothing beats free with a minimum of labor afterwards, right?
This was a major expense on my fixed income. Anything over $500 a month is what I consider a major expense. Still, I'm thankful that I have that amount of sort of dispensable income being on just Social Security and my retirement check. I owe of this all to my beloved's careful financial planning. God give him rest. With Mel full time on the homestead and not working outside the homestead, it's a blessing to be sure.
|Cockeyed Homestead layout design|
I had thought to plant my berries and grapes on the top tier of our orchard but changed my mind and planted them on the second tier from the top. The berries and grapes are easy enough to tend to on the second tier. The berries and grapes enjoy full sun on the second tier and protected from strong winds that can sweep through the hollow. Once the fruit trees mature and grow in size, the berries and grapes will have even more protection, but still have plenty of full sun because of the terraced hillside.
|Example of our elevated pallet raised beds|
Did I mention that these beds do double duty? In the space below the beds we stuff with large, perforated, black trash bags filled with moist leaves. These leaves will compost and form mold that increases the biodiversity. Ants and worms will work to break down the leaves over time. This way the space these beds take up do double duty. To make removal of these bags easier, we tie long pieces of baling twine around the top of these bags with the other end wrapped around a nail on the outside of the raised bed. The baling twine is recycled from the bales of straw and hay we purchased during the years.
We'll even reuse the bags too until they are too torn up to use again for leafing. Then, they will be cut into 3" strips and braided them to form weed deterrent mats under the fruit trees. The braiding will allow water to seep into the ground and it makes them stronger. They'll have many more years of reuse to them. I even reuse baling twine to make these. As the trees grow they will need bigger mats so nothing goes to waste. I'll even leave rows gap stitched together so I can plant garlic in the gaps. Garlic keeps moths and other pests away from fruit trees. On average, every five rows of braids gets a gap row for garlic, onions, or leeks. So once again, this shows multiple reuses/repurposing of items that usually end up in landfills. It doesn't have to be pretty. It just has to work. Nothing goes to waste on our homestead until it is definitely unusable again.
Y'all have a blessed day.