Monday, October 25, 2010

Repair Work

Ever wonder what a patch of land that's had its topsoil stripped and been used as a dumping site for junk and commercial waste looks like after it has had some time to heal?

This space was stripped of its top soil roughly two decades ago, then used as a junkyard until the late 90's. Since then it has been allowed to rest, being not quite abandoned, but far from actively used. The growth you see above has been allowed to grow freely for over a decade. It is still slightly less than barren. Patches where leaves and pinestraw have fallen or been washed into their current location have allowed some new growth, but even that is minimal. It is all hard clay mixed with sand and sun baked to a consistency reminiscent of bricks.

This is where we intend to grow our food.

Sometimes even I think I've lost it when I'm looking at this mess. It is going to take some serious effort to get anything growing here, much less producing enough to feed our family. Despite how daunting it looks, I do have a plan to fix this.

Step 1: The painful part we've been working on.. clearing off the junk and debris. We've been at this for months now. There is such an ample supply that we can load the truck for a run to the landfill in less than an hour, and that includes taking time to sort out anything that can be recycled, composted, or reused. I'm really hoping we can at least have the small stuff cleared off by the end of the month. I'm not optimistic, but hopeful.

Step 2: Cutting down the little pine trees that have popped up and turning them into mulch. We have a large pile for this already started (well, two actually, but someone else thought it would be a helpful thing to do to push the trash pile into the first one we made so we could burn it all.. I had to explain why I wasn't interested in burning it, especially things like tires, old batteries, random buckets of unknown substances, etc... we've not yet got those two piles separated again.). This clears the site and gives us some lovely mulch to start composting.

Step 3: Lay out mulch, shredded junk mail, old goat bedding, manure, kitchen scraps, etc. out into garden rows. Do this while house is being built so that is has time to turn into happy, fertile, usable soil. I'm not going to worry about the space between rows at this time.

Step 4: Attempt to grow food!

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