An update on the earthworks

28 01 2016

Everything we planted in October has grown! Thanks to a ridiculously mild winter the leguminous plants – beans and chervil – have grown and served their function to further decompact the soil and improve it’s quality.

The swales and step constructions are holding up nicely and there is some evidence already that the soil is improving behind them – we have moss growing!

The roof is looking good and growing grass – sadly the pine trees we transplanted are not thriving.

Next steps – give those poor trees a ton of mulch and buy a sack of alfalfa seeds to plant a greater area with soil improving plants.

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techo verde!

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los pinos

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las favas crecen!

broad beans planted in "siciliy" and covered with the compost / straw from the compost heap.

OCTOBER 2015 broad beans planted in “siciliy” and covered with the compost / straw from the compost heap.

 


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2 responses

18 02 2016
Erik van Lennep

Just a few points and tips:

Chervil is not leguminous, it’s actually related to carrots and parsley (family apiaceae).

For breaking up bad soil, the Japanese have a tradition ….followed by Masanobu Fukuoka….of planting the deep-rooting daikon radish, which are left to decompose in the ground, opening channels for air and water to penetrate. The other crop that works well for this is “cow horn turnip”, but more difficult to source here in Europe.

Pines are very hard to transplant at the size you show in the pics, especially if not grown in containers. The roots are unhappy with disturbance, mycorhizzae are damaged and lost, and in poor soil it’s very hard to maintain the moisture balance between roots and tops (that’s what the micorrhizae help with normally). Better results by planting quite small, in large holes backfilled with soil that has the native fungal partners mixed in, plus additional compost to hold moisture longer. And of course, plant at the beginning of winter to maximise the amount of time to recover before getting pounded by heat and drought.

18 02 2016
thegurney

Thank you so much Erik! You should meet Alessandro Ardovini.. he was telling me about radishes just the other day. We had to take those big pines out anyway… I’ll see how they are doing when we next visit, then follow your advice to plant something smaller next season if they don’t make it. Abrazo

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