Thursday, August 25, 2016

Backyard Project: Progress in Zone 3 - The Fruit Hedge

Earlier in the spring we made a start on establishing a fruit hedge as the beginning edge of Zone 3 in the Backyard Project.

The soil was so compacted because it had been the materials storage site during the construction of my studio.
A raised bed in the lasagne style was built up on top of the compacted soil - green then brown. The layers still weren't broken down enough when Sammy brought the trees for the hedge so he planted them in their positions but left them in their pots. 
It was an awkward shape to water without watering the bare ground inside the 'U' shape at the same time so we decided to use it as a place to make more soil.

We marked out a path with untreated boards left over from the studio construction to smother any grass that might be tempted to grow. In the middle of the 'U' we built up layers of paper, cardboard, coffee grounds, grass clippings (until the mower broke down), and shredded prunings in alternating layers with a good watering between each layer.

We had Douglas-fir chips left over from making garden paths so we put the rest on top of the wooden board path which will provide fungus for the nearby soil but we can easily pick it up again if we want to make another path in the garden.

We put a border between the path and hedge soil bed using hucked logs from the last 2 trees that had to be cut down. Hucking - a forester's term for cutting logs into manageable lengths - makes them small enough for me to carry in my wheelbarrow from the forest to this bed and I can lift and maneuver them in place.
By this stage, we decided the layers in the hedge bed had decomposed enough (the soil temperature had dropped below cooking level) to take the trees out of their pots and put them in the soil.

Fig trees alternating with 2 feijoa/pineapple guava trees.
I gave them a light prune and a deep watering.
Now they can get down to growing while they spread their roots.

This is the beginning of Zone 3. I haven't designed any more of this zone because I am focusing on implementing my plan for Zones 1 and 2. It is always such a temptation to keep developing new areas before the bulk of the work is done in the zones closer to the house. We want to work on manageable chunks, getting the beds to the stage where they look after themselves before moving further out. Otherwise, it might all become overwhelming.




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