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Discussion in 'Gardening' started by lazy gardener, Jun 4, 2016.

  1. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    I am truly impressed with BTE in the orchard. Last summer, when I planted my trees, every single hole had to be dug with a pick axe. It was a total body work out, and I did well to get 2 holes dug in a single day. I would dig for 10 - 20 minutes, and then have to go in and drink a lot, and rest for a few hours before I could go back out and dig some more. It was like breaking cement.

    I had squash left over that wouldn't fit in the HK. So, I decided to plant some of it in the orchard. Good sun, already mulched. And if the digging was more than I could safely do with my eye situation, I would just scratch up the surface of the cement a bit, toss down a couple of shovel fulls of compost, and snuggle the plants into that, bringing the wood chips up around to cover everything. Well, it's been less than a year, and already, BTE is doing it's job. I was able to break through and loosen the clay with a shovel and my stainless steel garden fork. So far this afternoon, I've dug up (by hand) 5 hills for squash, and about 8 hills for sorghum and dent corn. No more cement under those wood chips. Still heavy clay, but in less than a year's time (I started planting in late July) it has become more friable, and I can see where the soil is already building humus: darker in color than the unmulched clay.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Just out of curiosity how dry was the weather when you planted those trees versus the squash? When our ground dries out I’ve been known to use an iron bar and post hole diggers to plant trees. If the ground is damp all I need is a shovel.

    I am a huge believer in the benefits of mulch, whether that is wood chips, wheat straw, grass clippings, or about anything organic. Mulch holds moisture in, keeps the soil cooler, adds nutrients as it rots, and improves tilth as it gets mixed in with the dirt. It suppresses weeds and grass and makes any that pop up easier to pull. I scored a big pile of wood chips this spring when a utility company was trimming tree branches along an electric line ROW. Those have gone in landscaping beds and I put some over landscaping cloth to create a barrier around my garden and create a grass and weed free walkway along one edge of the garden.
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    It was quite damp, as I recall, but my memory might be faulty. I can tell you that if I were to try to dig a hole adjacent to the orchard soil which is covered with 6" of chips (same exact soil type and location) I would need a pick axe today. I've been gardening with mulch for about 30 years. Wouldn't do it any other way. The only time I have bare soil is if the mulch has rotted into the soil before I get around to replacing it. LOVE mulch. IMO, bare soil is unhappy soil!
     

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