Laurajbr
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Location: Zone 5 Michigan

stumps gone but sawdust isn't soil

The day I moved into my new house a tree in my backyard fell on my house.

It turned out to be a blessing. I met my amazing neighbors, and we decided to remove all three ratty mulberry trees on our shared property line. Even better, the insurance company paid for professional removal (no brother-in-laws swinging from branches with a chain saw) and for stump grinding.

Last summer I fell in love with my yard and have become addicted to the idea of gardening, but have gained little skill so far (but got a great buy on some garedning tools at an auction).

The stumps are gone, leaving a lovely sunny spot I can see from all my back windows, but how can I improve the soil, heck I need to make it into soil!

I started a vermicompost system in my basement and hoped that the worm poop harvest would help the "soil", I want to avoid chemicals, but would love some advice.

Laura

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Grey
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Funny how trees like to fall right around closings, isn't it? We had a giant oak tree split in half (away from the house, surprisingly) and fall on a smaller oak and magnolia about a week before we closed on our house. Made for some fun dealings there.

Anyway - since your sawdust is about a year old it's already started down the path of compost - mulch it up with some compost if you have a compost pile, add some soil, mix it around and it should help.

If you don't have any compost started - I'd start with a raised bed this year until you have some to help out with that area. Or you can always get some Black Kow from one of those big box stores - it's reasonable & can be mixed in with your sawdust.

opabinia51
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Check out the organic forum for several threads on building soil.

Some manure will quicken the genesis of soil in the sawdust area.

The Helpful Gardener
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I like Opa's take...

One of the things that sets professional gardeners apart from hobbyists is the amount of work put into prepping soil. Think of it as your first garden; it truly is. Building a healthy soil flora and fauna is the best way to avoid using chemicals down the road. To paraphrase Newton, a healthy body has a tendency to remain healthy...

Scott

opabinia51
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Hi Laura, just a quick note: I would actually add more than just manure or some other green to the wood chips, add other browns such as leaves (apple and maple are the best) and also add some varied greens such as grass clippings, garden prunings and if you live near an ocean, some seaweed. This will generate very healthy soil.

Do this in layers, you already have a layer of browns so next I would put some grass clippings, then say some leaves and then some manure. You can add more layers if you like. This is called sheet or lasagna composting and it works like a charm.

Laurajbr
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Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2006 7:27 pm
Location: Zone 5 Michigan

compst for a view

Thank you all.

After reading the posts about improving soil I have decided that the area of sawdust is a perfect spot for composting. It may not be the prettiest view out my window, but it is a good view of my new hobby!

Around the edges I will put in Grandma Flowers becuase they will grow anywhere. I don't know what their real name is... Cozmo? Feathery stems and flowers and pink white and purple flowers.

Laura

opabinia51
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Are you thinking of Cosmos? I love cosmos and grow them from seed each year and plant them in my veg garden to attract beneficial insects. They are great, I'm always amazed to see how fast they grow.

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