mound-and-plant on a compost heap

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mound-and-plant on a compost heap

Post  Fran on Tue Sep 16, 2008 5:13 pm

In a book called "Roots Demystified" the author, Robert Kourik, explains how he builds garden on top of composting mounds. Says it " required no additional irrigation beyond the day of planting, even during the most protracted California drought in over 100 years."

He starts by laying down wood chip with green leaves. He emphasizes the need to use green matter to compensate for nitrogen drawdown or manure if not available. That's the carbon layer so then the nitrogen - scraps, mown grass or green manure - all piled very high - higher than the eventual height of the mound is meant to be because of the inevitable subsidence. Watered it all as he went so it was thoroughly moist.

Now this is the interesting bit. He covered the lot with soil to a depth of 20 cm of so. He used a mix of topsoil with some turkey bedding. I presume you could use any sort of decomposed poultry manure. He plants into this. Then he adds a layer of newspaper - 5 overlapping sheets to suppress weeds - and covers it with more poultry manure.

The mound is not meant to be irrigated and he used drought resistant plants such as lavender, rosemary and santolina - that sort of thing.

What do you think? He makes a point of saying we should experiment - that in a hotter climate some drip irrigation will be required and that timing is crucial so roots are established before a severe winter for instance.

What do you think - worth a try? I was thinking of the time we waste waiting on our compost heaps.
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Fran
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Re: mound-and-plant on a compost heap

Post  siri on Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:09 am

At the rate i am going, I don't think I am going to finish digging the soil out of my compost heap. Once I have done my no dig gardens and my 2 water wicking gardens, I think I might just flatten the rest of the compost down, run the rotary hoe through it, surround it by hay bales and call it a no dig garden. Mulch the top and plant it up with yummy stuff.
I wouldn't risk not watering, but have 2 tanks close to hand.
Cheers, Jan
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Re: mound-and-plant on a compost heap

Post  Fran on Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:32 am

Sounds like you have your work cut out LOL. I'll be interested to see how you go with the wicking gardens. I presume you have worms. As for planting on top of compost heaps - I've been thinking it would be an unnecessary waste of resources just for lavender and the like - all lavender needs is gravel really - that's all I planted mine in and it thrives.

The idea is just grist for the mill - one idea often leads to another.

I'm off to get a trailer load of mushroom compost this afternoon and look for a source of sugar cane mulch. You must have brought in a couple of truckloads of hay - been there, done that. And learnt how to get the big bales off the back of a truck when they were loaded 2 high LOL
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Re: mound-and-plant on a compost heap

Post  siri on Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:13 pm

Laughing here because I didn't see the bit about lavender, rosemaryand santolina. If those plants didn't grow just in the 20cm of top soil alone, with very little water, I would be pretty miffed. I expect my best irises to grow in that much soil without water!!
Forget the compost for the lavander, I would rather use it for the vegies.
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