Help for dead dirt

“Soil remediation is a process of developing the life of the soil by introducing beneficial bacteria and fungus in their living state.” – Frank Holman, Radical Regenerative Gardening and Farming, 2018

I recently found a brand new thrill in a rented excavator as Jerry and I cleared away several root balls of gorse shrubs at our New Place in Bandon. I was happy to see the last of the highly invasive, highly flammable, mighty-weeds go, but I am not pleased at all about the dead dirt the gorse has left in its wake.

If ever a soil was in dire need of remediation, this is it! I want to plant a garden here; so what’s a new property owner and aspiring gardener to do?

I talked with Scott Goode, environmental scientist and founder of the soil replenishing group Nourishing Systems. He made me feel a lot more hopeful about improving the soil I have in Bandon through a process called regenerative gardening.

To replenish my soil in Bandon, Scott suggested I plant a cover crop mixture, along with daikon radishes that will loosen up compacted earth and add carbon as they decompose. I’ll spread a layer of composted horse manure when the cover crop shoots emerge, and then I’ll cover everything with rice straw for the winter. Next spring, I’ll mow the cover crop down, plant a summer crop of buckwheat, and allow the overwintered cover crop to decompose.

Here is the cover crop we’re planting in the fall. It’s a mixture of annual rye grass and Austrian peas, common vetch, white clover and buckwheat
This is daikon radish, which we’ll plant along with the cover crop to replenish the soil.

Next year, my soil will look, feel, and smell very different. Now, that will be a thrill!

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