We are blessed with a blend of clay and rock for our garden, with the addition of building site debris. This is my second season trying to establish a garden. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to clean out our hay suppliers barn of old hay. Yea! Some for a dollar a bale and some was free. It was probably about 60 bales.. My plan is to use the old rotten hay and what I clean out of the goat and chicken areas to help heal the soil to a lite friable tilth. Last winter I laid a one flake layer of hay across the area with cardboard underneath it. This year the plan is to follow in Ruth Stout's capable hands and keep putting the hay on any weeds that pop up. I may have to put more cardboard and hay down where I might have missed it this winter (it was really cold and windy) and hopefully smother the Bermuda grass. I HATE bermuda grass. I have one patch that I'm sure I missed because the grass is looking better than the pasture does in places.
In any case my plan for this year is to continue to lay cardboard down, then take the remaining hay and put it down where needed and higher in rows two flakes wide and begin a series of raised beds as deep as I can get them one layer at a time, probably about 6" high for starters. I will then go back and place the plants I'm putting in by drilling holes and filling with soil and planting, straw bale gardening fashion. I just need to make sure it gets watered well and keep doing so. This should work for my tomatoes and peppers. I've got several of them planted and they seem to be doing good. For the few potatoes I planted I just pulled the hay away, placed the potatoes, and covered them with hay, So we are doing a hybrid of the Ruth Stout garden and straw bale gardening. After that it will be lasagna/Ruth Stout from there on out. We shall see.
Melinda and Bennie Pepper
We work in technology but are homesteaders at heart. We're trying to set up our homestead with productive systems that are sustainable. We have Nigerian Dwarf goats and chickens and are trying to garden and raise fruit trees.