View Full Version : Starting permaculture on compacted clay soil - How to go about it?
I have recently moved to a one acre Wide Bay Queensland home which has compacted clay soil rife with weeds, grassed in most areas with established trees. Do you know of anybody in this local area who can advise on best way to convert this land to a viable state, using permaculture principles. Have searched most known web sites but cannot find any local listings. Desperate! Many thanks dean
22-07-2003, 09:32 AM
Perhaps you could call Janet Millington at Eumundi - she is on this list and can be contacted thru it or on 075442 7200. Janet and her husband Mick run Permaculture Courses too at their beautiful (and well developed) hinterland property.
22-07-2003, 01:16 PM
it also depends on what you want to do.
half a dozen chooks to deal with the weeds - and then some raised garden beds to begin with is always a good start.
i like the raised garden beds i guess because they allow a great deal of immediacy...and are a good place to begin inspiration for the development of the rest of your yard.
there is a whole host of things you can do - and there are many well document photos on darren's site... http://www.permaculture.biz
21-08-2003, 02:31 AM
I live in Northern NSW with heavy clay soils. In my experience over 9 years here, the best way to make the soil more friendly is to heavily mulch the areas you wish to use, and water enough to keep it damp. The worms will do the work in time as well as chooks if that's possible. it takes time! Then keep on mulching. Clay soils are usually full of nutrients but little air. Worms and chooks are good for aerating the the soil in the right conditions. i,e damp but not too wet. Clay can be like concete when dry and sticky mud when wet. mulch is the answer to both of these problems.Raised beds are excellent,but you have to find something to fill them with and they take more personal energy to complete. I like worms!!
25-08-2003, 01:37 PM
A friend has developed a really interesting way of breaking up clay soils in Kenya.
He plants eucalypts at about 1 metre by 1 metre spacing. The eucs never remain in the ground for more than 3 years with the first thinning happening after year 1. He plants in the created clearings other species of trees which need the protection to grow. At the end of year 3 the emerging forest is all that is left with all eucs removed.
It is quite profitable in Kenya because the 1 and 2 year old trunks are used to fasten thatch on to, for roofing and the 3 year old poles are even more valuable.
He refuses to leave eucs in the ground any longer because of the longer term problems, but they sure turn the soil around.
I have compacted clay and use the "no dig" method with raised gardens to grow, fruit trees and vegetables in my suburban back yard (area 39 ft by 13 feet) not much space by most people's standards and I have had bigger yards. If you would like to try spreading clay breaker over the area you want to plant, followed by newspapers to stop the weeds. Then I added green mulch - broken down by my lawn mower. On top of this I put home made compost (from friends at first) followed by some commercial soil (poor condition really but good for bulk) on top of this I put some more compost and some grass clippings (no seeds please or weeds will grow) I hosed this on alternate days for 2 weeks then when the green mulch was a bit broken down (took a month) I planted some seeds. My first beans, tomatoes and silverbeet were good to see and eat. I also planted some herbs, as companions and some wong bok. I repeated most of this process at the end of my first crop as the "garden" had mulched down to half its original height. I now have a flourishing vegetable and herb and fruit garden. I also added some old chicken manure and mushroom compost. Wishing you every success.
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