Repairing dead dry and hard soil - so it can grow things!!

If you live in a "subdivision" then there's a good chance your soil is gone. Your topsoil - the stuff that's alive and makes plants grow. Builders scrape it off and sell it: both to make money and to be sure they can get a solid, nonshifting foundation when they dig your house.

But they don't bring it back. When you, or the person that originally bought your house put in the lawn, it's your responsibility to buy top soil and starting growing things. The minimum most landscapers recommend is 2 inches and that's about what people choose.

That's what we did. We went with the minimum - because landscaping is expensive and moving into a new home is expensive, and overwhelming and you just want it all to be over.

I have spent the last 9 years improving that soil. My garden area did not receive any topsoil. We spent our money on the lawn. I have added organic material, manure, compost. ad nauseum and watched it turn my solid hard clay subsoil into a crumbly, live earth.

Well, last year I had the opportunity to revitalize an area that was nothing but class 5 rocks and subsoil clay. And this time I took pictures!

We have a rock retaining wall that separates our "lawn" from our forest. This area is made from nothing but class five rocks and some subsoil clay. This was then covered in fabric and cedar wood chip mulch was dumped on top.

For some reason, I thought I should grow strawberries here. They survived but never quite thrived in their soil-less 2" of mulch. After 8 years, I decided enough was enough and I pulled all the plants out. And I pulled out the fabric. This is what was below:

Then I started adding bags of compost and top soil.

After some more top soil and partially finished compost:

I then proceeded to plant - china stripe garlic, meadow garlic, a blueberry bush, a yellow flowering bush whose name I forgot, sedum, salvia, day lily, egyptian walking onions,  a gooseberry, parsley, wild strawberries, and cultivated strawberries.

Everything but the parsley came back to life this spring (bunnies ate it with a vengeance almost as soon as it came to life.)

Then I covered the whole shebang with straw....

These pictures were taken on June 5th, 2016.

Over time, I have no doubts this soil will improve. The perennials will add structure, pollinator activity, and biomass. It looks ratty now, but it's alive! And it will continue to grow and flourish.

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