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Re: Easy Street teeth and worms

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: Easy Street teeth and worms
  • From: ECPep@aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 1997 17:59:39 -0600 (MDT)

In a message dated 97-10-15 14:41:30 EDT, you write:

 I also encountered a dilemma in trying to strain out little rocks. If I
 used my compost sifter and shook the dirt through its holes, all the
 earthworms and ground beetles and spiders in the dirt wound up mangled. I
 tried using the hose to wash the dirt through, but there's so much clay in
 my dirt, it clogged the sifter. Any suggestions on how to separate 5
 billion rocks from dirt quickly without killing helpful soil critters?
 Little Rock >>


A wonderful delivery from you as usual.  I know quite a bit about rocks as
there is no place on all these acres that does not have rocks.  I have rocks
as big as Volkwagons just lying about displaying themselves.  Whenever the
club talks about using rock in the garden (artistically) I generously give
away all that anyone can carry.  I have made walks, edged the house, and
studded the hosta patch with rocks, flat ones, huge ones and pails full of
little ones.  Plenty more here!

That being said I can comment on my trash to treasure system one more time
and add a rock corollary.  I don't know what burying a muck bucket means but
would ask
why you would need to remove small rock.  For general garden purposes small
pieces of rock and gravel can be left in the planting soil.  Since it is
present everywhere for me, I long ago gave up trying to have rock free soil.
 When I police up which I do on my knees crawling about or sitting right on
the ground, I make small piles of stone on the bed edge.   Ed picks up these
piles now and then and uses them to fill in the drip edge of the buildings.

I plant right into my on-site compost adding some horse manure or whatever
you have if I dig deeply for the plant I am adding.  Eventually the entire
bed is improved and the on site compost produces the best soil   Dorothy
thought TB's would not like this treatment but here it is OK.  I am on a
mountainside and have perfect drainage (which some summers is also defined as
endless drought).  Mulching TB's in zone 4 is not a problem.  I have few TB's
but those I have are OK in the compost beds.  Also, in reference to Dorothy's
thought that the materials would not break down, it is true that some do not.
If you like you can chop them, or cut them with shears but I do neither.
 What does not break down the first year will do so the next and if your's is
a Martha Stewart creation you cover this mess with wood chips.  

I had a group through on a garden tour once and to spruce up the beds we
covered all the compost in the making with a truckload of woodchips and it
did look very tidy.  No-one knew what was happening under those chips.  

Using this method you dredge no rocks (not many anyway) and you strip no sod.
 You can even go around woody stuff sheared off at ground level.  This is
certainly not original, there are articles with pictures in 'Fine Gardening'
over the last few years.  I am not going to look up the date and number
unless someone really wants it.

I also have a few timbered raised beds for vegetables.  That is because we
need to have warm soil earlier than Mother Nature allows in zone 4.  We
construct these right on top of the existing terrain in the same way
described and use as a compost pit for a year before adding  some soil.  This
is the very best veg growing method I have ever used, little labor, super
soil and control over the veg grower (no more of those gargantuan bean

Claire Peplowski
East Nassau, N.Y. -zone 4 - gloomy and rainy  

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