Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Driveway, Before and After

About a year ago we decided we didn't need quite so much non-permeable surface in front of our garage. But we definitely needed more dirt. So we hired this poor guy from craigslist who turned up not with a jackhammer, but with a 15 pound sledge hammer and proceeded to break up one half of the driveway, and shorten his life by several years I'm sure.

I loosened up the hardpan a little and planted cover crop of clover and buckwheat. This season it's planted with beans, tomatoes, peppers, radicchio and some lemongrass.

The plants seem to be loving the location, which gets a lot of sun. I know it's popular to bad mouth our heavy, clay soil here in Oregon, but clay contains lots of minerals and nutrients and it retains water, which makes it boggy in the winter and spring, but not so bad in the intense heat of our long summer days. Mulch around your plants to keep the clay from caking over and to help the soil retain moisture.

This patch of soil, under cement since the house was built in 1982, will certainly benefit from amendments, and hopefully will continue to improve. Towards the end of the summer I'll plant more cover crop, to protect the soil and add some nitrogen and organic matter.

Another great thing about having approximately 135 more square feet of sunny growing area is that it allows me to rotate crops. It's a good idea not to plant the same plant in the same spot year after year. More on that another time.

1 comment:

AJK said...

Congratulations! You are no longer confined to the Backyard for Farming! Time for a name-change perhaps? ;-)