Sunday, March 22, 2015

What to do with a Sloped Lot of Hard, Yellow Clay

Last fall we were able to acquire the property next to us.  After the demolition of the decaying house, a sloping lot was left.  The lot was graded away from both our house and the neighbors, but probably could have used some more fill.  What we have, ladies and gentlemen is a yellow clay hill, and an imminent erosion problem.  But, I've never been so excited about a problem.  It's totally experimental territory here.  Figure out how to keep soil here, and manage water effectively.  Swales?  Terraces? Soil Building?  Yes, please.

Today Jason and I worked on starting to build some terraces out of stumps and wild grapevines that we have.  I passed the contents of our kitchen compost bin over to him in 5 gallon buckets, and he placed this unfinished compost on the uphill side of the log rounds.  Then covered with a bit of straw to keep things tidier and weighed that down.

The empty lot with neighboring house
This is the beginnings of building soil on the lot.  We don't have plans to grow food here, but would like to have areas to sit and hang out, maybe a water storage tank for water running off the roof, and native plants, flowers, and other perennials for pollinators and habitat.  

The lot looks so stark now, I am excited to get going on building some soil for it and get some coverage for it's nakedness.  I have visions of trench composting with veggie trimmings Jason could bring home from the restaurant he works at covered with wood chips that a tree trimming company might be willing to drop.  

Log round terrace with wood, compost and straw on the uphill side

1 comment:

  1. It seems you’ve got some really nice plans for your yard right there. I think the idea about the water tank is great; you could save a lot of time and perhaps a significant amount of tap water on watering plants. Anyway, how are things doing for you guys nowadays? I but I hope things are doing fine with regard to this scheme. Thanks for sharing!

    Augustin Pavel @ AXEON Water Technologies