I am new to the Peaceful Valley Farm Blog site, but will be offering ideas and comments regularly. Hope I can be of help with your farm and garden questions.
I have a new homestead that I just moved into last May, so this winter was my first opportunity to plant fruit trees. The soil is red clay dirt, typical to the California Sierra Foothills. We dug our holes about 10 times the size of the root ball, amended our soil with compost, worm castings, oyster shell lime, gypsum, kelp, greensand and some microbial inoculant to get the microbial activity going in the soil. The root ball now has a good amount of room for the roots to move out and food to nourish the young trees.
We created a new fenced in area for this orchard, so the whole area has not been amended. My plan is to rototill the area surrounding the trees, amend the soil with similar amendments and plant a summer cover crop. This will aid the surrounding soil into having more tilth and nutrients, so that when the young trees roots reach the edge of their prepared hole they will find a healthier, easier to move into soil, instead of hard red clay.
We will have the opportunity to amend the surrounding soil by planting summer and winter cover crops this summer and winter. Next summer I will probably use the area between the young trees to plant a summer vegetable garden.
Good Growing, Kalita
Brent Johnson Says:
Mar 17th, 2010 at 10:02 am
Wow that sounds very similar to what we did on our new orchard last year. We live in east Texas and have hard black clay.
Kalita@Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 17th, 2010 at 11:34 am
Have you seen improvement in your soil? More tilth and earthworms?