Tuesday, 22 May 2012

How to start a garden from a lawn - Permaculture in Iceland

Here in Iceland we started our Permaculture garden from a lawn.

Our soil was very compacted, full of clay and sand (almost no organic matter), and thick grass on the top, and big rocks just a few cms below. This is how I recover it, and how I recommend doing:

1) First its best to remove the top 5-10cm of soil, which is full of grass, and till the other 30-40cm of soil.

2) On top of this add plenty organic matter, such as tree leaves (not conifers), dried yarrow, compost, hay, manure, and grass clippings. Perhaps add sand if you plant carrots or other crops that require good draining. Make sure this is at least 30cm of this mix. Just after a couple of months it will be full of worms, and it will be a very light and aerated layer of fertile soil!

3) Finally, spread some normal soil on top of it. Let's say 5 cm. If you don't, birds will mess your organic matter mulch, and seedlings might rotten under the mulching. I actually did this mistake last year. If you prefer, you can add mulching later, when plants are past their seedling stage.

4) Plant your seedlings here, or even sow seeds (if you can water them often). In the end of the season, avoid messing up with this new soil, by pulling plants, just cut them.

5) Swear never to till this new soil ever again! Or walk over it!

This is how it was:
May 2011. I started preparing beds with organic matter and planting vegetables and flowers

This is how it looks now:

May 2012. Edge of daffodils, tulips and currants surrounding the vegetable garden

The plan is now to established more wild flowers and perennial vegetables, besides the usual annual veggies.

No comments:

Post a Comment