October 30 , 2006 – Getting Soil Ready for Hoophouse

We have a small plot where we’d like to experiment with a small hoop house. The one we are looking at is 20×36 and 12 feet tall in the center. This fall, we ran the chickens on the plot to do their thing killing some grass and leaving some deposits behind. The ground where this is located is badly eroded. When we moved in, it was previously used as a cattle yard and as it is on a slight slope, most of the topsoil washed off, leaving clay behind.

Here it is after a few passes with the middlebuster to break up the remaining sod. You can see the loader ready with a load of compost ready to dump.

Here’s what the clay looks like. Other places of the farm range from a few inches to about 18-24 inches of wonderful black loamy topsoil before hitting the clay layer.

This is what it looks like after 8-10 loaderfulls of compost. In the spring we’ll plant a cover crop for a year to get rid of grass and further enrich the soil. It’s still novel for me to have the tractor and to be able to do this in about 3/10 of a tractor hour instead of lots of shoveling and spreading.

one year ago…