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This spring's projects - mostly earth and stone

Projects that use recycled or renewable materials, blend with or benefit the environment etc.

This spring's projects - mostly earth and stone

Postby Julie » Tue May 16, 2017 5:32 am

The digging out of the foundation for my rabbit shed created a huge soil heap which was left over-long, turned into a weed pile and became a source of irritation for me for the next few years :taz:
DSCF1987a.jpg
This is an old photo which shows not just the heap and rocks but the collapsing rosa rugosa hedge on the left.

It's not a desire for a manicured garden so much as a wish not to have to battle the nettles and their seeds constantly, plus it obstructed the view of part of the forest garden. Anyway, I decided to tackle the brutal task of shifting the damned thing a few barrow-loads a day until it was done.
may10 02.jpg
This is it now, note how much better the rosa rugosa looks with the support of a low rock wall..


As part of the plans for a composting toilet we had planned a raised area, one end of which would eventually have a round wood cabin-type loo with a drop underneath to house the containers for waste. It wasn't too far from the soil heap so I moved a few barrow loads every day until the earth pile was shifted and the terrace created.
may10 03.jpg
The centre is raised slightly to allow for the soil settling, it can always be raked flatter if need be. The compost freezers are not so pretty but once the row of lavenders and the new Zealand flax planted there grow bigger they will disguise that a bit.

Moving the soil this way meant that the nettle and ground elder roots could be removed at the same time. There was quite a bit of sand in the heap which got mixed in better as it was moved so the terrace soil will be quite well drained. It will be perfect for growing herbs.
Also on the site of the soil heap were a lot of large rocks. These were rolled over to the rosa rugosa hedge close by and used to lift the roses off the road, reclaiming a couple of feet in width and letting in more light underneath it for the daffs and snowdrops. It's not so much a stone wall as a storage solution for these rocks which does a job.
I used the largest stones to make steps at one end of the terrace and stacks of tyres filled with earth and planted with various herbs form some of the side walls.
Any smaller stones I found were used to level off the top of a rock pile by the top end of our polytunnel. This rock pile has now become a platform for an IBC tank to provide gravity fed irrigation for the polytunnel. A submersible pump will fill it with harvested rainwater from the house roof. It will also be an environment where wildlife can hide.
may10th 07.jpg


I started four seed trays crammed with roman chamomile plants for the area where the soil heap used to be. A chamomile lawn will please the bees, smell nice and provide a supply of chamomile for tea.
The terrace will have a recycled block paving area in the centre where we can sit and look at the forest garden from a vantage point. The bee garden is so close we can see and hear them and the polytunnel will provide privacy from neighbours driving past.
There is a row of lavender plants along one side already and I plant to put in more low growing creeping herbs where there is no paving. It will smell amazing I hope and the planting will be the fun part :)
Vote with your feet. If enough of us swim against the current we just might form a dam.
I will be a hummingbird https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGMW6YWjMxw
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Re: This spring's projects - mostly earth and stone

Postby Julie » Fri May 19, 2017 1:18 am

I decided that instead of planting that whole area with chamomile an acid soil bed for the blueberries, Lingonberry and a witch hazel tree would be a good idea. I just spent two afternoons crawling round underneath scratchy trees in nearby spruce plantation gathering heaps of pine needles to dig in.
I'm bumbling round in the dark here really, as I've no idea how much of this stuff to use. I also added a sprinkling of flowers of sulphur to get the acidity started faster. Probably best let it get rained on a bit, then test the soil before planting :?

So it looks as if it will have a border of chamomile surrounding an acid soil bed. I think it will be more interesting than a plain chamomile lawn.

I also top dressed the wintergreen plants I put in last autumn with pine needles. It seems a bit early to tell but I'm sure they look happier already.
Vote with your feet. If enough of us swim against the current we just might form a dam.
I will be a hummingbird https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGMW6YWjMxw
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Location: Banffshire
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Re: This spring's projects - mostly earth and stone

Postby oakesme » Thu May 25, 2017 5:18 pm

That's an impressive project, look forward to seeing the completed outhouse.
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