Vertical Mulching With Leaf Litter And Biosolids: March 2023

On Monday, I posted a series of photos showing how I had used my post-hole digger to excavate holes - getting into the clay layer below my topsoil - in our front porch bed.  I ended up with more than a dozen of them in various spots around the bed including up front.  My goal was to help improve the soil conditions, break up that bathtub effect and try to make the area a little bit more hospitable to plants and roots.  

I called it 'vertical mulching' in Monday's post, but today is a little bit more about that process and how I filled the holes.

I recently removed the chicken-wire rings around our Disneyland Roses to prepare them for Spring.  In each of those three rings was a heavy bed of mulched-up leaves that I collected last year.  Since Fall, there had been a tiny bit of decomposition, but A LOT of the leaves that I used to protect the roses were Oak leaves and those are VERY.SLOW to decompose.  So, I went over to the roses and filled up my trug with some leaf litter.  See below:

With the holes around our front porch bed being anywhere from 24 to 36" deep, the first thing that I did was to take a few handfuls of these mulched-up leaves and stuff them into the holes.  This leaf litter is what filled the bottom (the part of the holes that were in heavy clay) with what I hope will be beneficial in a few ways:  aeration (the leaves won't compact as much as soil), drainage (see aeration and little air pockets) and organic material (they'll breakdown in the ground).  

On top of that leaf litter?  In went a BUNCH of biosolids to basically cap off the holes.  See below for how the holes looked after both leaf litter and biosolids were added.  

Below is an overview photo showing all the holes being filled-in with leaf litter and biosolids and some surface dirt that I excavated.  I did NOT pack these holes down and assume that they'll settle over time. 

My plan is to dig up even *more* of these vertical holes in this bed and in other spots - thinking IB2DWs (maybe) and adding even more material this Spring.  


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