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Re: double digging

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  • carrieshepard
    shivani, I ve been very happy with the effects of double digging on my garden beds. Just last year I learned of double digging from finally buying John
    Message 1 of 20 , Aug 2, 2004
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      shivani,

      I've been very happy with the effects of double digging on my garden
      beds. Just last year I learned of double digging from finally
      buying John Jeavon's book How to grow more... and these beds are
      easy to weed, taller than the surrounding lawn areas, and easy to
      replant with succession crops. The earthworm population has
      exploded over the past year as well. Last fall I covered as much of
      the beds as I could with either crops and polypropylene, 3 simple
      wooden cold frames (this worked so well I'm going to get more made
      for this coming winter), or leaves. I bought just one roll from
      robertmarvel.com and I'm very happy with the harvesting extension
      from using row covering. It also is working well for me on one bed
      right now to get some fall crops started from seed.

      blessings,
      Carrie
    • benonthenet
      ... Carrie, keep in mind that the effects of double digging are temporary. Digging depletes the soil of minerals, organic matter and nitrogen over time. You ll
      Message 2 of 20 , Aug 2, 2004
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        > I've been very happy with the effects of double digging on my
        > garden beds.

        Carrie, keep in mind that the effects of double digging are
        temporary. Digging depletes the soil of minerals, organic matter and
        nitrogen over time. You'll have to give careful attention to adding
        soil nutrients back to the soil if you plan to continue digging.

        Digging once to get a bed going can be beneficial if you're working
        with compacted soil. More than that and you get locked into the cycle
        of digging to get the results you're looking for and adding back ton
        of soil nutrients. You wind up having to add back more than the
        amount of produce you harvest in order to keep up.

        That is part of the genius of natural farming. You end up creating
        more soil live and nutrients than you harvest. Thus, you "live off
        the interest" rather than eating off the capital.

        Benjamin
      • SArjuna@aol.com
        Once is definitely enough to double dig. It s a terrific amount of work! And, there is no need to do it again if you don t do things that compact the soil
        Message 3 of 20 , Aug 2, 2004
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          Once is definitely enough to double dig. It's a terrific amount of
          work! And, there is no need to do it again if you don't do things that compact
          the soil again.
          We had compacted clay soil that really benefitted from the loosening.
          As i mentioned, we just double dug one of four long beds. Two of the others
          I loosened by inserting the full tine length of a spading fork and lifting
          back just enough to break up the soil. Those beds not doing as well as the
          double dug one. The 4th bed I didn't do anything special to yet. Actually,
          that is because the weather was so wet and cold for so long here this year that I
          just could not finish my projects.
          So we get to compare, but as all the beds not planted at the same time
          and the weather has been so extreme it makes it a bit hard to know for sure
          what the differences are caused by.
          Shivani


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry
          . ... time ... sure ... to compare you will have to wait decades or even centuries . tilling favorise bacterias over fungi making lot of nutrients available at
          Message 4 of 20 , Aug 2, 2004
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            .
            > So we get to compare, but as all the beds not planted at the same
            time
            > and the weather has been so extreme it makes it a bit hard to know for
            sure
            > what the differences are caused by.
            > Shivani


            to compare you will have to wait decades or even centuries . tilling
            favorise bacterias over fungi making lot of nutrients available at once and
            then for most wasted as there is not enough plant matter to use them .so
            basically it have as a result short term gain for long term depletion and
            creation of a need for fertiliser .

            agregates takes decades to form , one tilling in a 10 year period is enough
            to drastically compromise agregate stability . if you want i can find you
            the numbers they are impressive .
            agregates are particules of soils glued together by the excretions of fungis
            and bacterias , making big fat ball ( obvious in forest and untouched soils)
            leaving lot of air and water spaces in between them . once till those
            agregates break down making powdered soil particles stick to each other
            making a compact cement .
            and everything else that we don't know about....
            jean-claude
          • Judy Hayes
            I would love to see these numbers you are referring to. I have heard so much about the negatives of tilling, and have avoided doing so in my new garden, it is
            Message 5 of 20 , Aug 3, 2004
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              I would love to see these numbers you are referring to. I have heard so
              much about the negatives of tilling, and have avoided doing so in my new
              garden, it is a hard clay soil and I am planting a cover crop to help build
              the soil up. I was explaining why I havent tilled to a couple of good
              friends of mine, one of which has a degree in something agricultural
              related, I cant remember what at this time... and he told me that its the
              only way I will be able to work organic material into my soil... I would
              like to share some hard data with my friends. Thank you in advance

              Judy
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry" <instinct@...>
              To: <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Monday, August 02, 2004 10:58 PM
              Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: double digging


              >
              > .
              > > So we get to compare, but as all the beds not planted at the same
              > time
              > > and the weather has been so extreme it makes it a bit hard to know for
              > sure
              > > what the differences are caused by.
              > > Shivani
              >
              >
              > to compare you will have to wait decades or even centuries . tilling
              > favorise bacterias over fungi making lot of nutrients available at once
              and
              > then for most wasted as there is not enough plant matter to use them .so
              > basically it have as a result short term gain for long term depletion and
              > creation of a need for fertiliser .
              >
              > agregates takes decades to form , one tilling in a 10 year period is
              enough
              > to drastically compromise agregate stability . if you want i can find you
              > the numbers they are impressive .
              > agregates are particules of soils glued together by the excretions of
              fungis
              > and bacterias , making big fat ball ( obvious in forest and untouched
              soils)
              > leaving lot of air and water spaces in between them . once till those
              > agregates break down making powdered soil particles stick to each other
              > making a compact cement .
              > and everything else that we don't know about....
              > jean-claude
            • benonthenet
              ... Ask your friend How does organic matter get into the soil in natural areas? You can deliberately put organic matter in the soil by planting things that
              Message 6 of 20 , Aug 3, 2004
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                > and he told me that its the only way I will be able to work organic
                > material into my soil...

                Ask your friend "How does organic matter get into the soil in natural
                areas?"

                You can deliberately put organic matter in the soil by planting
                things that leave generous amounts of roots in the ground. That would
                be most root crops and plants like chard. (The plants you choose
                would have to be plants that won't just regenerate from root parts.)
                Just chop the plants down at the peak of root growth and let the
                roots decay. And, voila!, you'll have lots of organic matter directly
                in the soil without tilling at all. Do this for three years and
                you'll do more for the soil than any tilling could hope to accomplish.

                Benjamin
              • pollywog
                ... a full 3 years to make a difference. I did double digging, it s a goof. I do use lasange-style plot prep, it works quite well. It takes no time at all- I
                Message 7 of 20 , Aug 3, 2004
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                  ---I would listen to Benjamin, with one exception- It sure won't take
                  a full 3 years to make a difference. I did double digging, it's a
                  goof. I do use lasange-style plot prep, it works quite well. It takes
                  no time at all- I have happily planted in lasgne type plots within 2
                  months of laying them, and have yet to be dissapointed.

                  **Disclaimer**
                  I understand I yak too much about growing inside gardens and other
                  strange practices that work well for me; and I *do* understand I am
                  boring to many, with my yak about "taking the time" and other Mom
                  Earth/esoteric BullKapoopie- so please, all those who email me to tell
                  me I'm horrible, I know, I Know! I **choose** to speak up yet again,
                  and have already notd your complaints. I simply choose to ignore them,
                  when I feel good information is so easily available to newbies, and
                  they are not getting directed there for some reason. I do find it
                  funny, this is the only group I feel the need for this disclaimer
                  with. **

                  Plant some dock. Queen Anne's Lace. Nettles. Daikon radishes. Maybe
                  some comfrey or plantain. Grab some other good plants/weeds, and let
                  'em go. Cut the tops off before seed if you feel the need, and let the
                  arial parts be part of your mulch.

                  **Leave The Roots Where They Are**

                  You only have to look back in the archives to know the plow and till-
                  and the double-dig, especially- is simply not needed.

                  Go to http://soilandhealthlibrary.com
                  and check out "Plowman's Folly". Look up "Weeds, Guardians of the
                  Soil" on the Journey to Forever Site.

                  For heaven's Sake, read the website articles on the Fukuoka Website
                  available in the links section of group, and read Emilia and Mr.
                  Fukuoka, themselves!

                  It's too easy. I'm sorry, but just looking under one's own nose (which
                  I am sorely inadept at, myself. "Do As I Say! Not As I Do!" <G>) is
                  sometimes a fine place for answer beginnings. deb

                  In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "benonthenet" <benonthenet@y...>
                  wrote:
                  > > and he told me that its the only way I will be able to work organic
                  > > material into my soil...
                  >
                  > Ask your friend "How does organic matter get into the soil in natural
                  > areas?"
                  >
                  > You can deliberately put organic matter in the soil by planting
                  > things that leave generous amounts of roots in the ground. That would
                  > be most root crops and plants like chard. (The plants you choose
                  > would have to be plants that won't just regenerate from root parts.)
                  > Just chop the plants down at the peak of root growth and let the
                  > roots decay. And, voila!, you'll have lots of organic matter directly
                  > in the soil without tilling at all. Do this for three years and
                  > you'll do more for the soil than any tilling could hope to accomplish.
                  >
                  > Benjamin
                • benonthenet
                  ... You re right! It wouldn t take 3 years to make a difference. If you do it for 3 years though, you will turn humusless soil into a humus rich tilth without
                  Message 8 of 20 , Aug 3, 2004
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                    > I would listen to Benjamin, with one exception- It sure won't
                    > take a full 3 years to make a difference. I did double digging,
                    > it's a goof.

                    You're right! It wouldn't take 3 years to make a difference. If you
                    do it for 3 years though, you will turn humusless soil into a humus
                    rich tilth without any detriment to soil life and nutrients. Three
                    years give you enough time to restore the web of life in the garden.

                    Yesterday, I saw a pair of june bugs making whoopie in my sunchoke
                    patch. There were several june bugs in my garden. I also had some
                    hummingbirds flitting around - one of which was taking a flying bath
                    in the water spary as I watered my seedlings. It was a fantastical
                    display of life in my plot which was formerly a railroad.

                    Benjamin
                  • Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry
                    ... build ... what is aggreagate ? http://soils.usda.gov/sqi/files/sq_eig_1.pdf an accessible way to measure agreggate stability of your soil
                    Message 9 of 20 , Aug 3, 2004
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                      > I would love to see these numbers you are referring to. I have heard so
                      > much about the negatives of tilling, and have avoided doing so in my new
                      > garden, it is a hard clay soil and I am planting a cover crop to help
                      build
                      > the soil up. I was explaining why I havent tilled to a couple of good
                      > friends of mine, one of which has a degree in something agricultural
                      > related, I cant remember what at this time... and he told me that its the
                      > only way I will be able to work organic material into my soil... I would
                      > like to share some hard data with my friends. Thank you in advance

                      what is aggreagate ?
                      http://soils.usda.gov/sqi/files/sq_eig_1.pdf

                      an accessible way to measure agreggate stability of your soil
                      http://www.mandakzerotill.org/book19/s005.html


                      an overview of no till farming in the context of conventional agriculture
                      http://www.rolf-derpsch.com/notill.htm

                      comparative numbers in a conventional no-till farm

                      http://www.cedarmeadowfarm.com/Research.html

                      fields not tilled for over 10 years 62,3 %
                      fields tlled in the last 10 years 18,1 %
                      jean-claude
                    • Judy Hayes
                      Thank you for those links! Judy Lynn ... From: Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry To: Sent: Tuesday,
                      Message 10 of 20 , Aug 3, 2004
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                        Thank you for those links!
                        Judy Lynn
                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: "Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry" <instinct@...>
                        To: <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>
                        Sent: Tuesday, August 03, 2004 8:56 PM
                        Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: double digging


                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > > I would love to see these numbers you are referring to. I have heard so
                        > > much about the negatives of tilling, and have avoided doing so in my new
                        > > garden, it is a hard clay soil and I am planting a cover crop to help
                        > build
                        > > the soil up. I was explaining why I havent tilled to a couple of good
                        > > friends of mine, one of which has a degree in something agricultural
                        > > related, I cant remember what at this time... and he told me that its
                        the
                        > > only way I will be able to work organic material into my soil... I would
                        > > like to share some hard data with my friends. Thank you in advance
                        >
                        > what is aggreagate ?
                        > http://soils.usda.gov/sqi/files/sq_eig_1.pdf
                        >
                        > an accessible way to measure agreggate stability of your soil
                        > http://www.mandakzerotill.org/book19/s005.html
                        >
                        >
                        > an overview of no till farming in the context of conventional agriculture
                        > http://www.rolf-derpsch.com/notill.htm
                        >
                        > comparative numbers in a conventional no-till farm
                        >
                        > http://www.cedarmeadowfarm.com/Research.html
                        >
                        > fields not tilled for over 10 years 62,3 %
                        > fields tlled in the last 10 years 18,1 %
                        > jean-claude
                      • Allan Balliett
                        ... Wonder how this would look on an organic farm? Groth is NOT organic and uses herbicides, etc, even in his cover crop work. I can see how no til would be
                        Message 11 of 20 , Aug 4, 2004
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                          >http://www.cedarmeadowfarm.com/Research.html
                          >
                          >fields not tilled for over 10 years 62,3 %
                          >fields tlled in the last 10 years 18,1 %
                          >jean-claude

                          Wonder how this would look on an organic farm? Groth is NOT organic
                          and uses herbicides, etc, even in his cover crop work. I can see how
                          no til would be better for him.

                          Look at Jeavon's results: many times the national avg yields per
                          double dug bed.

                          Double digging works and it works well, regardless of what theory may tell you.

                          I've been working with double dug beds for over 20 years and I'm not
                          looking for 'something better.'

                          -Allan Balliett
                        • benonthenet
                          ... Double digging only works if you keep doing it and keep adding compost to the soil...and it is only practical on a small scale like in a garden as opposed
                          Message 12 of 20 , Aug 4, 2004
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                            > Double digging works and it works well, regardless of what theory
                            > may tell you.

                            Double digging only works if you keep doing it and keep adding
                            compost to the soil...and it is only practical on a small scale like
                            in a garden as opposed to a large farm. If you ever stop digging and
                            added compost, you'll begin to have diminishing growth capacity.
                            Whereas in a natural farming situation you get an increasing growth
                            capacity.

                            That said if what you are doing is working for you, keep doing it. My
                            hope is that largescale farmers will continue to recognize how their
                            tilling damages soil and precipitates undesirable environmental
                            changes.

                            Many farmers have begun to shift over to no-till because of the
                            difficulty of keeping the land productive through tilling. They are
                            finding that it is more cost effective to do without tilling and
                            maintains fertility better. That's not theory, for them it's the
                            bottom dollar. For a change, the bottom dollar is good for the
                            environment.

                            Benjamin
                          • Calin A. Radulescu
                            how about in a place where there is no topsoil at all ? the spot i intend to garden is in the Florida Panhandle , the soil is read loam covered with a few
                            Message 13 of 20 , Aug 4, 2004
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                              how about in a place where there is no topsoil at all
                              ? the spot i intend to garden is in the Florida
                              Panhandle , the soil is read loam covered with a few
                              inches of sand . there are pretty big longleaf pines
                              growing naturally some smaller oak and saw palmetto,
                              not too many weeds. this may be common to other sub-
                              tropical areas where lots of heat and humidity make
                              organic matter descompose fast but it doesn't stay
                              in place as hummus. the acidity of the soil doesn't
                              help much either. what would be the better way to
                              go about this ?




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                            • francisco cotejo
                              Dear Calin, I am living in the tropics and your contention that organic materials dissapear fast and does not leave humus behind may not be 100% true,
                              Message 14 of 20 , Aug 4, 2004
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                                Dear Calin,

                                I am living in the tropics and your contention that organic materials dissapear fast and does not leave humus behind may not be 100% true, particularly in places where there are plenty of vegetation, as tropical climate encourages growth of any vegetation. Of course, as long as site/soil conditions favor it.

                                It maybe true in your place as your very scare vegetation can hardly produce organic materials. How about adding organic materials, i.e., grass clippings, sawdust, kitchen refuse, etc.?

                                Or how about correcting first the acidity of your soil? Adding lime, wood/boiler ash, rock P, etc may help. Then broadcast seeds of any leguminous cover crops, shrubs or trees.

                                Francisco

                                "Calin A. Radulescu" <crandrei@...> wrote:

                                how about in a place where there is no topsoil at all
                                ? the spot i intend to garden is in the Florida
                                Panhandle , the soil is read loam covered with a few
                                inches of sand . there are pretty big longleaf pines
                                growing naturally some smaller oak and saw palmetto,
                                not too many weeds. this may be common to other sub-
                                tropical areas where lots of heat and humidity make
                                organic matter descompose fast but it doesn't stay
                                in place as hummus. the acidity of the soil doesn't
                                help much either. what would be the better way to
                                go about this ?




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                              • benonthenet
                                Part of natural gardening is planting site appropriate plants. If you have acid soil, do some research on food crops that prefer or tolerante acid sandy soil.
                                Message 15 of 20 , Aug 4, 2004
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                                  Part of natural gardening is planting site appropriate plants. If you
                                  have acid soil, do some research on food crops that prefer or
                                  tolerante acid sandy soil. Seagrape and sea kale come to mind for me.
                                  You can plant and harvest them without having to change the ph of the
                                  soil. As the soil naturally changes you'll find that it will host
                                  more kinds of crops.

                                  Benjamin
                                • francisco cotejo
                                  Dear Benjamin, You are right but sometimes we want to plant crops that we want and we may have to modify or ameliorate the site a bit, particularly if the
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Aug 4, 2004
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                                    Dear Benjamin,

                                    You are right but sometimes we want to plant crops that we want and we may have to modify or ameliorate the site a bit, particularly if the amelioration required is only liming which entails very low cost or very minimal undertaking.

                                    Francisco

                                    benonthenet <benonthenet@...> wrote:
                                    Part of natural gardening is planting site appropriate plants. If you
                                    have acid soil, do some research on food crops that prefer or
                                    tolerante acid sandy soil. Seagrape and sea kale come to mind for me.
                                    You can plant and harvest them without having to change the ph of the
                                    soil. As the soil naturally changes you'll find that it will host
                                    more kinds of crops.

                                    Benjamin


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                                  • Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry
                                    ... more you go toward the tropics and more the fertility of the soil is in the vegetation , in temperate climates fertility get stored in the soil in the
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Aug 5, 2004
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                                      >
                                      > how about in a place where there is no topsoil at all
                                      > ? the spot i intend to garden is in the Florida
                                      > Panhandle , the soil is read loam covered with a few
                                      > inches of sand . there are pretty big longleaf pines
                                      > growing naturally some smaller oak and saw palmetto,
                                      > not too many weeds. this may be common to other sub-
                                      > tropical areas where lots of heat and humidity make
                                      > organic matter descompose fast but it doesn't stay
                                      > in place as hummus. the acidity of the soil doesn't
                                      > help much either. what would be the better way to
                                      > go about this ?

                                      more you go toward the tropics and more the fertility of the soil is in the
                                      vegetation , in temperate climates fertility get stored in the soil in the
                                      winter .
                                      in the tropic you got to maintain a dense diverse vegetation on your land
                                      at all time .
                                      i have seen a natural farm in india in an aera where only cashews and
                                      coconuts grow on white sand with no weeds.underneath
                                      this farm is a luxurious multistory edible forest , an eden in the middle
                                      of the desert . he did used by products of the coir industry to speed up
                                      the process but again plants grown on the spot could produce this organic
                                      mater with way less effort.

                                      i am also growing my vegetable garden on a rock bluff with no top soil to
                                      start with .
                                      jean-claude
                                    • Gloria C. Baikauskas
                                      I would suggest you read Faulkner s Plowman s Folly online at http://www.soilandhealth.org He answers some of this there. He speaks of a tree growing on
                                      Message 18 of 20 , Aug 11, 2004
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                                        I would suggest you read Faulkner's "Plowman's Folly" online at
                                        http://www.soilandhealth.org He answers some of this there. He
                                        speaks of a tree growing on solid rock, for instance.

                                        Gloria
                                        --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Calin A. Radulescu"
                                        <crandrei@y...> wrote:
                                        >
                                        > how about in a place where there is no topsoil at all
                                        > ? the spot i intend to garden is in the Florida
                                        > Panhandle , the soil is read loam covered with a few
                                        > inches of sand . there are pretty big longleaf pines
                                        > growing naturally some smaller oak and saw palmetto,
                                        > not too many weeds. this may be common to other sub-
                                        > tropical areas where lots of heat and humidity make
                                        > organic matter descompose fast but it doesn't stay
                                        > in place as hummus. the acidity of the soil doesn't
                                        > help much either. what would be the better way to
                                        > go about this ?
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > __________________________________
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                                      • Sergio Montinola
                                        Dear Gloria, Try to read, No dig, no weed Gardening by Raymond P. Poincelot. Regards, Sergio J. Montinola Philippines ... __________________________________
                                        Message 19 of 20 , Aug 12, 2004
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                                          Dear Gloria,

                                          Try to read, "No dig, no weed Gardening" by Raymond P.
                                          Poincelot.

                                          Regards,
                                          Sergio J. Montinola
                                          Philippines




                                          --- "Gloria C. Baikauskas" <gcb49@...> wrote:

                                          >
                                          > I would suggest you read Faulkner's "Plowman's
                                          > Folly" online at
                                          > http://www.soilandhealth.org He answers some of
                                          > this there. He
                                          > speaks of a tree growing on solid rock, for
                                          > instance.
                                          >
                                          > Gloria
                                          > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Calin A.
                                          > Radulescu"
                                          > <crandrei@y...> wrote:
                                          > >
                                          > > how about in a place where there is no topsoil at
                                          > all
                                          > > ? the spot i intend to garden is in the Florida
                                          > > Panhandle , the soil is read loam covered with a
                                          > few
                                          > > inches of sand . there are pretty big longleaf
                                          > pines
                                          > > growing naturally some smaller oak and saw
                                          > palmetto,
                                          > > not too many weeds. this may be common to other
                                          > sub-
                                          > > tropical areas where lots of heat and humidity
                                          > make
                                          > > organic matter descompose fast but it doesn't stay
                                          > > in place as hummus. the acidity of the soil
                                          > doesn't
                                          > > help much either. what would be the better way to
                                          > > go about this ?
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > > __________________________________
                                          > > Do you Yahoo!?
                                          > > Take Yahoo! Mail with you! Get it on your mobile
                                          > phone.
                                          > > http://mobile.yahoo.com/maildemo
                                          >
                                          >





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