Is it dirt yet?

maureensnc(z7 NC)June 18, 2006

I sheet-mulched in November. Today when I fork off most of the straw, I still see identifiable stuff such as pine straw, hickory hulls, sticks, manure. But I also see LOTS of black worm castings, and each forkful disturbs at least two or three of the most gorgeous earthworms, some 5-8 inches long.

How do I know when it's dirt? Can I plant in this space now? Or should I pull the sheets back up and let it sleep awhile longer?

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beki(z7 CA)

I call it dirt when it holds moisture and is crumbly. I think you could plant now, just pull the top layers away from your seeds and/or transplants, and set them in where their roots will be moist and tended by worms. Leave the layers in place for mulch, don't fork them off. Keep your worms cool and happy.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2006 at 2:49PM
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maureensnc(z7 NC)

ok, thanks, Beki. The straw, etc. that was on top has been moved to a new sheet-mulch project, but today I'm sweeping up the barn floor of the local seed/feed to get lots more straw, including alfalfa, which I'm told is the complete diet the soil needs.
Thanks for your response! I'll be sure to keep my gorgeous worms happy to live here with me.
Hey, here's a stupid question: will worms swallow small seeds? Do I have to put in only established seedlings?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 6:44AM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

I pile up material lasagna style and plant right away! A pocket of soil that covers the rootball, or enough to start a seed (few inches) is all that's needed.

Pull back the mulch in spots and plant right through it!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 2:26PM
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