While planting the orchard last spring, we used several hundred gallons of rotten wood that was sifted through the rotary sifter to ammend the planting holes for the trees and bushes.
The rotten wood of conifers such as Doug-fir make an excellent substitute for peat moss. It took quite a lot of scrounging last spring to come up with all the material to run through the sifter. This year will be a lot easier…
Not only are there many less plants to put in the ground, but we also came across an old fir that had been cut down many years ago and left to decay. The wood was just rotten enough that it crumbles when stepped on. So, the five of us spend an hour and a half with shovels and a tarp doing a “stomp and grind” dance on the rotten wood. Nice to have material that breaks down enough without having to use the sifter.
This session netted 120 gallons of pretty finely ground rotten wood. Not bad for an hour and a half. I used about 15 gallons to plant an Arkansas Black apple, an Autumn Rose peach, a Bluejay blueberry, 3 grapes (Venus, Vanessa and Black Manukka) and a Crimson Cherry rhubarb crown. I picked these up from Applegate Nursery down in the nearby Applegate Valley. Very nice place!
The remainder will be used to plant the additional trees and bushes coming in from Rolling River Nursery (www.rollingrivernursery.com) in a few weeks, as well as for ammending the soil in the wood chip hugelkultur vegetable beds we are working on. A few gallons will also be sifted for fine material to use in planting flats for sowing annuals and perennials for the comming growing season.