Guerilla Gardening in Philly - Soil Building Update

Last week (August 9th) I sowed cover crops on a vacant lot in the city.  The goal is soil-building; both the addition of biomass above ground, and the decomposition of demolished homes below.  So I selected three different cover crops, mixed their seed, and sowed them equally across three test plots of different growth mediums.

"Guerilla Gardening in Philly, Stage 1" explains the crops and plots.



After seven days of extreme heat and diligent watering, we have green.  Both the tilled dirt and the added compost plots have germinated what looks like all three cover crops.  The unaltered grass plot seems to have very few sprouts, although it's difficult to tell this early.

Germination on plot #1, tilled.


Germination on plot #2, cardboarded and composted.
[Philly residents get free compost from the city's Organic Recycling Center.]

Also without germination is a 30 square foot rectangular area that spans all three plots.  Here I experimented with covering the ground with clear plastic, for retaining both warmth and moisture, to hopefully assist with germination.  It seemed to have the opposite effect, possibly sterilizing the soil with extreme heat.  Lesson learned.

A failure of a test plot is a success in the testing process.

Section without germination (center).

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