Soil Building Method 1

  • Depending on the soil, some of the projects I do start with putting cardboard down to suppress unwanted weeds & hold moisture.

    • The bigger the pieces the better and make sure it isn't waxed.

  • Add nitrogen next, either manure or food scraps, as a layer or intermittent piles will help in the soil building process.

  • Then covering it with wood chips makes it more aesthetic. If you choose to add nitrogen make sure you cover it well.

  • Building soil in neglected spaces will take time & its best to be done in the fall to take advantage of the moisture.

Soil Building Method II

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Trench Composting!” If you have the space this is the way to compost. No pile to look at, no turning, full nitrogen content, putting MUCH NEEDED carbon back in the soil.

1. Dig Trench or Hole 2. Fill w/carbon(cardboard, any dead organic material even cloths) & or nitrogen (weeds, grass, food craps, manure, green stuff) 3. Cover hole w/dirt 4. Cover soil with leaves, wood chips or seed a green manure/cover crop. With this project I added a chopped up pallet to put more carbon back in the system


I like to plant a dense variety of natives, perennial trees, shrubs, flowers & cover crops.

Wicking Bed (in bathtub)

  1. Plug drain hole with plumber's putty and stopper

  2. Put down your piping. I used corrugated irrigation pipe.

  3. Cover pipe with gravel or sand.

  4. Cover gravel with geotextile fabric or shade cloth.

  5. Make an overflow hole just above fabric so you know when to stop watering.

  6. Put down your soil.


1. Dig hole, 2. Fill w/organics, 3. Cover, 4. Establish edges, 5. Seed c. crop/g. maunure (buckwheat)

Wheelie Pooper by Abe Coley/Jacob Bahns

  • Above ground humanure design w/urine diversion funnel hose.

  • 32 gal. bucket worked for us w/urine going into 5 gal. bucket filled w/sawdust

Her is the one that Abe built for himself:

In ground wicking bed (gopher proof)

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1. Find a vessel at least 18” deep. Here I cut 55 gal. drums in half. 2. Dig a hole for the vessel. Dril some holes around the bottom so water can drain out. Get some soaker hoses & coil them around the bottom but allow access to end. 3. Cover hose W/ gravel or sand 4. Put down geo-textile fabric of your choice 5. Fill rest of vessel with dirt 6. Cover crop.

Passive rainwater catch w/urbanite

  1. Put up gutter, , 2. Dig Hole, 3. Fill w/urbanite, 4. Optinal: fill with chips/manure/dirt & seed water loving perreian