Last spring, we did a big erosion control planting on  the hillside next to the would-be barn. But then we had delays in planning. All of the shade-loving plants I’d chosen to be sheltered by the barn withered in the hot summer sun. The sandy soil didn’t encourage grass growth, and our running-loose chickens likely consumed much of the grass seed we put down. By fall, we hadn’t made much progress on re-vegetating the hillside after removing the blackberries.

When we did the final cleanup and grading for the new barn, there was a strip of antiquated manure and bedding from the old barn. We didn’t want that decomposing layer under the new concrete; so I had the epiphany to ask the excavator operator to sprinkle it on the hillside. He did an excellent and delicate job, avoiding impacting the surviving plants, and spreading a nice even layer. This did the trick to allow grass seed to take hold last fall (that, and the penning-up of the seed-eating chickens).

I bought another batch of 184 erosion control plants from the Conservation District this spring, and got them all in the ground yesterday. It took me a few hours, but all in all, they were pretty easy to plant since they are small and the soil was loose. Hopefully this year they’ll thrive and make for a nice-looking and slide-free hillside.