Rain Gardens at the Residence: The Installation

Wednesday, August 9th

Today we excavated the first rain garden! The soil was amended with this cool thing called BIOCHAR. Basically is charcoal. Wood is burned without the presence of oxygen (a process called pyrolysis) which burns off almost everything in the wood except the carbon. Biochar has an incredibly high amount of pore space and when mixed in to the soil, helps retain nutrients and water for plant uptake! It also stays in the soil for hundreds of years. Besides biochar, we also added sand and compost to improve drainage and add nutrients to the soil. Anyway here are some pictures of dirt:

The bobcat is breaking up the clay soil, making it easier to mix with the soil amendments

Here is a close-up picture of me holding some biochar in my hands

 

Here you can see the broken up subsoil about to be mixed with the biochar, compost, and sand

After all the amendments were dumped, they were mixed together with the Bobcat, then more thoroughly rototilled into the soil.

Friday, August 11th

Today we got to actually PLANT the rain garden!!! Very exciting! After many revisions of the plant species, I finally got a plant list that was in stock! Here is the final planting plan. We only planted the larger bed today.

Also, I designed informational boards for the Residence to display during tours! Here they are: Gov Rain Garden Boards

My mom came along with me to help out. And, of course we had the assistance of the maintenance guys!

The plants have arrived!

Me holding some marginal wood ferns

Loading the plants up

Laying out the pots

Finished the pot layout!

Little bluestem eagerly waiting to be planted!

This lucky guy is about to be planted in the ground!

Planting is finished!

We finished planting around noon and had a nice lunch with the Resident’s staff. After lunch, we needed to mulch the bed. Despite the rain on the radar and clouds hanging low in the sky, my mom and I decided to stay and keep mulching while the maintenance guys had other responsibilities to tend to. To no ones surprise, it started to rain. Then it started to downpour. But my mom seemed pretty determined to finish so I wasn’t going to say anything. By the time we were done, the rain was hammering down and visibility was minimal. Also we were soaked. But at least there was a rain garden to capture all that water!

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