Northern Idaho (Anyone From) : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

A client of mine in California who is DYING to move up here to God's country told me about this site. Since our growing season is so short and our winters so long, I'd like to find someong in Sandpoint, CDA or Bonners Ferry to chat with. I'm spending my first summer on my new land which has been logged, cleared, brushed and burned. Now, I have a forest floor, buried stumps, roots and lousy soil to deal with. I'm building next summer so, this year is road, garden, chickens, trees and flower beds. Where do I start???? It's kind of overwhelming. Any helpful hints would be much appreciated. judy, judy, judy from Sandpoint, Idaho.

-- Judy Delucchi (, April 22, 2001


Response to Northern Idaho

Judy, Start by planning out where you want everything to be..taking into account the natural lay of the land. Start composting as soon as possible. Get your chickens in and when you have enough waste matter compost it. It will help to improve your soil for gardening. Check out the "Rodale Institue" site also for suggestions of cover crops that may help your soil. Chip as much of the wood as you can to use as mulch. If you are going to try and get a garden started this year I'd try raised start seedling NOW for planting after your last frost date...ours is 22 May. You didn't mention how much land or your water source, need them close to your growing. Although I'm not in Idaho we have a very short season here in WY too. Good luck.

-- Deborah (, April 22, 2001.

If you have lousey soil and you want to garden this year, you'll have to bring in your beds. You need to clean out someone's barn and haul it all out there and make raised beds. Pick a southern spot for your garden, with a slight slope for drainage, with the rows going down the direction of the slope. You can just start making your rows by piling up the stuff where you want it. Have everyone save you their grass clippings in bags all year and add all of those. Just make sure they don't spray their lawn.

You can just leave the rows without walls or make little walls out of block or logs. My rows are just sitting there, nothing holding them up. You could get some good rows in and have a litte time for them to sit before you have to plant. I've planted right in barn cleanings and had jungles of cantalope and watermelon.

Find someone with rabbits, that's the best manure, and won't hurt the plants after they are in. You can buy your plants in 6 packs and fill the holes around them with good dirt. Then cover your rows with some straw, and let the worms take over making your soil. You can still have a good garden, and it'll just get better and better each year as you keep adding stuff to it. Sounds like you are going to have a lot of fun!

-- Cindy in Ky (, April 22, 2001.

In about a month I'm moving to a place about an hour to the west of sandpoint.

Our land had a similar start - lots of clearcut and now poor soil remains. Fortunately, there is already a house there.

How many acres do you have? Any creeks?

Look for the book "Back to Basics" from Reader's Digest - it has heaps of general info.

I've been studying a lot on cover crops and green manures to try and build the soil. For chickens, I like the "Pastured Poultry Profits" by Salatin and "Salad Bar Beef" by the same guy.

-- Paul Wheaton (, April 23, 2001.

Hi Judy - not from Sandpoint, but Idaho City. Sounds like you got your hands full!!

I have a hint about the chickens... There is a place in Caldwell (down here by Boise) called Dunlap Hatcheries. Their prices are great - and if they drive that far, delivery will be free!! Call them for their catalog... Ask for the price list, and the color poultry and equiptment catalogs, too. (They only send the second two out to people who ask expressly for them.) their number is: 208 - 459 - 9088.

Also - you have a really handy extension service up there. Ask them for a little help with the stump removal. They can also tell you, if you don't already know, what chemicals were used on that fire.

-- Sue Diederich (, April 23, 2001.

Logged, cleared, brushed, and burned! Sounds like your land has really been raped!! How noble of you to take on the task of restoring the land. So many people around here just view the land as some kind of a commodity to be bought, sold, used in whatever way gleans them the most money and then abandoned or left in a very sorry state. It's refreshing to hear from someone who really cares.

Unfortunately, forest soil is often not very fertile, and after the graders and heavy logging equipment disturbs the soil, the land often reverts to noxious weeds such as knapweed, thistles, and the like because that is about all that will grow there. Often jackpine will come up very thickly in such a site, but this should be thinned and managed if you want it to be a nice forest. Otherwise it will grow up overcrowded and spindly. Eventually though, they will grow up enough to have something green on the land so it won't be so ugly looking. To control the jackpine and weeds in the areas where you don't want it to be forest, I would recommend a couple of brush goats, fenced with high tesile electric fence such as the New Zealand type. In the garden site area, put down as much compost as you can haul to the site. It might even be worthwhile to make raised beds with logs or board sides and just fill them with topsoil and compost if the soil is that bad, for right now. Later on you can tackle the task of restoring the rest of the soil to a better condition. Same thing with the flower beds, but they do not require so much compost. They should have more sand. You can probably sow California poppies around the house site, they do not mind poor soil and will reseed every year. They bloom all summer long and have a nice natural appearance. Since your site was a forest floor it will tend to regrow into a forest, but I don't know if I could stand to wait for it to regrow from the seeds. I'd be tempted to plant some native conifers out, irregularly so they don't grow in rows. I think that these trees can be bought cheaply from the forest service or maybe the county extension service would know more about where to get them cheaply.

North Idaho is a beautiful place to live, when I moved here it seemed so clean and pure. But when I look out my window I see a mountain with a bald brown square on its dark green hump. That square looks so tacky from here. I have to wonder whether people around here have any asthetic sense at all! I guess they just want it to grow up into a big resort type place with lots of golf courses, subdivisions, a tourist trap without any of the original charm and wildness that initially made it so attractive. At this rate, it won't be 'God's country' for much longer.

-- Chamoisee (, April 25, 2001.

We are a couple hours west of Sandpoint, but across the Washington line. Very short season here, too, but it sure is beautiful, and full of interesting people, too. Good luck!

-- Fran Ogren (, July 05, 2001.

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