Author Topic: Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.  (Read 4132 times)

starling1

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Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.
« on: July 31, 2014, 08:38:22 PM »
So I finished digging a bed this week, it's 10 feet long, 1 meter deep, 1 meter wide. I did this by hand with a mattock and a shovel, and it sucked. Basically I'm on hard baked clay that isn't far off being brick, and to make it worse there's eucalyptus roots all through it. Not fun work. Has to be done because nothing can grow in  unamended soil at my patch. I don't think it even qualifies as soil.

Soil sample:




Anyway, I was all chuffed at being done before I hit something getting out the last remnants of soil. This turned out to be irrigation pipe--irrigation pipe with the mains power cable running underneath.



So after I'd calmed down, having first considered how close I had come to frying myself, I'm now at the point of despair having realized that I just can't plant fruit trees on top of my power cable. A lot of work went into the trench, and I don't want all that to have been for nothing.





I'm wondering if I can fill this with half compost and half mineral soil, and plant bananas in it. I'm thinking the roots wouldn't be invasive or strong enough to cause any real damage to the power cable.

Extra pics are of the beginning stages of a dragonfruit grove I'm building. So far I have eight holes 4 feet deep by 1 1/2 wide. I plan on having sixteen 6 foot trellises all up. Little muntigia as a pioneer tree which I hope will create a bit of shade and a wind break.




« Last Edit: July 31, 2014, 11:11:30 PM by starling1 »

bangkok

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Re: Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2014, 09:18:16 PM »
Power cable is not as bad as the drainpipe who has to be on a slight slope. Power cable can stand a little pushing from roots i guess. Maybe you can grow the tree's in a superoots pot for a year first so it will have a small compact rootsystem.


buddyguygreen

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Re: Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2014, 11:03:36 PM »
you could make an awesome banana patch, the roots wouldnt do anything to any cables or pipes. Or you could put something with surface roots, maybe even if you put a makeshift fence for vines.

starling1

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Re: Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2014, 11:15:45 PM »
Yeah--I'm leaning towards nanas.

Maybe I'd get away with papaya as well? I have a few little dwarf F1 reds I could squeeze in between some namwa. They both like the same stuff.

shaneatwell

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Re: Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2014, 11:18:08 PM »
Never heard of planting over power conduits/pipes being a problem. I got all sorts of things over mine.

Irrigation is another issue, especially if its leaky.
Shane

Thefatcuban

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Re: Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2014, 11:21:53 PM »
Not a tree but pineapples should work
Josh

starling1

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Re: Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2014, 12:10:13 AM »
Never heard of planting over power conduits/pipes being a problem. I got all sorts of things over mine.

Irrigation is another issue, especially if its leaky.

Roots can damage the cable, but the main issue is access. If there needs to be some work done on the line, it's goodbye trees as they will have to be dug up. I don't want to grow a fruit tree for ten years and be thwarted at the last by a power problem....I can't imagine how frustrating that would be.

nullzero

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Re: Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2014, 12:56:24 AM »
Never heard of planting over power conduits/pipes being a problem. I got all sorts of things over mine.

Irrigation is another issue, especially if its leaky.

Roots can damage the cable, but the main issue is access. If there needs to be some work done on the line, it's goodbye trees as they will have to be dug up. I don't want to grow a fruit tree for ten years and be thwarted at the last by a power problem....I can't imagine how frustrating that would be.

Drop some gravel down and superoot containers ontop. Setup a irrigation system or grow something like Cereus sp. and fruiting cactus in the containers. I would make use of the space but would not bother planting in the ground in that situation. You could try annual or short perennial vegetables in a raised bed over the area as well. If you have plenty of space, then skip over the area completely.
Grow mainly fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

frukt

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Re: Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2014, 01:21:56 AM »
bananas sounds great! And big UP forn that digging work! Im also working with handtools and portland finest clay, One good thing about it is that it makes a great house if you mix it with straw ;D

shaneatwell

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Re: Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2014, 01:42:41 AM »
Never heard of planting over power conduits/pipes being a problem. I got all sorts of things over mine.

Irrigation is another issue, especially if its leaky.

Roots can damage the cable, but the main issue is access. If there needs to be some work done on the line, it's goodbye trees as they will have to be dug up. I don't want to grow a fruit tree for ten years and be thwarted at the last by a power problem....I can't imagine how frustrating that would be.

I thought about that, but I figure I can just move the tree(s) if necessary. There was a huge fan palm there before and I let a guy come dig it up and plant it at his house.
Shane

starling1

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Re: Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2014, 01:50:24 AM »
bananas sounds great! And big UP forn that digging work! Im also working with handtools and portland finest clay, One good thing about it is that it makes a great house if you mix it with straw ;D

I've actually thought about doing this. I think the word in english is cob--pretty much clay mixed with some roughage, straw, anything. I wouldn't build a house, but I might be able to build a retaining wall out of it. Firing the bricks would be the challenge. No idea how to do that.

frukt

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Re: Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2014, 04:37:06 AM »
My wife is extending our house like that. She makes a hole in the ground and pour water in it. Then she tramps the claysoil togehter with straw and maybe some sand. Then when its mixed properly she takes small pieces and put them on the wall like a brick. Everyday you can make 20 cm before it has to dry. There is other ways if somebody want to built it faster. Like making bricks first and dry them in the sun or to make a form and pour the mix inside.

Its a lot of work but if everything is allready there to built then why not. I tell you that it holds really really good but you know that allready from the digging right  ;)

zands

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Re: Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2014, 09:04:16 AM »
My wife is extending our house like that. She makes a hole in the ground and pour water in it. Then she tramps the claysoil togehter with straw and maybe some sand. Then when its mixed properly she takes small pieces and put them on the wall like a brick. Everyday you can make 20 cm before it has to dry. There is other ways if somebody want to built it faster. Like making bricks first and dry them in the sun or to make a form and pour the mix inside.

Its a lot of work but if everything is allready there to built then why not. I tell you that it holds really really good but you know that allready from the digging right  ;)

Correct...access is the key. Comcast cable guys came here 7 years ago to work on underground cables. They killed two trees that fortunately were not fruit trees. They said they would replace one but then came by and righted it best they could. It looked OK but died 5 months afetr

In your case I would risk a few fruit trees. based on how likely will they need access? Probably not all unless you think you may have damaged the cable. In this case have them check it out and verify integrity...then plant way!

My take is power cables will never be dug up by your power company. They have easier ways of detecting underground problems while standing above ground just by the large current flows leaking out. The power company workers will be less invasive due to the high currents meaning easier detection without digging all over

In my own yard a huge hole was dug by the phone company to find failed wires (a lightning strike did it) in a cable that had hundreds or thousands of customers copper wire pairs. This could not be detected from above ground due to much lower current flows in phone wires




treefrog

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Re: Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2014, 10:35:45 AM »
papayas have a fairly shallow root system, and each papaya "tree" only lasts two or three years.  same dodge as with bananas.  why not use the area as a vegetable garden.  most veggies are annuals, and have shallow roots.
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franciscu

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Re: Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2014, 01:28:37 PM »
Not sure, but I think that crews doing service on an underground cable would usually just dig around an obstacle and lay the replacement cable in the new trench. Nothing sacred about where the old cable was. Much cheaper and easier than excavating through a big tree.

bangkok

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Re: Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2014, 07:10:03 PM »
Not sure, but I think that crews doing service on an underground cable would usually just dig around an obstacle and lay the replacement cable in the new trench. Nothing sacred about where the old cable was. Much cheaper and easier than excavating through a big tree.

Here in Holland they don't dig for cables anymore, they shoot them underground with a special machine. Don't know if they also can do that with thick electric cables but with fibre and networkcables they do it to all the houses in a street.

Mr. Clean

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Re: Trying to salvage a lot of Labor--need advice.
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2014, 11:26:41 AM »
I wouldn't risk putting anything by the underground powerlines.  Where I live we call one phone number and all utilities are located for us free of charge in a few days.  It prevents problems like what you are facing. 
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