TLC continued the restoration work at Ayum Creek Regional Park Reserve on Saturday, April 8th, with the help of the Greater Victoria Green Team volunteers.
Approximately 15 volunteers showed up with smiles on their faces despite the rain, and proceeded to make short work of a mountain of donated cardboard that needed all tape, staples and non-organic materials removed. Once the cardboard was cleaned up, it was spread on top of the freshly pulled and weed-whacked periwinkle, to starve it of light and effectively smother this particularly difficult invasive species. The cardboard will remain in place and be topped with a generous layer of bark chips, which is why all non-organic parts needed to be removed.
This technique is an adapted form of “lasagna gardening” or “sheet composting”, which is a method of soil building used in permaculture. Rather than tilling the soil and breaking up the healthy and critical networks within, you add materials that contain different required nutrients, layering them as you would lasagna. Those of you who compost know the need for proper ratios of “greens and browns”, aka nitrogen and carbon respectively, in order for your compost pile to do its dirty work. Greens can be found in the form of lawn clippings or food waste, while browns can be cardboard, leaf mulch or sawdust. By layering these with other materials like seaweed, eggshells, manure and peat moss, you add in all the various nutrients that a garden needs, without having to introduce chemical fertilizers (which can have disastrous effects on their watersheds).
While removing coarse woody debris from the site to allow the cardboard to lay flat, a few forest friends were found, including the provincially blue-listed Pacific sideband snail (Monadenia fidelis) and the western red-backed salamander. We carefully placed these critters in safer locations while we worked, and look forward to seeing them again when we return!
Our experimental restoration technique used at Ayum Creek to smother invasive species will both smother the plants we don’t want, while building healthy soil for the ones we do want. Only time will tell if it will work, but we have high hopes and look forward to sharing the results with you.
Interested in getting involved? TLC’s next restoration event at Ayum Creek is Saturday, April 29. RSVP to Torrey at 250-479-8053 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.