Deep Into the Landscape – How to transform a cement-laden patio into an edible forest garden? – Part I
Try the pavement’s consistency out with a heavy sledgehammer. Listen and watch how it trembles. Notice any hollow parts.
Clearly delineate the area you want to open with some string.
If there is the need for straight lines, a cutting tool could be useful.
Start opening the first hole with a pickaxe so to gain access to the pavement’s underlayers.
Continue to unravel the various overlapping strata. Consider which materials might potentially pose as contaminants; asphalt for one.
Weaken the pavement’s horizontal structure making it possible to leverage small gravel conglomerates which begin to break apart from each other.
Widen the working area, bringing the sledgehammer back whenever necessary.
Regularly remove the larger pieces of gravel, so to keep breaking the ground up with ease.
Upon reaching the soil, check if there are any large buried stones. These occupy large volumes, which plant roots could use.
Use the pickaxe to leverage these large stones out of the soil.
In case they are too heavy to be moved all at once, use a hammer and chisel to break them into smaller more manageable pieces.
Hoe the soil to separate the remaining stones from any aggregates that can still be fragmented.
Sieve the first layers of soil to remove smaller pebbles.
Check the proportion between organic matter and the minerals of various grain sizes.
Perform chemical tests so to know which soluble nutrients are already available in the soil.
End of part I – Continues in part II
This project is being developed at CCOP’s patio, Rua Duque de Loulé 202, Porto. It emerged in the context of «Pastos e Pastos - Gallery Energy», programmed by Galeria Municipal do Porto. It includes an exhibition at Mercado do Bolhão, where the steps in its development are displayed. The project has received support from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and took form throughout two artistic residencies, at Coliseu do Porto and Galeria do Sol.