"A", who also lives on Big Island, wrote to ask me where I get my garden soil from. Quite honestly, I don't buy it. In fact, I'm quite leery about importing soil onto my farm. Bringing in soil could be introducing serious unwanted pests, plant disease, or weeds. I've already got enough little nasties to deal with and I surely don't need more! I've heard of other people who have brought centipedes, stinging caterpillars, little fire ants, and coquis to their places via soil and plants. I accidentally brought a coqui frog on building lumber, though hubby and I spent several minutes hunting the buggah down that evening. While I will bring in the Kona mulch, which is raging hot and nasties can't survive the heat, I won't bring in non-heated organic matter nor soil.
So, do I just create all the soil I need? Not hardly! It takes lots of time, effort, and resources to make garden soil. I simply can't do it, at least not enough of it. So where do I get soil? I mine it on my own farm.
The above area that was mined is about 9' x 16'. It's a spot that is destined to be a parking spot for my truck. I could have simply leveled it out some, topped it with gravel, and parked the truck. But I looked at all that decent soil that would be going to waste. What a waste. So I decided to mine it instead. Out came the pick, o-o bar, and baby sledge. Over the course of several weeks I gradually worked my way. I'd remove rocks, scoop out the soil into waiting buckets, then return the rocks. As I worked, the hole behind me got bigger and bigger as the rocks weren't enough to replace the soil volume I was removing. In spots I dug 2' down, in others 3'. I mined quite a bit of soil, which went down to the gardens. Now I'm in the process of bringing rocks to fill in the rest of the hole. It will take me another couple weeks to finish this project. ....... Yes, I'm most likely crazy. But I did get quite a lot of soil added to my garden areas.
This sounds like terrible labor, but I don't find it to be so. I only work about a half hour at a time, so it's a nice workout. No need for an exercise gym membership here!!! No need to pay to work out on somebody else's machines. No need to go jogging for half an hour. I can find plenty of good exercise right here on my farm.
I've moved on from this driveway parking site and am now mining soil down in the dry river bed area. Lots of soil, few rocks, and not nearly the beneficial exercise. I'm currently mining soil for the new greenhouse growing beds.
Yes, as a real estate agent once noted, my farm has deep soil. But it's all between a lot of rocks!