With mulch and a little fertilizer, soil building is possible even on bare rock.
Climbing vines like these can help the process of breaking down mulch into soil constituents.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
The author displays a gardening implement of his own invention: a plastic jug head attached to a plastic pipe. It's not for soil building but seed planting—stick the end of the pipe in the ground, put your seeds in the jug, and funnel them down.
PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
These 4 1/2 lb potatoes grew in about 15 inches of leaves.