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Soil texture - what kind have you got ?
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gil
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Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 18368

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 09 10:45 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

mark wrote:
in the river valley and so is the rich fertile stuff of the flood plain.

Has loads of stones in it though - and whenever we remove them new ones work their way up! a
It also needs watering in dry spells as it drains very easily!

It is very easy to work and to dig - and we have put loads of compost (but no manure) on it.


Sounds very similar to mine - do you have a problem with compaction in wet weather ? My silty loam soil has almost no clay in it - alluvial silt and sand.

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 33629
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 09 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

And mine! And it's compacted badly, possibly due to it being under water 18 months ago, and having pigs on it for a few months more recently. Mixing it 30/60 with mushroom compost has made it very useable, but I have some massive mushrooms growing where my beans should be...

gil
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Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 18368

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 09 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Nick wrote:
And mine! And it's compacted badly, possibly due to it being under water 18 months ago, and having pigs on it for a few months more recently. Mixing it 30/60 with mushroom compost has made it very useable, but I have some massive mushrooms growing where my beans should be...


The pigs will certainly have compacted the soil structure, and the waterlogging will have created anaerobic conditions that do the soil no good - you may need to do some deep digging.

Have you tried digging an exploratory hole and looking at the soil profile ? Dig down as far as you can [at least 1.5-2 feet], and see what it looks like, and feels and smells like.
If you've got grey/blue/yellowish areas that smell 'off' and not like good fresh soil, they need to be dug over to aerate them so the soil microorganisms can revive and start working again.

The more compost you can make and mix in to give your soil some body and structure, the better.
Also, when soil waterlogs and compacts, it becomes more acid.
May be worth checking the pH with a cheap kit from a DIY place [they work well], and if too acid, think about adding a dressing of lime in the autumn.

mark



Joined: 14 Jul 2005
Posts: 2186
Location: Leeds
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 09 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

gil wrote:
mark wrote:
in the river valley and so is the rich fertile stuff of the flood plain.

Has loads of stones in it though - and whenever we remove them new ones work their way up! a
It also needs watering in dry spells as it drains very easily!

It is very easy to work and to dig - and we have put loads of compost (but no manure) on it.


Sounds very similar to mine - do you have a problem with compaction in wet weather ? My silty loam soil has almost no clay in it - alluvial silt and sand.


I think all the organic matter encourages worms who do a good job of keeping soil in good condition despite the predations of an army of Robins (we have two pairs nesting in ivy near door to house - and more round corner! ! Mark

robkb



Joined: 29 May 2009
Posts: 4205
Location: SE London
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 09 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Where I live it's mainly quite heavy clay, but both my garden and allotment have benefitted from liberal doses of compost. And this year on the allotment I've been pleasantly surprised by how much the soil structure has been improved by the green manure I sowed last autumn and overwintered.

Cheers,Rob.

Midland Spinner



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Posts: 2931
Location: Under a green roof
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 09 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I don't need to analyse mine, I know that our garden is on the site of an old sand quarry!
Err. we don't get much trouble with things being too damp, even in the winter!

kate23



Joined: 27 Jul 2009
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 09 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'm on very very heavy blue marine clay. Very hard to work, very hungry and gobbles up humus, but holds on tightly to nutrients. It yields well during dry summers and grass never burns.

Adeplume



Joined: 16 Feb 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 10 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Our place is called La Riviere so we are on sand with clay deeper down. We keep horses so we add lots of old manure which keeps the nutrients coming. Our grass is very reasonable and we don't get muddy in the winter. Farms surrounding us are on heavy clay, the sort that leaves you with six inch soles on your boots when you walk across a field. The potager is nice and easy to work and seems to be supporting all sorts of things like potatoes, beetroot, cabbage to a degree, lettuce, raspberries. The sweetcorn wasn't good last year so I have avoided it this year. This move towards self sufficiency is new for me so I am still very much at the suck it and see stage. I am gaining a lot from all your combined knowledge and experience, thanks.

Truffle



Joined: 07 Feb 2006
Posts: 526

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 10 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We're on a thin layer of peaty soil with sandy clay underneath.
Soil testing completely changed our understanding, the amount of sand in the clay was quite surprising!
pH of the top soil was also incredibly low (~4.3) so we've used significant quantities of lime. Peaty soil is great, but is does dry out quickly.
We launched a soil services lab, just a month ago- so if anyone wants their soil texture (or any other component testing) see: www.MSLAnalysis.com
cheers,
truffle

Vanessa



Joined: 08 May 2006
Posts: 8324

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 10 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Clay. Poor, very hungry clay. That is heavy and claggy in wet weather, and sets like rock in dry weather. *Sigh*

Subsoil is yellow clay ... very heavy indeed.

It's GREAT for growing bindweed and brambles

Currently adding as much manure from a friend as possible. Working well in the raised veggie beds, but not making much impression elsewhere. We're seriously considering a major re-vamp of the garden as a result.

Marches



Joined: 13 Dec 2011
Posts: 171
Location: Nr Peak District, England
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 11 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The garden is big and has a mixture of soils - Cheshire's sand at the top, towards the summit of the hill the garden is on, A good loam over 80% of the garden gradually getting richer and vegetation more lush as the garden gets flatter and then at the bottom, a nasty bit of clay.

The land I rent is quite poor draining, I think it's a very heavy loam with layers of clay below it. It holds a lot of water in winter and bakes solid in summer if exposed. I have thought about planting potatoes and oats on much of it.

Last edited by Marches on Tue Dec 13, 11 8:44 pm; edited 1 time in total

Vanessa



Joined: 08 May 2006
Posts: 8324

PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 11 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Welcome aboard, Marches!

We have a very heavy loam on solid clay base here, so you have my sympathies for the difficulties of working that sort of soil!

Mustang



Joined: 15 Jul 2005
Posts: 768
Location: Sunny Suffolk
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 12 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

No idea! Although I've got quite a big (long) garden, I've membraned it all and all bar 2 plants are in huge pots.

Why? So I can take my precious plants with me when I move, and so I can move plants around during the year to make the most of them in the garden.

gil
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 18368

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 12 1:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Questions Reply with quote    

Greenfingers wrote:
What is the best fertilizer acid brown earths were parent material is low in lime or gleyed soils where the drainage is poor?


I suspect you'd help the soil most by doing something about e drainage and any compaction, and then adding lime.
You could then try digging in strawy muck if you can get hold of it - this will add some texture to the soil, as well as N.

Pea



Joined: 19 Sep 2005
Posts: 959
Location: Rugby
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 12 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The soil around here is mostly clay with a lot of lias but my veg patch is made up of dredging's from when we re-linked an old arm back to the canal. It is very silty and fertile, it does pan out in heavy rain and drys well in the sun but I have found that when dry it is only the top couple of cm's and it is still wet underneath, I don't need to water everyday.

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