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[nafex] hole digging
Del, 340 feet of uniform clay??!! I'd like to hear some explanation myself.
Clay's supposed to come from the degradation of rock, but haven't come
across exactly how that happens.
As for pH, we have basswoods (just a few) and maples, oaks, and lots of
hickories on soil that comes with wild blueberries. Even after a minimal
liming, our garden the first year grew nothing unless we dug up the plant
and put manure under it. Our peppers got little brown spots on the leaves,
which shriveled up and fell, leaving only the stems. I thought I'd
identified it as bacterail leaf spot, and it responded well to Bordeaux mix,
which in retrospect is lime-copper. It was the Ca in the spray which saved
the plants from terminal Ca deficiency. The corn grew 12" high and fired
from the bottom up. I beat my head against the books, and finally took a
plant to the co agent. He said it looked like K deficiency, I said that's
what it looked like to me. He said he didn't think that's what it was, we
have plenty of K in our soils, he thought it was low pH preventing K uptake.
Our local trees nodulate for phosphate, as the soil is very poor in P.
We had a lot of broomsedge also, which I grew up calling "povertygrass".
Broomsedge indicates low pH, low N, low P. After we improved the soil a
little, we got lots of a little weed known as "poorjoe" which doesn't sound
too inspiring either. Now that our soil is better, Poorjoe and povertygrass
no longer grow. So don't let those trees fool you, they're the locals who
know how to deal with local soil conditions. Your nice tame trees need the
best. Our corn now grows 10' high, and after years of tossing around lime
and minerals, our fruit trees have finally started to grow. (They never got
compost till the garden became less needy, and no NKP fertilizers have been
used. My hubby won't let me, and my son the chemistry kid says not to, not
after the scandal in Washington state in which it was revealed that the
cheapest way to get rid of toxic wastes was to sell them to a fertilizer as
"inert ingredients".) It's been 7 years now since we bought the place.
According to Neal Kinsey in HANDS ON AGRONOMY, magnesium causes soil
particles to cling together, calcium causes them to spread apart. For a
clay soil you want the CEC saturation to be 70% Ca, 10% Mg, to loosen it.
For a sandy soil, where rapid drainage means low moisture reserves, you want
60% Ca, 20% Mg. to tighten it. We have been buying a lime from the local
quarry with a 10:1 Ca/Mg ratio. All our weeds indicate our Mg is too high,
Ca too low (haven't tested or limed in a couple of years). I am thinking of
going to a quarry 15 miles further away where they have a 99:1 lime, I think
we'd get better results. Donna TN z6