Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate

Posted by Thomas Murphy on 6/26/2016

Does water pool and puddle in your garden and is the soil is slow to drain? Soil drainage is one of a gardener's biggest challenges. Soil Drainage A term used in both home gardening and landscape as well as in commercial agriculture and farming, soil drainage refers to the soil’s ability to process either water from irrigation or rainfall. Ideally, soil should absorb normal amounts of rainfall rather quickly with no standing water remaining nor leaving an excessive amount of water to run off. If your soil meets this general description, it could be said to have good drainage. Compacted soil that exhibits problems absorbing and ingesting normal rainfall is said to have poor drainage. Improving Soil Drainage The reasons for poor soil drainage are varied and many. Poor drainage can be an indication of organic matter in the soil such as humus, which absorbs a large amount of water. One of the best things to do to improve your soil is to add well-aged manure on a regular basis until the organic matter content has been significantly enhanced. Have you noticed areas in your garden that never produce significant growth? It may be an indication of poor drainage. When drainage is inadequate, rain water runs off and soil become powder dry during periods of drought. In areas like this, plants cannot survive unless provided with supplemental moisture. Causes Of Poor Soil Drainage In cases of poor drainage, an investigation will typically reveal a layer or layers of rock or shale a foot of more below the soil surface. Obviously, in this case, the water absorbing ability of the topsoil is limited, and plant root growth is confined to these few inches of soil. If it isn’t possible to break up the rock and remove the impediment, the only solution is to move the location of the garden. One of the primary reasons for poor soil drainage is caused by a build-up of hardpan created by excessive applications of chemical fertilizer over an extended period. Water-soluble salts are taken into the soil by rainwater and leached into other elements such as iron, forming a compacted, impermeable layer that separates topsoil from the subsoil. This type of layer under the topsoil is a major cause of frost heaving during the winter or of plant death in the summer when plants fail to thrive, drowning with their roots in standing water. Soil layering is another reason to avoid the application of chemical fertilizers. You will not have this problem if you establish the garden is a fresh location of the landscape that has not been treated with chemical fertilizers, and you use only organic gardening methods. If you are stuck having to work with garden soil with hardpan layering, the only solution is to try to bust it up mechanically and incorporate age-manure into the soil to provide missing nutrients and texture. Planting rotating cover crops of plants with deep tap roots can help to break up a hardpan layer. Known as pioneering herbaceous plants, horseradish, fennel, alfalfa, root parsley, false indigo, and Angelica produces taproots that create channels in the soil that allows moisture to penetrate.

Tags: soil   hardpan   manure  
Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Thomas Murphy on 1/24/2016

Composting is easy to do and helps reduce household waste significantly. If you want to start composting, feel free to begin right at the earth’s level, on the ground. The key to a good compost pile is being sure to layer your items in moderation, allowing air flow and liquids to permeate the entire pile. Be sure to drill some holes in a covered container, allowing air and rain to pass through. If you do not have the space, start small or consider a local community compost option. Start right on the ground with a layer of sticks and grass or hay. As you build from the ground up, add moist layers of household waste and then dry layers of household waste. More carbon than nitrogen is necessary. Carbon examples would be coffee filters, cornstalks, egg shells, peels and wood ash (be sure they are not hot ashes or this whole situation will get out of hand). Nitrogen examples would be manure, lawn clippings, leaves and food scraps. Layering (wet, dry, wet, dry) is key to your compost becoming the rich soil you are striving to create. Layering accordingly will allow for airflow and faster compost. Too many ashes at once will clump and you will be unable to “churn” the composted pile. If you wish to use a bucket or an official com-poster, be sure to layer in the same fashion. Remember to cover this pile; heat retention is important, as well as controlled rain. Too much rain will ruin what you are trying to do. Moist is good, soaked is not good. Now that you are on your way to composting, be sure to turn that pile every few weeks, allowing the oxygen to do its thing. A great way to “churn” your pile is using a pitch fork. Oxygen is important to the breakdown of composted items. If you have an official com-poster, you may see results that much faster. Be patient, this will take some time, but the end result will be well worth it for you, your garden, and your patio plants. Quick note, do not add the following items to your compost pile, this will breed bacteria and attract pests: Any personal products such as toilet paper or tampons, raw rice is a bacterial breeding ground, cooked rice attracts pests, milk products (cream, milk, yogurt) or animal products (bones, blood, fish) should be off limits. Magazine paper or heavily coated paper will just add chemicals to your all natural setting and will not break down any time soon.

Tags: composting   recycle waste   soil  
Categories: Uncategorized