Working with Clay Soil

What makes clay so sticky? Clay is composed of very minute particles which have a large surface to absorb water. High water content causes the stickiness. Should clay soil be worked when wet? No; never. It puddles and makes a poor environment for roots. Digging too soon in spring may make it practically useless for … Read more

What is Humus?

The need for constantly replacing organic matter in soil lies in its vital role in building up the humus content. But what is humus? Actually, nobody really knows. It is somehow tied up with lignin (a substance from wood), with protein and a colloidal complex – that about states what we know about it. The … Read more

Working with Sandy Soil

We have a sandy lot and wish to enjoy good results. Should we put black topsoil on? Yes. Extremely sandy soil needs loam but also plenty of organic matter. What depth of topsoil should we use on sandy ground? Add 3 inches of loam and spade to a depth of 6 inches. However, without additional … Read more

Green Manure Crops

What is a green manure crop? A cover crop? The term “green manure crop” refers to any crop that may be turned into the soil in an undecomposed, green tissue stage. In contrast, a cover crop refers to a more or less permanent crop used for the purpose of preventing erosion. How are green manure … Read more

Organic Fertilizers

What is organic fertilizer? An organic fertilizer is one which is derived from organic materials – plant or animal substances. All are compounds of carbon. Some of these materials, such as cottonseed meal, bone meal, tankage, and castor pomace, may add small amounts of humus as well as nutrients to the soil. Others, such as … Read more

A Test To Determine Soil Type

All too often, gardeners try to guess what is in their soil and – guess wrong. The only way to be sure is to make a wash test. Light sandy soils that contain little clay are easy to test. Heavier soils with a high clay content are difficult because of the strong electrical attraction of … Read more