Soil Improvement Question

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Tegs, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. Tegs

    Tegs Junior Member

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    We have just had a dam cleaned out. I had the machine operator spread the muck from the bottom of the dam along side the drive way where i plan to put our food forest. In theory it should be quite fertile with all the weed and muck that was mixed through it. It has however dried into solid clay with a lot of small rocks through it.
    Does anyone have any ideas on improving this soil so that it will be suitable to plant in? I am thinking that I should much it heavily and maybe plant some green manure crops, even sweet potato. What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Bird

    Bird Junior Member

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    organic matter, organic matter, organic matter, is the best way to fix any soil problems. quick fix for clay is usually gypson, sheet mulch over it will stop it turning hard pan, but organic matter and time are allways the best options
     
  3. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    g'day tegs,

    yep sounds about right.

    applying a big dose of gypsum as has been suggested then sheet mulching again as has been suggested will start the recovery road.

    len
     
  4. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    If your property is on a slope, this muck would make ideal swale walls if placed on the down run of the hill.
     
  5. butchasteve

    butchasteve Junior Member

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    While there are downsides, fungus, introduction of nutgrass etc (it is not sterilized), if it is a large area bush mulch may be the answer. cheap and readily available, the smaller particles really break down well, perhaps more effective than the use of straw or lucerne etc.

    as above liberal coat of gypsum, and at LEAST 15cm thick coverage of mulch may be the best way. give it some time, a couple of months, and perhaps use compost in assistance when planting. if you use bush mulch, make sure when you plant that there is a decent gap between the stem of the plant and the mulch to prevent fungi killing your trees.
     
  6. Tegs

    Tegs Junior Member

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    I have an idea, stolen fair and square from Joel Salatin. What if I fenced off the area and put a couple of pigs in. I would mulch as suggested. Would the pigs turn over the mulch into the soil and improve it whilst adding manure or would they just compact it more?
     
  7. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Sometimes there is a build-up of SO2 in soil that has been under water for a while. Also, a build up of anaerobic bacteria.
    Organic matter & gypsum should help. Test the pH of the soil too and see how acid it is.
     
  8. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I wouldn't do the pig thing Tegs as compaction may be a serious consequence - stay with Bird and keep topped up with mulch especially - thats what I would do. For the future you could take something from Peter Andrews and have your dam tailings placed at the top of your site so the nutrient can filter down in time through the site.
     
  9. Tegs

    Tegs Junior Member

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    Thanks for the heads up on that Michaelangelica! I will do a soil test to see what we've got.

    I will spread some gypsum and mulch thickly (I have a massive pile of wood chips that the friendly ergon power tree man left for me) and wait paitently for nature to do it's thing.

    Thanks everyone :)
     
  10. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    would this have been an accidental attempt at gleying, like how dams are sealed with the help of anaerobic bacteria action combined with algae? how would you avoid this whilst still making use of the nutrients?
     
  11. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Sounds good. G'tar Love those tree-haters/butchers at the Power Companies ;)
    The going rate around here for a load is a carton of beer (on their good days). Hope you did better than that.
    Don't dig them in, the wood bits will lock up N. You will probably produce some interesting fungi first ;)
     
  12. Tegs

    Tegs Junior Member

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    Didn't cost me a thing, I just had to take the whole truckload which was fine by me!!!
     

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