[Market-farming] Cloddy soil

Art Petrzelka art at complum.com
Tue May 27 19:56:12 EDT 2003


On Tuesday 27 May 2003 19:27, Marie Kamphefner wrote:
> and everywhere else, it's soft and easy to work with.  This soil was the
> sheep pen for several years and we've just been growing clover and
> orchard grass in there.  Haven't been any sheep in there for a couple of
> years.

Marie, I have my share of clods, between mistakes and a 16-year old son who 
loves farming and isn't as patient as he could be...
I'm still trying to make all the pieces fit between reading about soil 
fertility, what my Dad told me 40 years ago and what I've observed over the 
years. But...

Your mulch is probably going to do a lot towards revitalizing the soil.  I 
suspect that there was some soil compaction from the sheep, and that's why it 
didn't drain as well as other spots.  Does that still fit the facts ?
There may also be a layer of uncomposted manure and bedding that is preventing 
soil drainage. A little deep tillage after the tomatoes and a cover crop to 
get it all working again, and you should be back in business.

It should be a great spot for lettuce next year. We planted potatoes where the 
old barn used to be. They grew five feet tall, and dropped instantly. Not a 
spud to be found...

I still hear Dad talking about clods on our hills, saying it would be 50 years 
before they all disappeared. I suppose the farm will survive me and my son, 
though.

I'm reading a great book called Weeds - Control without Poison. It talks about 
soil fertility a lot, and it's making an awful lot of sense based on 
observation and "Dad's way". I'm going to try it out in a few places this 
year. 
In your case, I think it predicts a pH imbalance; for compaction, it would 
predict weeds like field mustard, horse nettle, morning glory, quackgrass and 
chamomile; for an undecayed organic layer, it would predict buttonweeds and 
Jimsonweeds.
Sorry to use you as a guinea pig! 
-- 
Art Petrzelka
Amana, Iowa



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