(There really aren’t any secrets. Just stimulate life.)
"Unhealthy and healthy soil from the same site."
Question: Is there anything I can do to loosen up the clay soil in my front lawn? When it rains, it has the consistency of pottery clay, but when it stops raining, it dries out quickly. I have been in this house for seven years and aerated once. Any suggestions?
Answer: All of the organic amendments directly or indirectly help loosen and soften the soil. The key to friable, productive soil is abundant life in the soil. When the soil is healthy by being rich with biological activity, it will not erode or compact during rains, it will hold moisture at just the right level - thus cutting water costs, and it will create excellent crop production. Healthy soil contains significant microbiotic life. The microbes create organic matter that helps build the glue in the soil that creates the texture that allows rain and irrigation to soak in, oxygen to breathe in and carbon dioxide to breathe out.
Use this thought model. Before choosing a product to use on your property ask this: if I purchase and use this product, will it help or hurt the life in the soil? When the beneficial bacteria, fungi, protozoa, insects, earthworms and others are healthy, growing, and reproducing, the soil's chemistry, biology and structure will be soft, crumbly and productive.
Worst for Soil Health
High-nitrogen, synthetic fertilizers
- Toxic pesticides
- Bare soil
- Excessive tilling
- Foot and vehicle traffic
- Overwatering and frequent
Best for Soil Health
- Compost and organic fertilizers
- Rock minerals - lava, granite,
greensand, zeolite, gypsum, etc.
- Sugars – molasses, cornmeal, etc.
- Mulch covering all bare soil
- Infrequent deep irrigation when needed.
For more detailed information on soil building, check our new book – Organic Management for the Professional.
If you have any questions on this newsletter or any other topic, tune in Sunday 8am -11am (CST) to the Dirt Doctor Radio Show. The phone number for the show is 1-866-444-3478. Listen on the internet or find a station in your area. Organic Club of America Members can log in on Sunday mornings to see the Dirt Doctor's Live Broadcast.
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