My Compacted Soil Challenge
Before I purchased my home, it was in foreclosure for a long time. I live on a corner and locals “cut the corner” by driving across my front yard from the driveway on the east side of the house to the driveway on the west side of my house. Since the intersection in front of my home was flooded after storms, most of the traffic through my yard took place when the soil was wet. By the time I moved in, I couldn’t put a dent in the soil with a rock bar unless it was just after a storm. Then I could penetrate 1/16th of an inch. After each storm, I chipped away what I could. Over eight years, I put in a vegetated swale, the beginnings of an infiltration basin,
and native vegetation. I still chip away a little after each storm. Once weeds and wildflowers (cover crop) become established, I can get a shovel into the soil.
Eventually, I plan to install rain gardens surrounded by Hugelkulture berms that do not require irrigation. The following article explains why the highly compacted soil I am working with is such a challenge.
Reblogged Article on Compacted Soil
Hopefully, the ground in your yard has thawed by now (regrets to those who still have frozen ground!). So why is it that when you try to push your shovel into the soil, it doesn’t budge? If it’s hard for you to push that shovel, it’s even harder for plant roots to penetrate this type of soil.
Soil scientists refer to this as soil compaction, or compressed soil that is reduced in volume. Why does this happen and what can you do about it?
Let’s start with some soil basics. Soils are comprised of three major things – air, water, and solid materials. It might seem counter intuitive but a healthy soil should only have about half of its volume full of the solid materials. The other half should either be empty or consist of water. That empty air space is critical to ensure that gas exchange (carbon dioxide and…
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