As far as growing vegetables with loam is concerned, there are three possible types of soil, the first example of which is loam. This is the type that has a high proportion of humus, decayed organic matter. The more loamy the soil, the blacker it appears, because humus is black. The second type has more
As far as growing vegetables with loam is concerned, there are three possible types of soil, the first example of which is loam. This is the type that has a high proportion of humus, decayed organic matter. The more loamy the soil, the blacker it appears, because humus is black. The second type has more clay in its makeup where the clay content is high. Clay is fine granules of minerals that tend to coalesce, and therefore soil which has a high percentage of clay in its composition, does not drain water well. The third type of soil is sandy where in this case the sand content is high.
Sand is somewhat like the antithesis of clay in its physical state. Sand is large and coarse grains of minerals and tends to be unconnected. Hence, sandy is not water-retentive.
Chances are the soil in your vegetable garden is a mixture of some or all three types. The question is, what do you do about it!
Over many years of gardening on a variety of soils including soot, gravel, clay, sand and loam, it has been established without a doubt, that growing vegetables with loam is the best method for high production tasty vegetable and fruit. The question is, can you make soot, gravel, clay and sand more like loam and can you make loam better! The answer is undoubtedly
YES AND THE METHOD IS TO ADD COMPOST.
Sometimes you may be able to get well rotted horse manure from a nearby stable. We were once fortunate enough to get ten cubic yards of horse dung and rotted straw which was over four years old . It was as black as the Ace of Spades and very crumbly, and we dug it all into a cleared sandy border which we then planted. The plants absolutely flourished very quickly, but unfortunately we did not keep up the treatments, and each year the plants became weaker as the goodness was leached away.
You can become independent of luck and good fortune and make your own compost. You can then regularly add your own “top up” to your soil, whatever type it is.
The first source of compost material is your own garden. Grass cuttings, annual weeds, prunings, autumn leaves can all be collected & recycled. Pernicious weeds should be set to one side and burned.
The second source is your kitchen and your home. Things such as vegetable waste,old flowers which have previously been cut and also potted, and even shredded newspapers. All of these things can help!
But most important of all is METHOD. It has taken us over thirty years to discover these “secrets”.
The first requirement is to control your MIX of potential compost material between Green and Brown. How many of us have piled grass clippings in a heap to be encouraged by early heat and composting activity only to end with a half rotted and layered sludge? You need to aim for a mix of materials with about 1/5th being Green and 4/5ths Brown.
Grass Cuttings Kitchen Waste Farm Manure
Dead Leaves Straw/Wood shavings Wood Ash/ Newsprint
We save our leaves in plastic bags to feed into my compost over the following year.
Secondly you need MOISTURE. Your pile should be neither too wet nor too dry. Brown material is often dry and needs to be watered in after mixing. If you take a handful of your mix and squeeze it you want it to ball in your hand without a runoff of water and not being flaky. In rainy periods it can pay to cover your compost to stop it getting sodden
Thirdly you need AERATION. Oxygen is essential as composting is a burning process. You need to turn your heap on a regular basis to ensure this happens. It is possible to achieve temperatures as high as 70 degrees centigrade and 60 degrees should be a minimum peak norm. Having two adjacent bins makes this easier as you turn one into the other. It is also useful exercise for your heart!
Fourthly control particle SIZE. Breaking up, cutting down, shredding the potential compost is very helpful. The greater the wounding and the smaller the particle size, the greater the surface area and the quicker the rotting.
Finally you need VOLUME. The more the merrier. Given the above four steps you will find that 2 cubic yards rots better than 1, 3 cubic yards better than 2 and so on.
So get out there, get on with it and start growing tasty vegetables and fruit with loam
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