A soil question

Bracey Tiede tiede@pacbell.net
Sat, 15 May 2010 14:19:44 PDT
We am surrounded by clay soil here in San Jose and it's not the pottery clay
soil you might think.  It's full of minerals and micronutrients but come
mid-summer, you can't dig it at all.  It's quite workable after the first
few rains in fall and for a period after the rain stops in late spring.
Excellent drainage is defined by how long water takes to drain out of a
certain sized hole.  It can be an hour or it can be 12 hours, depending on
the type of clay.  Here's a very good treatment of soil that you'll enjoy

Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web by Jeff

He's a very popular speaker here on the West Coast and if you get a chance
to hear him, do go.

San Jose CA

-----Original Message-----
From: pbs-bounces@lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:pbs-bounces@lists.ibiblio.org]
On Behalf Of Laura & Dave
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2010 12:56 PM
To: Pacific Bulb Society
Subject: [pbs] A soil question

Hello all
  Perhaps some of you can explain something regarding soils to me.  I 
was looking up culture for potted "Ipheion sellowianum" (yes, I know 
that it may be called something else now), and I have once again run 
across the phrase "a clay soil, rich in organic matter".   When I think 
of clay, it is the type found for making into pots, bowls, plates and 
chalices.  There is no organic matter, that I know of.  When I've dug 
around in the ground in Southern Ohio, at my in-laws' place, there seems 
to be a layer of organic matter on the surface, in various stages of 
decay as one descends into the soil, and then a fairly homogeneous layer 
of clay, reaching down to bedrock.  Is the organic matter spoken of in 
the clay in a micro particle state in the clay?  Or is the organic 
matter at the molecular scale; that is, only organic molecules? 
  Does one duplicate this soil by putting compost into clay, and knifing 
it in, kinda like making biscuits with shortening and flour?  What 
substitute soil type fools the plants into thinking that they are in 
their ideal conditions?
  I've come to the conclusion that soil is the key to understanding 
plant growth; if you reverse the way one looks at plants, with the main 
organism underground, and  an attached solar collector, ventilation 
system and reproductive organs all stuck up to wave around in the 
weather, you see what I'm thinking.
  However, the study of soil is a difficult subject, and I'd welcome any 
help here that I can get!!

  Dave Brastow, Tumwater Washington (7A)

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