Inventory Inventory Inventory before any work will save you a TON of money and back breaking labor. Of course I learned this the hard way… Today its all about soils. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soil data and classification should be everyone first step in the research and analysis of soils, in regards to farming. The NRCS provides historical Soil surveys, geography, classifications, characteristics, maps, and reports for every State, County, or Parish within the United States of America. Its a wealth of information and a great starting point in understanding your land and the soil below your feet. Yes you can take a coring sample of the top 24″ and submit it for lab work to identify your soil specifics…. but to truly identify and relate to your soils is to understand how they became what they are today.
The East HappyLand garden is located on Lo–Loring silt loam. Which is a gently sloping, moderately well drained soil mainly located on uplands. Typically, the surface layer is brown silt loam about 6 inches thick. The next layer to a depth of about 10″ is yellowish brown silt loam. The subsoil to a depth of about 23″ is dark yellowish brown silt loam. Below this, to a depth of about 51″ is a fragipan. The substatum to a depth of about 60″ is yellowish brown, mottled silt loam. Water and air move through this soil at a moderate rate above the fragipan and at a slow rate within. Water table expected 2-3 below surface.
Last year around this time we mixed together a Topsoil Compost for future East HappyLand gardening needs. We combined 10 cubic yards of the brown to yellowish brown silt loam (top 18″ of our existing soils), 2 cubic yards of cow manure, 2 bales of rotten hay, and 1 c.y. of leaves. This stock pile of Topsoil Compost has been mixed or flipped over with our front end loader 4 or 5 times this year and will be utilized in the 8″ raised landscape beds this season.