Dear <<First Name>>
Improving compacted and clay type soils
Last month a neighbour suggested that I might like to use her garden to grow some additional vegetables.
I thanked her for the opportunity and said this would provide me with room to expand my range of vegetables in time for the Horticulture Society shows in 2016 .
The garden had been out of use for a number of years and had a good cover of pea straw which had been applied pre winter. Accordingly I thought that the soil below would be friable and easy to dig over. However this was not the case and I discovered that the soil below was very compacted and contained quite a lot of clay .The pea straw had made little difference other than moisture retention.
Furthermore, there was no sign of any worm activity. Not a good sign I thought.
So what is the best way to increase the friability and reduce the soil compaction?
The initial approach was to turn the soil over and dig in the pea straw with a fork. This was followed by a good watering. Next day a liberal application of gypsum[1kg/m2] was applied and then the soil forked over again to incorporate the gypsum. This was followed by an application of Earth Zing[100gms/m2 which was then lightly incorporated into the soil . A week later potatoes and cabbages were planted.
Note: Gypsum is an excellent product for clay soils and assists with increasing soil friability plus adds calcium to the soil without increasing the soil Ph.
Liberal dressings of a good compost material is also recommended as this will assist with increasing soil organic matter and improve both soil aeration , friability and water holding capacity.
In the case above time was not available to apply compost in amounts for maximum benefit and this will be done post- harvest/early winter to ready for the following season. The soil will improve greatly over the next months as a result of the initial treatments given.
Some other recent questions concerning clay soils?
Q. I have recently started using the Bokashi bin but we have hard clay in our back garden with a sprinkling of soil on top. Will this reduce the effectiveness or process of decomposition when we add the bokashi contents to the ground? Do you have any tips for working with this kind of soil?
A. The fermented waste is an excellent addition to clay soils as this will add vauable material as organic matter plus nutrients. With continued additions the soil will become more friable and much easier to work.
I am considering using Ensopet Pet Composter and ask your advice whether this unit is suitable for use in clay soils?
Generally clay soils can impede drainage especially where rainfall is regular. If a hole fills with water and takes days to empty out ,then composting in such conditions will be impeded somewhat and the contents can turn anaerobic and smelly .
Q. I am vegan which means I try to avoid harm to animals. In terms of gardening, this means I wish to avoid the use of any animal derived products or ingredients.
Please can u advise what the ingredients are in Bokashi Compost-Zing?
A. No animal products are used in Compost Zing The ingredients are plant based[wheat /bran//humate, molasses and untreated pinus sawdust together with all naturally occurring and locally sourced micro-organisms.
Q. I bought an Ensopet waste composter unit and installed it a few days ago. I have two dogs (one large and one medium sized) and I don't think the composter will cope with the waste from both dogs. It is probably half full already. I am layering the (activator) and am keeping it moist, but I was wondering if I need two units as I have two dogs?
A. The Composter is best with 1 x med sized dog or a couple of smallers ones. So having two larger dogs will most likely extend the capacity of the composter and it could be advantageous to have an additional unit to cope with the poop load.
ZingBokashi now exported overseas.
This year ZingBokashi has shipped product into both Hong Kong and Mainland China.
Schools are being taught in both places the advantages of treating household food waste at source rather than sending out in the garbage collection and destined for landfill.
The picture to the right shows students receiving instruction in burial of Bokashi fermented waste.