Vegetable Gardening in Disturbed Soil
In No Guff Vegetable Gardening, we talk a lot about soil.
We also talk a lot about building the soil. If you live in a new subdivision, plan on spending a fair bit of effort building the soil.
HEAVILY DISTURBED SOIL
Soils naturally form in layers. The so-called “topsoil” is usually the darkest band of soil on the top. This is called the A horizon and it is usually about 15 cm (six inches) deep, although at the edge of former glaciers it may be 30–60 cm (12–24 inches) deep.
Below the topsoil is a layer of partially formed soil called the B horizon, which has some of the properties of topsoil, reasonable pH, and some microbial activity.
The deepest soil-like material is in the C horizon. It is the least appropriate for growing plants because it is not well formed, and often has a pH unsuited to plant growth, and little microbial activity.
IF YOU LIVE IN A NEW NEIGHBOURHOOD, all three layers of soil may have been mixed up and stockpiled during the excavation of the site. This ruins good topsoil because the mixing of layers dilutes the good stuff—the microbe- and organic-matter-rich A horizon where there are more nutrients available to plants.
So be prepared for soil building from scratch in most new subdivisions.
Garden Coaches Chat: No Guff. Lots of fun.
Donna Balzer and Steven Biggs