Monday, August 20, 2012

The Soil Speaks

I am temporarily using this blog as a repository of notes for my permaculture journal keeping.

I think the soil talks to me. In my old raised beds, the spent cornstalks still stood after harvesting, but beneath was a thick carpet of weeds. A closer look revealed that there were certain types of weeds thriving. Nature abhors a vacuum, so every spot of soil that does not have something planted or a thick mulch will grow something. And those somethings are what the soil is trying to say. I noticed a couple kinds of grasses, some horse nettles (nightshade family), a little jewelweed, wood sorrel, dandelion and this other moisture loving summer weed that is common around here.

So I am thinking that what I should have done was sow a late summer maturing cereal that doesn't mind moisture and a summer nightshade, when I planted the corn. I am thinking perhaps hulless oats and ground cherries would have been good choices. If wild cereals and nightshades wanted to grow there, perhaps the soil would have accepted edible varieties. Perhaps I can sow some over wintering types. Hardy potatoes? Winter rye?

The wood sorrel- there was not much of it- indicates that the soil is slightly acid. The relatively low number of dandelions indicates that the soil is fertile. There would be more of them if it was poor. Jewelweed and that other weed tell me what I already know from all the rain we've had. The soil is wet. So what else likes wettish, slightly acid, fertile soil?

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