Betsy Carraway wrote:Hi, for Diane Kistner: Maypop (passiflora Incarnata, or just "passiflora") is safe and popular herbal throughout Europe, Central and South America, and maybe more; it is commonly used as an extract, tea, or in capsules, for anxiety issues, insomnia, and even babies' colic. It is not only quite effective and lacking in any side effects, but safe at any dose, even for babies. So you may wish to collect the mature Summer leaves, before fruit formation, and dry them in shade for use as tea or powdered.
Mary Cook wrote:The thing about using ashes and gypsum to lighten clay soil is that ashes raise the pH dramatically, and gypsum lowers it. You might want to test the pH to see if you've arrived at a happy medium. I've used both--the gypsum in the form of wallboard scraps left over from building our house, I just laid them on the ground for a couple years before expanding into that area. It did seem to help a lot. With ashes, I'm not sure about the clay-lightening effects; I know it's similar to lime in its pH effects, and has a lot of potash, but haven't ever found out about other minerals. Since we heat with wood, this matters. My soil tests usually say I'm TOO high in things like calcium and magnesium. But some of this is because clay soil tends to be high in nutrients; it retains nutrients--and water--much better than sandy soil, that's the upside. By the way another approach to the dandelion effect is daikon radishes, but they need to be planted early enough in fall to make good growth before killing freezes, somewhere in the low twenties. The roots plunge deep, collecting nutrients maybe but also spiking down, opening pathways for water and air, and then if the daikon dies and rots, you've got that pocket of organic matter. Cover crops are good in general for adding organic matter to your soil without having to haul it in; daikons are particularly good for punching through hardpan, for improving subsoil.
Mary Cook wrote:I'd think burying organic matter in clay would improve the soil, unless you're talking deep burial and/or really dense clay.
Mary Cook wrote:I've had endless arguments about adding sand to clay soil. Everyone "knows" that "clay plus sand is the formula for bricks." What I know is this: I add sand to my clay soil and it gets softer, looser, more friable and I get better carrots in particular--it was for carrots that I first began adding sand.
John Suavecito wrote:It's worked well for me for decades.