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undrained hemic histosol  RSS feed

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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I have a large area of undrained (on purpose) hemic histosol grassy forest. By necessity I we have had to put a road through the more open areas of the histosol area, mostly dead trees and grassy veget
ation. Seeing as how there is this trail there now (had to get a tractor back to remove some dangeus trees near other trails)...I'm attempting to figure out if there is some food forest use to this area that can be include in my food forest design without draining the histosol. I prefer to leave it a wetland, and it does dry off enough to walk on, and we were able to drive the tractor over it without sinking too much and without doing much damage to the area.

here is an article on histosol soil (ours is hemic) to familiarize you::

Histosol, one of the 12 soil orders in the U.S. Soil Taxonomy. Histosols are formed under waterlogged conditions typical of peat bogs, moors, and swamps. Under such conditions, the accumulated tissues of dead plants and animals and their decomposition products are preserved, resulting in soils of high organic content. After drainage for agricultural use (particularly vegetable crops and cranberries), the organic material is prone to oxidation, leading to fire hazards as well as subsidence. Sphagnum and other types of fibrous material are extracted from Histosols for use in horticulture and as fuel. Larger areas of these soils have been managed for flood control, water purification, and wildlife preservation. Histosols occupy less than 2 percent of the nonpolar continental land area on Earth, mostly in Canada, Russia, and Scandinavia. They are characterized by at least 12 to 18 percent organic carbon by mass (depending on the clay content) if occasionally waterlogged or by at least 20 percent organic carbon by mass if never waterlogged.

Horizons (layers) similar to those in other orders of the U.S. Soil Taxonomy are not usually observed. Layers are identified as fibrous (or peat) if they contain mostly fibre, hemic (or mucky peat) if they contain mostly decomposing fibre, or sapric (or muck) if they contain little or no undecomposed fibre.

I am thinking that along the paths that are through this area I might try cranberries or blueberries..cranberries would probably have to be highbush and be in the damper areas and the blueberries in the drier areas..but I would like suggestions on any other things that might grow well here. I think it might be too acidic for elderberries but I might be willing to try cuttings of elderberries here.

I do not want to OVERUSE this area as I do want it to still be left mostly natural, but I do really want it to also produce food for our family and neighbors if possible. I've been attempting to resarch what will grow here, but mostly all the articles I can find are for draining and reclaiming the areas, which I do not want to do, I just want to grow plants in the area that will enjoy the wet, high carbon, slimy mucky soil..as I have enough drained areas for the drier soil crops..and NO i do NOT want to build berms or hugel beds or raised beds here but use it as it is...thanks.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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in my study I have found that these soils will grow better crops if some form of potash is added to the soil. I have wood heat so am considering adding the ash from the wood furnace in some of the growable areas of this swampy soil and see if it produces different, better, food type crops..evidently the soil is rich in all other nutrients but contains very little potash


Muck is actually very nutrient rich (usually it's found near small creeks or springs, so muck may have been swamp or wetlands at one point, with its lush vegetation turned to compost). Muck is famous for being able to grow almost anything the climate will allow (especially farm crops: vegetables and fruits). Even cuttings or seeds you "throw away" will easily grow, and so you have to be careful where you dump those things: a large patch of rhubarb or pumpkins will easily sprout & "take off" if it hits that fertile ground.

It's a truly beautiful sight to see rows of light spring- green colored lettuce against the black soil



Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_muck_dirt#ixzz1xRhiomXd
 
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