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How to re-establish soil capillarity  RSS feed

 
Katy Whitby-last
Posts: 280
Location: North East Scotland
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forest garden goat trees
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I have ended up having to extensively dig an area to create somewhere to grow annual vegetables. It was necessary as it was the site of an old stone steading that had fallen down 50 years ago so I had to remove a lot of very large stone. In order to raise the soil level back up I have added a couple of feet of soil and compost but it is all very loose and I am concerned that the capillary action in the soil will not be working effectively (the sub soil is heavily compacted blue clay). Does anyone have any ideas about how to help this?
 
L. Zell
Posts: 33
Location: Missouri
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Tillage radish or a broadfork
 
Nick Kitchener
Posts: 476
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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I would be inclined to leave it alone and give the soil life time to establish a stable ecosystem. The compost should be high in humate which absorbs and holds large amounts of water.
 
Dan Tutor
Posts: 103
Location: Zone 5, Maine Coast
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Katy Whitby-last wrote:I have ended up having to extensively dig an area to create somewhere to grow annual vegetables. It was necessary as it was the site of an old stone steading that had fallen down 50 years ago so I had to remove a lot of very large stone. In order to raise the soil level back up I have added a couple of feet of soil and compost but it is all very loose and I am concerned that the capillary action in the soil will not be working effectively (the sub soil is heavily compacted blue clay). Does anyone have any ideas about how to help this?

Do you mean the garden is in the foundation of an old homestead? That is so cool!
I would think just establishing healthy root systems from a polyculture of plants will quickly stratify your substrate.
The suggestion about growing root vegetables that will deposit a lot of biomass deep into the soil is a good one. Radishes grow very fast and can be started ASAP.
Other obvious additions, depending on climate and what you want in your garden, would be daikon, comfrey, burdock, nettle, nitrogen fixers like peas, etc.
the soil will work it self out.
If you are worried about water sinking below your soil and running along your clay layer, you could try using buried wood to wick it upwards.
 
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