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Theres salinity in my soil !

 
Ronaldo Montoya
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Hi, in the soil of the forest garden im starting ( i just planted some pionner trees) there is a herb called "heliotropium curasavicum". This herb is scattered around the land, almost everywhere in the land there is this herb.
I found in a book that this herb is an indicator that theres presence of salinity in the soil.
So i was wondering, in which ways salinity can affect a forest garden?

I just planted some pionner trees in the land and im gonna start mulching...
Is there any strategy for fixing this salinity? Or just mulching and pionner trees would fix this? any idea?

 
Leila Rich
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Ronaldo, my first searches only had 'found all over South America' type stuff.
Could you link the info about salinity?
 
Dale Hodgins
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You need to test your soil and not judge by one indicator plant. Saline soil is one of the worst things that can be wrong with land. There are many ways to help remediate the problem and there are plants that will survive some degree of salinity. Check with others in your area to see what problems they have.

Where are you ? How much rain do you get ? Arid areas are more likely to experience salt build up. Is irrigation water available ? Often water available in dry areas can make matters worse if it is only added in enough quantity to make up for evaporative losses. Salt can be washed out, but vast quantities of water are needed. Salt can also be locked up in the lower soil and not be a problem for some plants. Check out geoff lawton - Greening the desert. He has successfully dealt with salt.

Also check out soil salinity in Australia. Many areas of the continent had salt in the soil but were still productive until modern farming and irrigation methods destroyed everything by bringing that salt up. While you are at it, read about the history of soil management in general on that continent. It reads like a cautionary tale. Everything that could go wrong has. Their agriculture has been like a mining operation where soil is traded for food. Our goal should be to get food while improving our soil.
 
Ronaldo Montoya
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Leila, here is a link, but its in spanish.

http://www.kew.org/science/tropamerica/peru/resources/Plantas_de_Ica_ed2_sec2_lr.pdf

It doesnt have too much info, it says:

"indicator of places where there is presence of salinity"






Leila Rich wrote:Ronaldo, my first searches only had 'found all over South America' type stuff.
Could you link the info about salinity?
 
Ronaldo Montoya
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Dale, im in Peru, in a valley, here it never rains and theres sun all the time, im very near from the river and there is a lot of water from the river, i have 2 water channels in 2 sides of my land with fresh water always running.
In the places near the water channels there are a lot of plants and trees and the soil is full of life, with lots of insects and worms, but in the middle of the land the soil is without plants( bare soil) in a lot of places mixed with differents herbs , in those places the color of the soil is white in the surface.

Is it a good idea to irrigate the land always?
At this moment im just irrigating in the places i planted my trees, i made a water channel that crosses my land and connect the 2 water channels i have in each side.

Do you think is a good idea irrigating the parts with white soil and bare soil?

I irrigated once all the land and in a few time all became fulled of johnson grass.










Dale Hodgins wrote:You need to test your soil and not judge by one indicator plant. Saline soil is one of the worst things that can be wrong with land. There are many ways to help remediate the problem and there are plants that will survive some degree of salinity. Check with others in your area to see what problems they have.

Where are you ? How much rain do you get ? Arid areas are more likely to experience salt build up. Is irrigation water available ? Often water available in dry areas can make matters worse if it is only added in enough quantity to make up for evaporative losses. Salt can be washed out, but vast quantities of water are needed. Salt can also be locked up in the lower soil and not be a problem for some plants. Check out Geoff Lawton - Greening the desert. He has successfully dealt with salt.

Also check out soil salinity in Australia. Many areas of the continent had salt in the soil but were still productive until modern farming and irrigation methods destroyed everything by bringing that salt up. While you are at it, read about the history of soil management in general on that continent. It reads like a cautionary tale. Everything that could go wrong has. Their agriculture has been like a mining operation where soil is traded for food. Our goal should be to get food while improving our soil.
 
Dale Hodgins
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First, make sure that you have legal access to the water. I'm assuming that the dry land is salty and that it is at a higher elevation than the more productive land. Salt can be washed out. Irrigation alone can add to the salt load. You must provide drainage back to the river. The route to the water must not dump salty water onto your good soil.

Find someone local who irrigates and see how they return water to the river. But first, ensure that the land is salty and that using river water to flush it is legal. Downstream users of the river, will be getting more salt than before. If they are irrigating, this could be a problem. If there is a flood season, when an excess of water rushes to the ocean and is not needed by others, this is the best time to do it.
 
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