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dirt clods?  RSS feed

 
Susan Taylor Brown
Posts: 147
Location: Scotts Valley, California Zone 9B
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We are doing a lot of digging with the water retention projects and the retaining walls. We have lots and lots of dirt clods that people are piling up to get them out of their way. Fist sized clods and so far, about 3 wheelbarrows full.

I was just going to toss them in the bottom of the retention basins with a bunch of organic matter and figure time will break them down but I wondered if someone else had thought of other useful things to do while they are still clods? I could dump them in a line a the bottom of a slope to slow water down. Anything else?
 
David Livingston
steward
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Location: Anjou ,France
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I assume we are talking clay here ?

David
 
Susan Taylor Brown
Posts: 147
Location: Scotts Valley, California Zone 9B
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Sorry for not saying before, David. No, not clay. Just really, really compacted, I guess loam. They say our area is sandy loam but I think the sand part comes from the sandstone that runs through the property. These are big clods, from softball to soccer ball size. The guys hand digging my rain gardens kicked them up. I am just tossing them back in the rain gardens on top of my layers of brush and organic matter. They will be about a foot down, buried in organic matter so I expect they will break down with the help of the micro herds over time. I just get curious whenever I get a lot of something to see if there's something else I might could be doing with them.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Have you broken any of these clods up to see if they are formed around rocks?
If they are just compacted soil, they should not remain clods once dug up unless there is clay in there.
(on our land we have very nice topsoil for about a foot in most areas, but when I go digging deeper I can get clods that look like the top soil but upon splitting they show their red clay cores).

Either way you have many choices; you could use them in your compost heaps as a layer, you could use them in the brush piles as you have mentioned, you could mix them in with finished compost,
you could use them for path way borders ( rains will most likely melt these which would allow them to spread out and reincorporate into the path and outer edge of the path.

If they do have a clay core, you can harvest the clay for pottery use or cob making.
We have one area that I have reserved for clay harvesting since the red clay is great for terra cotta items. One of the projects on my list is a clay bread/ pizza oven.
You also can use clay for pond lining, it will seal a pond bottom very nicely if you spread the clay then lay on some grass seed, let it sprout then fill the pond, the resulting gley will seal that pond bottom.
 
Susan Taylor Brown
Posts: 147
Location: Scotts Valley, California Zone 9B
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Oh Joseph, that is very interesting. I will split some and see what is there. So far they seem to crumble. I made a nice layer over my brush and then partially composted wood chips on top of that so I hope they will melt over time and enrich the rain pits.

Thanks for this info.
 
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