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Southwestern Soil (USA)

Category: Gardening | Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:59 pm

West Texas has Adobe Soil which is a sandy clay. Without water, our soil becomes hard. Since water "stands" on Adobe Soil before it soaks in, it is best to water for about 20 minutes, stop, let the water soak in, then water for another 20 minutes.

Adobe Soil when mixed with grass, straw, water, poured into a brick mold, and left to sun dry, will turn into a brick substance. The type that was used in the old days to build southwestern and Mexico houses. Since there is very little rain fall in West Texss and Mexico, these houses could stand for hundreds of years. Patching was very easy, just whip up a batch of soil, straw and water, patch, and let sun dry to harden.

You are probably now asking yourself how ANYTHING could possible grow in such soil. All it takes is "water".

But if a gardener does not want to work with this sandy clay, they can use above the ground flower and vegetable beds. Also called raised beds. Click onto this link for above the ground beds' pictures and information:
http://www.eartheasy.com/grow_raised_beds.htm
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Caliche:

The southwestern states often have a vain or two of "caliche" threading its way through the good soil. A white chalk substance that plants will not grow in. The following info is from the College of Agriculture, The University of Arizona:

"What Does Caliche do to plants?
Caliche causes three problems in the yard or garden.
The caliche layer can be so tight that roots cannot penetrate through it. The result is that plants have only the soil above the caliche to use as a source of nutrients and water and normal root development is restricted.

The same conditions that restrict root penetration also reduce water movement. Water applied to the soil cannot move through the profile if a restrictive caliche layer is present. The restricted water penetration can contribute to problems arising from inadequate root aeration and can lead to accumulations of salt in the soil surface. Both problems, lack of aeration and salt accumulation, reduce the vigor of growing plants.

The pH (acidity or basicity) and free calcium carbonate in a caliche soil are often high enough to cause iron to become unavailable for plants."

Here again is where above the ground beds come in handy.



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