Monday, 2 May 2011

Walking the Territory - the Soil

It's not as easy as you might think to tell what sort of soil you've got from the plants growing in it. For instance, we have lots of foxgloves in the garden, so you might think our soil was a bit dry, and rather acid. However, they've actually self-seeded from cultivars I planted on purpose, so it doesn't prove anything.
On the hill, it's a bit easier. it's almost classic - heather and a little blaeberry at the top showing the soil is thin, dry and acid, bracken at lower levels - still acid, but trapping more water, and some nutrition from the leaf litter, and then at river level, rushes, which thrive on the river silt, and horsetails

showing where the subsoil is wet.

The soil is a bit richer at this level, too, so we have brambles

cuckoo flower, which likes moisture

and elderflower, which likes its soil rich and damp.

There are patches of thick sticky clay, too, but in the village, the ground has been cutivated for centuries, and, although it's a little bit acid rather than alkaline, it's good and fertile, and gardening is a joy apart from the slugs!

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