After participating in a workshop put on by the extension office and THE Ohio State University last night, I want to bring you a re-cap of what I learned. The topic was “Dealing With Damaged Suburban Soils“, this is the entire handout that I received by Joe Boggs.
1. Many times when a suburban neighborhood is being developed, the top soil is harvested and sold, leaving only the subsoil. Removing this precious natural resource, that takes many, many generations to be re-created (longer than most of us will live!), is a disgrace. I didn’t know this, but it didn’t surprise me either. That explains a lot, doesn’t it?
Those of you with really crappy suburban soil can bet that this probably happened in your neighborhood.
What to do?
In these cases, top soil must be re-introduced, no other way around it.
2. Knowing the history of your land can help diagnose what is wrong – Joe talked about subdivisions that were built on top of what used to be a stone quarry. Can you imagine trying to grow something there?? Geez.
Asking around of the older folks in the area can reveal the former use of your land.
3. If your land was previously farm land, that doesn’t mean that it’s as healthy or fertile as it could be – Compaction can be a serious problem for soil, whether caused by heavy farm equipment over the years or especially trucks and heavy machines/cranes used to build.
4. Aggregation is instrumental in repairing and restoring poor soil (see above illustration). Putting back composted matter, good bacteria and insects will improve poor top soil.
5. Soil testing- The best way to know for sure the make-up of your soil is to have a soil test done, especially if you’ve tried to improve your soil without much success. Call your local extension office for details.