Welcome to our Wyoming blog. On this blog I have been sharing how we came to move here and the 'adventure' we have been on every since. We started with a hillside, and today (6 years later) are finally putting in some landscaping. We are by no means done. I hope you will come along on our adventure.

I also have 2 other blogs. Big Horn Mountain Creations show cases my quilting and other artistic adventures. Decorating my Tin Shack, is about creating a home thru decorating. Both are on the side bar, I hope you will stop by.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The DIRT on my dirt!

What a pretty view we have, the sun was shinning just on the hill with the white.

So why am I writing about my dirt? Looking at the view of the valley you may have over looked the dirt in the foreground....does it look normal? If you look closer you will see it is black. This soil (if you can call it that) is so strange, I have never seen anything like it before. It does grow things, as you can see. Now lets look at it a bit closer.

Here is a cross section of the "dirt" on our hill....look at those layers and they are very fragile, what about those colors (remember to click on the picture for a closer look).

This is a big piece of petrified log, we have found alot of these about 2 to 3 feet under the surface.

Another piece of wood. Now to say that this "dirt" is questionable as far as growing plants is an understatement. I did a soil test on the stuff and it does not register any PH, we all know everything has a PH of some sort......so why is it not registering? Why is the test tube clear? After talking to a master gardener in town he said because it is so alkaline that it can not register. Hummmmm that makes scents and of course the water is alkaline, too.

Here you can see what it does when it is all dried out. We had rain a week 4 days ago but you'd never know it. When it is wet it is so sticky...being clay and sticky you can imagine what happens to anything that touches it. Lets put it this way, I gain about 5 inches in height with the stuff on my shoes and it takes a strong object to get the stuff off. When dry it is cracked and dusty.

So how is a person suppose to garden in this stuff? Look at those chunks of "dirt". I am now starting to do a study of how to fix my "extreme alkaline" dirt. I hate to call it soil, soil is nice stuff, this isn't.

Just one more picture, I hate to bore you to much with this stuff. This morning I when around and added peat moss to my planters in hopes to counter act the water. There is some of this stuff in my wine barrels along with the potting mix. The squash is growing ok, but I think they could be doing alot better so am on a de-alkalinsation mission. Thanks for looking and if you have any ideas or have dealt with this stuff before let me hear from you. This last one is a close up so you can really see the structure of this stuff. Until later.


Kate said...

Hi, Gail;
I know just enough to be dangerous about this stuff but here goes.. :)

Some of the photos look like your soil has a microbiotic (cryptogamic) crust. That's common out west and I believe it comes from drought and lack of grazing.

Perhaps you could begin by sectioning off a small area, amending the soil, removing rocks and planting very tough perennials.

Or, consider cover crops. Clovers, vetch, alfalfa, peas, soybeans, winter rye, oats, mustard, sunflowers fix nitrogen in the soil.

Don't be discouraged. In spite of how you feel about your land, there is ALWAYS a flower or two that will be very happy there. Pick a little spot and have some fun. Or, buy a pound of wildflower seed, scatter it and create a flowering meadow!

Susan said...

Looks like interesting stuff. You must be on ancient forest land to have your own petrified forest remains. I would guess you would need to add acid to the dirt. You probably aren't going to do the whole hillside, but stuff does grow around there, and your hill can't be the only dirt like that in the whole area. What are the gardeners and farmers in town using?