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Re: Rock and Clay Dust in Organic Farming

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  • Jeff
    ... occur naturally or does a poor farmer have to pay $$$ for it? I have plenty of clay and am not sure I want to buy any more. Of course I don t know if my
    Message 1 of 15 , Feb 27, 2008
      > Bob, Jeff et al.,
      > What is this Montmorillonite clay you are talking about? Does it
      occur naturally or does a poor farmer have to pay $$$ for it? I have
      plenty of clay and am not sure I want to buy any more. Of course I
      don't know if my clay is as good as this Montmorillonite, but most of
      the properties you mention seem to be common to most types of clay I
      know: water and nutrient retention, some are impenetrable by water,
      crack and get hard when dry, formation of colloidal bonds in the
      clay-humus complexes, etc.

      in your part of the world montmorilonite is probably the most common
      clay,... its more rare in tropic part of the world, but can usually be
      found then in river beds.

      paying for dirt is silly. work with what you have to make it better.

      any clay that have cracks visiable from shoulder hieght is problably

      monmorillonite is the worst for making pottery.
      pottery clay is kaolinte.

      > > care must be taken when using clay to inhance moisture
      retention...> Clay can become too dense to allow infiltration of water
      (more run> off), it can also hold water too tightly to available for
      > That is normal for clay, after the dry season it takes a few days
      of rain for water to seep in more than an inch. In this case too, soil
      cover is the best remedy. Obviously clay is better for holding water
      and nutrients than sand. But, the drier it gets the less water and
      nutrients it will give off. Once you go below 40 % soil humidity it
      stops giving off any more humidity so it never dries out completely.
      The classic way of preventing drying out is to cut the capillaries by
      which the water moves from the bottom to the top, for example by
      ploughing to create a dirt mulch. A mulch of plant residues is not
      half as effective. But the long-term solution is to increase organic

      yes, straw is amazing when added to clay (forked in) the first inch
      will go right in....

      > > The key is .... use in Sandy soils.
      > In sandy soil too, the best way of improving soil is organic
      matter. In fact, if clay soil is generally preferable over sandy soil,
      sandy soil responds much faster to an increase in organic matter, even
      a good mulch layer can make a difference.

      yes organic matter is way better, I think Bob was pointing out that
      clay can have uses in improving soils, and BINDING the organic matter
      to acceerate humus development

      And for the record, if my neighbor has wastes that I can use
      (manure/compost) I use it, thus borrowing their fertility.
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