Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Butterfly and Garden Soil

This is a Red-spotted Purple butterfly (Limenitis arthemis), photographed in early May. It’s apparently on the ground trying to extract some moisture from the “soil.” Note the quality of the soil. The land where the community garden is located was formerly under a drumlin and was mined for fill for Interstate 495. It’s a mix of pebbles, sand and clay,  lacking any organic matter, and when wet it compacts seriously and smells of swamp. The water table is 6-12 inches down so drainage is poor. This plot shows what the original soil looked like, without supplementation. My plot had a couple of bales of peat moss and many bags of composted manure added last year, so was not quite as bad. But I decided I would rather put the money into Mel’s Mix than continue to add it to the garden soil.

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