Silt Soil?

coupongeorgeMay 25, 2014

Ok, we just bought a couple acres of land and I found out it use to be a silt pond a couple years ago but it was filled in. I've noticed the ground has a lot of big rocks and its hard to dig or plant anything. What would be the best route to go to make the ground easier to work? Plus how do you start composting? I've never gardened or anything so I'm completely new to it, so use small words lol.

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Composting is quite simple. Gather material, pile material up, wait. The linked tutorial will take you much deeper into the subject.
Start by assessing what you have by having a good reliable soil test for soil pH, and major nutrient levels. Your University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service will do that.
Then these simple soil tests can help you know more about the soil that is there,
1) Soil test for organic matter. From that soil sample put enough of the rest to make a 4 inch level in a clear 1 quart jar, with a tight fitting lid. Fill that jar with water and replace the lid, tightly. Shake the jar vigorously and then let it stand for 24 hours. Your soil will settle out according to soil particle size and weight. For example, a good loam will have about 1-3/4 inch (about 45%) of sand on the bottom. about 1 inch (about 25%) of silt next, about 1 inch (25%) of clay above that, and about 1/4 inch (about 5%) of organic matter on the top.

2) Drainage. Dig a hole 1 foot square and 1 foot deep and fill that with water. After that water drains away refill the hole with more water and time how long it takes that to drain away. Anything less than 2 hours and your soil drainsâ too quickly and needs more organic matter to slow that drainage down. Anything over 6 hours and the soil drains too slowly and needs lots of organic matter to speed it up.

3) Tilth. Take a handful of your slightly damp soil and squeeze it tightly. When the pressure is released the soil should hold together in that clump, but when poked with a finger that clump should fall apart.

4) Smell. What does your soil smell like? A pleasant, rich earthy odor? Putrid, offensive, repugnant odor? The more organic matter in your soil the more active the soil bacteria will be and the nicer your soil will smell.

5) Life. How many earthworms per shovel full were there? 5 or more indicates a pretty healthy soil. Fewer than 5, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicates a soil that is not healthy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Composting tutorial

This post was edited by kimmsr on Mon, May 26, 14 at 6:35

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 6:32AM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

What's a silt pond exactly? A natural pond, stormwater collection lagoon, farm pond,...?

Making rocky ground easier to work all depends on what you're trying to grow on how big an area, and the size and number of rocks. Rocks can be hand removed from a small garden patch while turning it over with a shovel. If you want a half acre of lawn and there are basketball sized boulders, you'll need heavy equipment.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 1:17PM
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From the wikipedia description it is bigger than clay dust and smaller than sand. It comes from sedimentary rocks. Can be blown away by the wind if dried out. Wiki says it helps with fertility of the land.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 10:42PM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

I know what silt is, I just haven't heard of a 'silt pond.'

Edit: Maybe a 'silted-in' pond?

This post was edited by toxcrusadr on Wed, May 28, 14 at 15:00

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 11:49AM
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kimmser and tox, since you stopped posting on my thread after being accused of being trolls. I am curious about your five step exploding garden test. I would love to see some data that supports your claims. According to your drainage test my soil drains way too fast (well under an hour), yet it retains loads of moisture, too much actually, for some plants.

I would think you could defend the accusations and help me understand... Until then, I'm not buying the compost your selling.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 4:55PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I found a site, apparently posted by the Kentucky Transportation Department, that gives information on how to construct Sediment Traps and Basins during construction.

They say "The purpose of a temporary trap or basin is to provide an area where muddy runoff is allowed to pond, so sediment will settle out. Sediment traps and basins should be installed in selected drainage areas before excavation or fill work begins."

Maybe this kind of sediment trap is what the OP was referring to as a "silt pond". The sediment collected could easily be a large quantity of silt. It could be associated with farming operations, not just construction.


This post was edited by claire on Wed, May 28, 14 at 17:50

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 5:47PM
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I would try to get some help removing the big rocks. That may be expensive if you need heavy machinery, because they are boulders. I see none of us posters have helped much. If the pond was filled in with several feet of fill that silt won't be of much use, unless you can get to it. Sorry I have no inexpensive solution.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 11:13PM
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