Re: garden culture - questions

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Abgeschickt von Chuck Sheviak am 19 Juni, 2000 um 20:52:26

Antwort auf: Re: garden culture - questions von Peter Corkhill am 17 Juni, 2000 um 21:16:22:

: Could you define what is meant by "muck" as this is not a term we are familiar with in the UK, even some soil scientists I asked were unsure.

"Muck" is a technical term here, or at least it was 30 years ago when I was learning such things. It is an organic soil of calcareous fens, whether these form in water-filled basins or are fed by springs. It is the product of decomposition of sedge peat and/or non-sphagnum mosses. It is far more thoroughly decomposed than sedge peat, is not fibrous and in fact lacks most signs of vegetation except for an occasional piece of wood. It is black when wet and dries to a dark gray. It can be reduced to powder in the hand. I think (I'm not a soil scientist)it forms in fens with a 'swinging' water table, where the surface periodically becomes less saturated due to a drop in the water table (as commonly occurs in late summer), and the resulting aeration promotes decomposition of the base-rich peat.

: Is there any organic matter in the fine dune sand you use on its own for C. kentuckiense cultivation? You don't mention using fertilizer at all so where does the plant get its nutrition?

The sand is virtually devoid of organic matter and is probably little more than quartz with some iron oxide present. Frankly, I don't know about nutrition, since it hasn't been a problem. Small excavations such as I've used will not stay chemically isolated, and probably the migration of nutrients from the surrounding loam garden soil begins with the first rain. Additionally, the roots of this species are quite long, and probably extend to or beyond the edge of sand, and furthermore the mycorrhizal associate would be expected to range widely as well. Finally, the plants are mulched in autumn with natural leaf-fall from deciduous trees and pines. In particular maples contribute a heavy leaf drop, and their leaves are commonly high in bases. In summary, then, although the sand is quite nutrient-poor when first used, a number of mechanisms doubtless introduce nutrients within the first season. I did not intend to imply that these were in isolated, pure culture.

: Your cultivated plants look amazing - not a slug shredded leaf in sight.

This is one thing I am thankful for. Curiously, our slugs do not seem fond of Cypripedium species. Don't get me started about other pests and diseases, however!!

Good luck, Chuck