Improvement Of Cementing Soils





I would like some advice in handling the "cementy" gravel soil. Manure

is beneficial in loosening up the soil, but there is not enough

available. Would the Canadian field pea make a satisfactory growth here

if sown as soon as the rains begin? I would try to grow either peas or

vetch and plow under in February or March and then set trees or vines on

the land.



The way to mellow your soil is certainly to use stable manure or to plow

under green stuff, as you propose. This increases the humus which the

soil needs and imparts all the desirable characters and qualities which

humus carries. You ought to get a good growth of Canadian field peas or

common California field peas or the common Oregon vetch by sowing in the

fall, as soon as the ground can be moistened by rain or irrigation, and,

if the season is favorable, secure enough growth for plowing under in

February to make it worth while. Be careful, however, not to defer

planting trees and vines too late in order to let the green stuff grow,

because this would hazard the success of your planting by the reduction

of the moisture supply during the following summer by the amount which

might be required to keep the covered-in stuff decaying, plus loss of

moisture from the fact that the covered stuff prevented you from getting

thorough surface cultivation during the dry season. For these reasons

one is to be careful about planting on covered-in stuff which has not

had a chance to decay. This consideration, of course, becomes negligible

if you have water for summer irrigation, but if you expect to get the

growth of your trees and vines with the rainfall of the previous winter,

be careful not to waste it in either of the ways which have been

indicated, and above all, do not plant trees and vines too late.

Theoretically, your position is perfect. The application of it, however,

requires some care and judgment. Rather than plant too late, you had

better grow the green stuff the winter after the trees have been

planted.





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