The holiday season has wrapped and now we’re thinking ahead to spring gardens. In the Winter 2009 issue of The Piedmont Virginian, our resident gardening columnist Adrienne Cook addresses how to prepare your garden for the spring. And a recent article in the Fauquier Times-Democrat pays homage to the richness of the region’s soil. At first glance, the hard red clay (with which so many of us are familiar) seems impossible to work with:
Like many gardeners, I agonized over my clay soil so typical of this area. It’s red, hard and nearly impossible to shovel. You’d never mistake it for the rich loam of magazine pictures and TV shows, but each year we garden our little hearts out producing enviable results. How is this possible? At one of the many farm and garden seminars I attended at Airlie (a gorgeous environmental research and conference center located in Warrenton), I learned that clay is the richest and most fertile of all soils. Like many treasures, its richness is locked away, waiting for us to turn the key. The key is, among other things, horse manure that we have in a never-ending supply. Adding massive amounts of manure to clay soil unlocks the nutrients held there so tightly- nutrients that feed our glorious gardens for unsurpassed beauty and abundance.