On 22/05/19 23:43, Stewart Robert Hinsley wrote:
On 22/05/2019 20:06, Jeff Layman wrote:
All the recipes for JI composts call for a good percentage of "loam" -
whatever that is.
Loam is soil with an ideal mixture of sand, silt and clay, which tends
also to be humus rich. It's not nutrient poor like sandy soils, nor does
it waterlog or bake solid like clay soils.
My comment was more than a little sarcastic. I'd previously read the
entry for "Loam" in my "RHS Dictionary of Gardening" (1992 edition):
"A word which originally meant clay or mud, but has come to be used
rather loosely for soils of good quality. 'Loams' are often regarded by
gardeners as the bets possible soil type, with the optimum concentration
of good drainage and moisture retention, and good nutrient-holding capacity.
(there then follows a section on the slightly different interpretation
by soil scientists, and the sub-definitions such as "sandy loam", "clay
loam", "fibrous loam", and even "chalky loam" (marl). It continues:
Loam has been used as a component in potting mediums for centuries ...
the John Innes 'compost' used topsoil that was taken from a grass ley..
This was very rich in fibrous organic matter ... before use it was
stacked to let the living components of the organic matter decompose."
And then comes the the following - remember that this was written 30
"Obtaining loam of sufficient quality for use in potting medium, as
recommended for the original John Innes composts, is extremely difficult
in the UK."
More-or-less impossible today I would say, from the rubbish JIs that are
on sale in garden centres these days. I've had one that wouldn't even
make the definition of "dust" it was so fine.