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Soil Borings (Introduction)

Hosta-open Robins,

I can think of nothing so boring as talking about dirt. A scientific
treatise on the subject is not entertaining even when set to music or
typed in color print. So at the risk of not gaining your attention or
losing it if I do, I want to announce that I plan to write a series  of
small posts on Soil Technology. My decision was influenced by Glen
Williams' recent poll data from Hosta Journal and Newsletter readers who
ranked technical and scientific type articles as their favorite themes.
Someone even mentioned the "soil" theme. No one else is wtiting much on
this subject, so I will volunteer to write more.

As a professional agronomist, I have had dirt under my fingernails all
my life. We hosta gardeners, nersery people and plain dirt farmers
understand a lot about soil. We know how to use it, manage it and
conserve it for present and future use. But do we know answers to the
WHY questions? Here is where science comes in. Science helps us
understand WHAT is happening and the reasons WHY.

I don't pretend to be a soil scientist but I have matriculated in my
share of college courses in soils,  have plowed my share of acre
furrows, done my share of field crop research, even drag-harrowed and
leveled my share of rice paddies with water buffalo. I have served on
multidiciplinary teams with experts from Tennessee Valley Authority,
USDA and various universities in soil fertility problems for the purpose
of improving food production in programs of several developing countries
of the world. And I have written my share of technical reports on these
subjects...so I am somewhat qualified to discuss soil technology, I

I have decided to try to write about a few subjects pretaining to
practical problem solving in the Hosta Garden. I will try to interprete
known facts of soil chemistry, soil physics, soil biology, soil and
water relationships, soil fertily and management, Base Exchange, pH and
related subjects. I will try to make the presentations logical, accurate
and as simple as possible so that readers may understand.

So look for future posts on this subject and pretend that you are
interested if you wish.

Jim Hawes
Oakland MD

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