Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Basic Soils, Starbucks and the Mancos shale.
The adobe badlands of Western Colorado are the erosional remnants of of the Mancos Shale, itself a depositional remnant of the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway. The shale here in my back yard is made of very fine, organic rich materials that were eroded off of the newly formed Rocky Mountains and Uncompaghre uplift as well as some volcanic ash from somewhere west of home. You can read some more of this in Clastic Detritus' Accretionary Wedge entry.
But we wanted to create a garden. The Mancos shale erodes into a fierce muddy basic glop that is home to just a few hardy plants. So that is where Starbucks comes in. Occasionally, there are bags of old Starbucks grounds that are free to take for the sole purpose of lowering the soil's pH closer to neutral so that perhaps the tomato plants we stuck in the ground can actually live through the summer and produce fruit...
Stay tuned and lets see what happens at harvest time.