Did you know that there is a state soil, just like the state flower (the poppy) and the state animal (the bear)? Yes, the state soil of California is called “San Joaquin” soil and was officially designated so in 1997. The Central Valley has more than a million acres of “San Joaquin” soil. This is not surprising as our main export from the Valley is food and other agricultural products. But I am sure that the land appreciates being recognized for its importance to the welfare of California.

Soil (please do not call it dirt) is a complex world made up of organic matter like bugs and worms and decomposing plants, minerals of various sizes (more about that important feature later), air, and water. In this article I would like to talk about this vital part of the garden. I am taking some my information from the excellent book, The Home Orchard by C. Ingels, P. Geisel, and M. Norton, published by the University of California. It is highly recommended for people who have deciduous (meaning they lose their leaves in the fall) fruit and nut trees. It is one of the books used often by the Master Gardeners for information in educating the public and in their own orchards. I also refer people who are interested in this and other subjects about gardening to the Integrated Pest Management site (http://ipm.ucanr.edu/) maintained by the University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources. This site is a cornucopia of information on all things gardening.

Soil Profile

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