In reading the book I wrote about last week (Williamson, Donna (2008). The Virginia Gardener’s Companion: An Insider’s Guide to Low-Maintenance Gardening in
So, first I looked up Pamunkey soil and found out a lot about soils in
“The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has asked that each state adopt, through legislation, a "State Soil." NRCS asked the Virginia Association of Professional Soil Scientists (VAPSS) to select a soil for
In selecting a "State Soil" for
This soil, originally mapped as Wickham soil series, was first recognized in
Pamunkey soils are prime agriculture soils in
The Pamunkey soils were first used to sustain the Pamunkey Indians, other tribes, and later to grow crops by the settlers at
Soil Classification: fine-loamy, mixed, semiactive, thermic Ultic Hapludalfs
Pamunkey soils are very deep, well drained soils formed in
Facts about Pamunkey Soil
Pamunkey soil is formed from sediments which originated in every physiographic province in the Commonwealth and therefore represents the WHOLE state better than other soils.
The farm where the representative profile of Pamunkey soil is located, near
The Pamunkey soil, on this oldest working farm in
The first settlers at
Quite a bit of information here, most of which I understand. I do not expect to understand all the many names of soils types (there are a staggering number). This information from the NRCS lead me to believe I was gardening in Pamunkey soil, as it specifically mentioned my county as the place it was first recognized!
So then I went to: http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/
This is a way cool web site where you can find the actual soil in your area, provided it has been surveyed (ours was and the report was from 2008). I entered my address, state and got a custom soil report for my area and even got an aerial view of my street, my home with the soils in the area marked. The image above at top is an example of a type of image you can get from this web site, and you can zoom in for closer resolution. From my report I found my the soil in my yard is a combination of Orangeburg-Faceville fine sandy loam or Kempsville-Bourne fine sandy loam (loams are great soil). Both are marine deposits, well-drained and -draining soils. The web site did not specifically call it "Pamunkey soil," but I think this is what I have (alluvial, marine deposits, loamy soils- sounds about right, plus we live in a 100-year floodplain, like almost all this area). Maybe a call to my ag extension agent is in order. I got a lot more details about the soil, the layers of soil and sub-types, the slope of the area, and more information I need to learn more about! This was a really fun exercise and I think it will continue to be fun as I do more exploration. I am lucky to have good soil, though I still need to add compost to maintain soil fertility (even good soils can lose fertility).