Around here, soil is more precious than ever. It’s difficult to have good soil in the first place. Once a gardener succeeds in making a space that will finally grow something worthwhile, keeping all the soil in place is important. If you find yourself with a space of ground that is losing or in danger of losing dirt, take a look at these 5 ways to prevent loss of topsoil. You might find something that works well for you.
5. Mulch over the Top of Any Exposed Dirt
The great thing about mulch is that it can be made from many things; bark, wood chips, grass clippings, shredded junk mail, or sheets of newspaper. As long as your newly tilled dirt is covered up, it shouldn’t blow away or get washed away with the rain.
4. Divert the Water
Let’s say you have an area of the yard that is constantly becoming eroded by the water pouring off the gutter on the house. You can either lengthen the spout or direct the water towards an area where the topsoil won’t be washed away or put down rocks so the water pummels the rocks and not the soil.
3. Make a Barrier around the Area of Topsoil
This is probably most helpful for hilly areas. You don’t want all your topsoil washing down the hill each time it rains. Until the plants are able to become more established, build a low wall out of treated lumber or railroad ties so the dirt will press up against this barrier and not wash away down the hillside.
2. Spread out Some Straw
Bales of straw are very inexpensive and a single bale goes a long way. Not only can straw help to keep your topsoil from washing away each time it rains, but it will also supply protection to any seeds you’ve recently planted in the soil under the straw.
1. Plant a Ground Cover
An assortment of ground cover choices is available at most nurseries. There are mossy varieties, flowering cover, trailing vines, and short bushy plants. Each is low growing and generally will take over an area in a short amount of time.
Do you think any of these methods will work for you? If you’ve already come up with another way to keep your topsoil from disappearing, please share! Anyone who has battled this type of situation will find any additional information very useful.
Top Photo Credit: London Permaculture