Some People Say a Man is Made Out of Mud

So, of course, since we planted the lilac last night, I ran into my friend “Mud Blob.”  Mud Blob lives just under the grass in my yard and waits patiently for the day when you may need to kill an intruder, which you will be able to do by picking up Mud Blob and throwing it at the intruder, who will be taken out by its sheer weight.  Mud Blob is the lead of soils.  Each handful weighs about ten pounds.

Mud Blob even could have a theme song.

Who lives in the yard and under the trees?

Mud Blob Dirt Pants.

Blobby and dirty and muddy is he!

Mud Blob Dirt Pants

Okay, obviously, it’s a little derivative, but I’m still working on it.

I turned to the internet to learn more about Mud Blob.  And, though I was able to find what appears to be some kind of Farmer/Scientist Fetish Porn site (SFW), I wasn’t finding dirt that looked particularly like the dirt in my yard.

But then I went to the Web Soil Survey and mapped my house and learned that I have Newark Silt Loam all in my yard.  It’s about 80 inches down to the rockbed, but the water table, as we discover often, is just 6 to 18 inches down, and the soil drains poorly–which is why, I suppose, it clumps together into Mud Blob.

The USDA says elsewhere about Mud Blob (You can call him “Newark” but he’ll always be Mud Blob to me), “The Newark series consists of very deep, somewhat poorly drained soils formed in mixed alluvium from limestone, shale, siltstone, sandstone, and loess. The soil is on nearly level flood plains and in depressions. Slope ranges from 0 to 3 percent.”

I had to look up “alluvium” which basically just means “deposits of mud formed by flowing water.”  And it’s very crumbly.

But people grow stuff on it, so that’s good.

7 thoughts on “Some People Say a Man is Made Out of Mud

  1. Mudblob can likely be reduced to better soil over several years by adding french drains. Or by adding humongous amounts of organic material and improving the drainage.

    Here in Texas, I live on the edge of the Edwards uplift, which means that under 2 inches of developer-added topsoil, I have pure limestone, hard as concrete. In some spots, I have limestone clay, which is water-impervious and makes a lovely white mudblob.

  2. I dunno if you could make a french drain work if the water table is that close to the surface. It’d get tricky but you could probably do it depending on the contours of your yard.

    We have a giant mud blob just down the street from us. The developer scraped off all the top soil into a giant pile and they get a little out to put in each yard as they finish building the house.

  3. Is it kind of…clay-ey? You know, like most of the dirt around Chicagoland? Yeah, that shit is hard. Besides what Mikee said about adding organic material (i.e., your not-yet-ready compost), gypsum is often used as an amendment to help loosen it up and make it not so compact. I used it alot up there and it really helped the soil.

  4. You could make a nice pot out of my “dirt” and not even have to fire it to make it waterproof. I thought I had clay in Memphis, but this crap is naaaasty. From the site (thank you, btw–very interesting):
    0 to 7 inches: Silt loam
    7 to 14 inches: Silty clay
    14 to 55 inches: Clay
    55 to 59 inches: Unweathered bedrock

    Uh huh. That’s why everydamnthing dies in my yard.

  5. Peg, it seems clay-ey to me, but the moles have no problem digging through it (though how they don’t drown is beyond me). It’s just that it glops together and is so heavy. I have to say, since it drains so poorly, I have to wonder if you couldn’t reach some kind of best-case scenario where you amended a good six inches with organic material and good black soil (maybe a little deeper) and the Mud Blob under it could act like an over-saturated sponge keeping everything fairly moist.

    Lesley, isn’t it an awesome site? But damn, you might as well open up some kind of pottery barn in your back yard and give up on plants.

  6. Sorry, kids I’m smack on a nice deep pile of silty loam. Good for growing all kinds of things. I looked at our spot once before on County Extension Service soil maps and it turned out that we are on the one patch of really good dirt in the area. I was then pummeled by the other gardeners in the class.

    I have spent my time in 2 inches of red clay mud over Limestone rock and I don’t miss it at all.

    That’s a really good site. Very Interesting.

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