Soil, soil, soil!

With temperatures in Ithaca rising into the 50s, spring feels like it’s right around the corner. In actual fact, we’re still deep in February, and it might well snow on Friday. But the heat still makes me imagine the coming warm months, when the ground will thaw and the become ready for planting.

With that in mind, I’ve started searching for information on our soil and the wonderful plants we can grow in it. Reading a great local blog, Living in Dryden, I found a handy map produced by the town of Dryden which roughly classifies soils and floodplains in the area. According to the map, we’ve got either Class I or II type soil, which they consider the best for agriculture. Excellent news!

I dug deeper and went to the Web Soil Survey from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. This is a really great resource which lets you look up soil information for just about anywhere in the United States. And most of the information is current, which may not be true about paper soil maps. In our region the map is from 2006.

After tinkering with the interface, I came up with a map like the one below. It shows roads and the boundaries of different soil types. It also has a nice legend which helps you figure out what you’re looking at, and lets you pick a point and grab information about it. In the small area I chose there were just 6000 acres with 35 different soil types!

websoilsurvey_result More