Sakonnet Preservation - April 22, 2022
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Happy Earth Day! 

Hands cradle a seedling in earth at left. Earth Day began as a demonstration organized by Wisconsin’s Senator Nelson in 1970. Along with 20 million advocates nationwide, he raised awareness of environmental issues and forced the planetary risk onto the national political agenda. By the end of the year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was created. Just 2 years later, Sakonnet Preservation Association was founded. Over the next 10 years, regulations to preserve water and air quality, restrictions on mining and toxic waste disposal, and the protection of endangered species were put into place. 

What’s in the earth under your feet? 

The bedrock of Rhode Island’s coastal lowlands are made of granite- and limestone-like rock that were formed by volcanic activity. The soil on top of it was largely deposited by glaciers – either being dropped as they passed over the area, or left behind in the melt of the last ice age.  

What grows best on a farm or in a garden, and what you might need to do to boost the soil’s productivity, is shaped by the particular deposits there. What we generically call “soil” is made of sand, silt, clay - plus decomposing organic matter.  (Below is the USDA's soil classification system.)

Large sections of the Sakonnet River side of West Main Road is regular silt loam. Across town, Adamsville’s soil classifications often include “very stony”. Neighboring South Westport, MA has more sandy loam. What does that actually mean for a farmer or gardener? The West Main Road farmland is more loose & nutrient-rich naturally. Adamsville has plenty of nutrients but would require more surface rock removal to avoid damaging tools or obstructing roots. South Westport doesn’t have the rocks to contend with and drains well but needs nutrients added frequently (called “amending the soil”) with organic matter like compost or manure.  

If you want to know what kind of soil you have, you can look your land up on USGS’s Web Soil Survey. Search “what grows well in (soil type)”. Let us know what you plan to do with your new knowledge of your hyper-local earth. 

If you have time tomorrow...

The Sogkonate Garden Club (SGC) is facilitating an Earth Day clean-up tomorrow, Saturday, April 23. SGC members will be in the parking lot on the south side of the yellow Brownell house (across from Bay Coast Bank) from 8:30-10:30 AM. You can get free bags, gloves, and a doughnut (until they run out!). Please tell SCG members which road/street you will be collecting litter on. 

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The Sakonnet Preservation Association, founded in 1972 as the first private, non-profit community land trust in Rhode Island, accepts tax deductible gifts of land and conservation easements as well as monetary contributions, gifts of securities, and bequests to further its mission of conserving and stewarding Little Compton’s natural landscapes and resources.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 945, 73C Simmons Road, Little Compton, Rhode Island 02837
Phone: 401.635.8800
E-mail: spa

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Sakonnet Preservation Association · PO BOX 945 · LITTLE COMPTON, RI 02837 · USA

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