Muck (soil)

From Academic Kids

Muck is a soil made up primarily of humus from drained swampland. It is known as black soil in The Fens of eastern England, where it was originally, mainly fen and bog. It is used there, as in the United States, for growing specialty crops such as onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes.

Muck farming on drained bogs is an important part of agriculture in New York, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida, where mostly vegetables are grown. American "muckers" often have roots from the Netherlands or Eastern Europe, where their ancestors practiced a similar type of farming. The soils are deep, dark colored, and friable, often underlain by marl or marly clay.

Muck farming is controversial, because the drainage of wetlands destroys wildlife habitat and produces other environmental problems. It is unlikely that any more will be created in the US, because of environmental regulations. It also was often hyped as miracle soil, capable of vast yields, which does not hold up in reality. It is prone to problems; muck is very light and usually windbreaks must be provided to keep it from blowing away when dry. It also can catch fire and burn underground for months. Oxidation also removes a portion of the soil each year, so it becomes progressively shallower. Some muck land has been reclaimed for wildlife preserves.

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