This Article is About
clay soil
chicken manure
peat moss
garden soil
sandy soil
potting soil
best of both worlds
hands and knees
herb gardens
How To Garden With Clay Soil
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How to Garden With Clay Soil

Gardening with clay soil can be a challenge because clay soil can hold water, can be poor in nutrients and hard to dig, especially if its glacial till—the rocky mess left in the trail of glaciers as they move. The best thing to remember about clay is to never add sand—sand will just sink and not improve the soil quality. Garden soil with a mixture of clay, sand, and vegetable matter often offers the best of both worlds.

When Planting a New Plant

When Planting a new plant in garden soil, always dig a deep pit to ensure that you break any soil barrier where the soil is power or packed so hard that it holds water. Always test your planting hole by filling it with water to see if the water drains. If the water doesn’t drain, dig deeper until you break the clay seal.

When Preparing Soil for a Vegetable Garden or Herb Garden

When preparing clay soil for a garden, plan to get down on your hands and knees and remove rocks. Rocks can be saved for use as mulch if desired. To improve the soil quality, add one part peat moss and one part of one of chicken manure, steer manure or mushroom compost. Peat moss, chicken manure and steer manure mixed with clay soil will lighten the soil as the fiber breaks down. Chicken manure contains the most nitrogen and steer manure with less. Mushroom compost works to build stronger roots and you might find mushrooms cropping up now and then. Herb gardens like steer manure better than the chicken manure that most vegetable gardens prefer.

Where Can You Buy Clay Soil to Add to Garden Soil?

The answer is mostly that you can't, although sometimes contractors sell top soil to local resellers. The best option to improve sandy soil is to amend it with steer manure, mushroom compost or with potting soil.

When Mulching to Improve the Garden Soil Quality

Recycle yard waste mulch laid in a two to three-inch later on top of your garden will slowly breakdown and get mixed with your clay soil to improve the quality of the soil. Add extra fertilizer because as fiber breaks down, it tends to remove the nitrogen from the soil. Clay soil without much fiber may be more basic than acidic—be sure to use plants suited to clay soil.

When Selecting Plants for Clay Soil Gardening

Choose plants that say will tolerate any soil. If your soil is rocky due to glacial till, selecting rock garden plants will likely be successful. Do not use plants that say, soil that drains well. Clay does not drain well. Some plants such as roses like to have additional fiber such as cellulose, husks or the pumice used in many potting soils.


Street Talk

very interesting. I did not know you could grow much in clay.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

i like and agree with your article 100%. Thank you

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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