Correcting Clay Soil (ratios)

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Jack in VA, Oct 28, 2004.

  1. Jack in VA

    Jack in VA Well-Known Member

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    So , say ya got red clay soil. I've heard the arguments against adding sand , and I've heard about how many minerals , etc. it has in it.So if ya wanna make it ideal soil , how much clay would you wanna have left when yer done?
    ie; If I add compost , sawdust , SOME sand , and maybe peat moss or whatever, what percentage should still be clay?
     
  2. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    Sand is not supposed to help drainage unless you make your soil over half sand (and thus you are displacing area that could be fertile with all that sand). This is because the clay just fills in any gaps between the bits of sand, ya know?

    I would say, as much organic material as you can add. :haha:

    Or raised beds.
     

  3. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    In short, you really can't add too much compost.
    Consider also green manure by planting a cover crop like buckwheat or clover or alfalfa, and amend that into your soil to help break down clay. Either till the cover crop before it blossoms, or whipper snip it down to rot down and replant a couple more times repeating the cover crop idea, add more compost or leaf/straw layer.
    I had a load of black dirt brought in over the clay garden which helped. The black earth is mostly a peat soil. The more organic material over the clay, the better it will break down clay to be more usable to inviting earthworms.
    It's not an overnight thing, but well worth the wait.
    :)
     
  4. Ardie/WI

    Ardie/WI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've talked about this before so, if I bore anyone, am sorry.

    My friend moved into a subdivision many years ago where the builder had scraped off the top soil, leaving clay. My friend, having been brought up in the country, simply dug holes and trenches and threw her biodegradable stuff from the kitchen in them. She also hunted down bags of leaves and used that. When the trenchs and hole got full, she buried them! That simple! By the way, when they did put in a lawn, it was wonderful.

    Just keep digging in the compostable stuff.