Red clay

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Upham, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. Upham

    Upham Well-Known Member

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    Sep 5, 2003
    Location:
    Massachusetts 02048
    All we have for soil around here is red clay. Will I be able to grow anything in it?
    If not what do I have to do to make it usable
    Thank you,
    Upham
     
  2. kathy H

    kathy H kathyh

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    393
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    Location:
    California
    You can grow things in it but they will grow better if you add organic matter to it. Try boarding stables around you for horse manure hopefully with straw or hay mixed in, then just till into soil.
     

  3. lacyj

    lacyj Well-Known Member

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    May 14, 2002
    Location:
    Calif, The Mother Lode
    We've been working on our clay soil for about 10 years and it's pretty good now. We turn in composted oak leaves, and composted chicken sweepings. We have gotten stable manure a few times and wet alfalfa, too. We use raised beds and that helps alot.
     
  4. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    510
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    Aug 18, 2004
    Location:
    SE PA, zone 6b
    Take up pottery. :haha: :haha: :haha:

    Pile on manure, leaf mulch, shredded newspaper, garbage, etc. In spring, plant down into it without plowing, etc. Use organic mulch during the growing season to conserve water and to hold down weeds. Try it; you'll like it!

    Two books: Lasagna Gardening by Pat Lanza and Weedless Gardening by Lee Reich.
     
  5. CindyLou

    CindyLou New Member

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    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    OK
    I am farming in Oklahoma. We have really red clay. Lots of red clay. Put anything that will compost in to it and it will grow anything. My garden is about 5 years old and it is a nice black color now.
     
  6. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Nov 9, 2004
    Location:
    Alabama
    Figure out how well it drains. If a 1 ft hole dug in it holds part or all the water, after filled, for over an hour then you have to amend the whole soil for a large area or do raised beds. If it drains then can just amend soil well around where plants' roots will be. But in dryer weather poor drainage of clay can be a benefit- conserve water- just would need some drainage in WV in some seasons. I dug a huge trench- elephant grave DH called it- and amended it a few feet deep for my roses in a clayey NC front yard. Better than sandy soils where you lose fertility and accumulate salts from watering so much.