The best declumping tool???

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by HorseMom, May 31, 2006.

  1. HorseMom

    HorseMom Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,978
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Location:
    Wooster, Oh
    Hi All,

    DH and I are just getting our raised beds put together and ready to plant. I attmpted to plant some seedlings tonight, and it's just not possible with all the clumps. SO I hoed and used the rake hoe thingy :) for a bit and it seemed to be doing no good. Is there a tool or a tip that is better then my hoes? Or should I call off work tomorrow and break clumps by hand, LOL.
    Thanks,
    Heidi
     
  2. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    19,807
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Before I got my beds established, I would break up the clumps by hand until I got tired of it. Then I'd just plant in between the clumps, and let the amendments I added to the soil do the declumping work over the seasons. There were fewer and fewer clumps over time.

    When I planted between clumps, I still got plenty of produce, and eventually things turned out just fine. No more clumps. :)

    Pony!
     

  3. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    6,395
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    The trick is to get rid of clumps before they dry out. That is a problem with clay soil. As I have amended my pure clay, it has been much easier to plant in. I don't till, just use a deep composting method for the weeds and to amend the soil.
     
  4. Abuelo in TX

    Abuelo in TX Active Member

    Messages:
    26
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2005
    Location:
    NE Texas
    I use a tool called a Garden Weasel cultivator. It has a spikes on 3 rollers and works fairly well on all but the hardest clumps. Only goes about 3" deep. I think I bought mine at Lowes several years ago. I can't remember how much it was. Seems like $20-30. Still not easy work though, but better than breaking up by hand. Hope this helps
     
  5. tambo

    tambo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,822
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Location:
    NW TN
    If the ground is to wet when you break it up you will end up with clumps.If you ever start breaking ground and it clumps you might as well wait till it dries some.You might try raking the clumps aside to get to the good soil.It would be easier than breaking them up.They will dissolve the next time it rains.
     
  6. smumitson

    smumitson Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    52
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2005
    I've got clay and I've decided I will never pull sod again! I'm using the lasagna method a bit modified and thus far it is working fabulously! I'm just covering the stuff with cardboard then fresh dirt and compost and planting - voila! A raised bed of sorts

    kids
     
  7. HorseMom

    HorseMom Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,978
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Location:
    Wooster, Oh
    Thanks everyone for the ideas, please keep them coming if anyone has anything else to add.

    More info on our garden. Our soil is horrible clay and rock so that is why went with the raised bed. It is 3 cinder blocks by 6 cinderblocks (the big, 40# blocks) sorry I don't know actual sizes, LOL. We laid cardboard down then 30, 40# bags of top soil, that was soaking wet when bought. One bag (1 Cu.Ft.) peat moss, and 18, 5 gallon buckets of dried, burnt out horse manure (at leat a year old). It was then "stirred" together. I think the BIG clumps are from the topsoil being wet and compressed in the bags, the little clumps are the manure. We got a good, hard rain tonight, so how canm I help them dissapear if the rain didn't take care of it?

    Thanks for all the help!
    Heidi
     
  8. Thoughthound

    Thoughthound Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    280
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Location:
    Iowa
    Try the drop test before you work the soil.

    Dig as deep as you plan to till or shovel. Take a handful of dirt and squash it into a ball. Drop it from about three feet high.

    If the ball does not shatter, the soil is too wet and you will end up with lots of clods.

    If you want even smoother soil, wait until the soil ball will fall apart in your hand.

    If you cannot wait to work the soil, and you live where the ground freezes, rake the clods to the side and winter will break them down eventually.