The Q&A Archives: Soil

Question: Maybe you can help me with this. My garden soil is loaded with clay. Big clumpy, clay balls. As the soil drys, they get hard as rocks. What can I do about this?

Answer: Clay soil can be difficult to work with, but it can be improved. Every year, add copious amounts of organic matter (such as compost, rotted leaves, well aged stable manure and bedding) and possibly a small amount of grit or coarse sand. Using an organic mulch routinely will also help feed the soil and improve its structure as it breaks down. Do not work clay soil when it is wet enough to stick to the shovel, as this results in clumps. Sometimes it is helpful to add amendments in the fall and allow the winter to break down the larger clods so that you have less work to do in the spring to prepare for planting. Your county extension may also have some suggestions for you.

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