The Q&A Archives: Improving Clay Soil

Question: What is the best way to improve my heavy clay soil? I don't make my own compost but I do have access to several garden centers and a tiller.

Answer: Begin by spreading 4-6 inches of organic matter over your garden site and tilling it in. You can use aged manure, leaf mold, peat moss, or compost. After your crops are finished in the fall, plant the area with a green manure cover crop such as hairy vetch or winter rye. Then turn the crop over in the spring, before it sets seed. You'll be adding organic matter while you're protecting your soil from erosion. You might also want to start a compost pile so you'll have a convenient source of organic matter to add to your garden each spring. It will take a couple of years, but you'll eventually have terrific garden soil!

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