The Q&A Archives: New Land, New Problem

Question: Hello, I have a question for you. My family and I recently moved into a newly built home in November, and the land that is around the house is all clay. We can't even walk 3 steps into our front or back lawn without sinking. I just don't know where to start. I can't get out there and there's no grass to stable the land. I really wanted a vegetable garden, too. What's first?...please help!! -Becca

Answer: It sounds as though your lawn is a bit soggy. Clay soils don't drain well and because they hold so much moisture in the winter time, they can be really slow to dry out in the spring. There's not much you can do now that your lawn has been installed - the soil should have been amended with organic matter to help loosen it before the lawn was installed. You can do this with any flower or vegetable beds you install in the future - just incorporate lots of compost and it will help improve your soil. You may want to consider gardening in raised beds rather than on your clay soil Raised beds will drain much faster. It might be that a curtain drain around the perimeter of your property would help drain excess water, too, but I can't advise you or design one for you. Try talking to an agent at your local cooperative extension office for additional ideas for improving the drainage on your property. Best wishes with your new landscape!

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