The Q&A Archives: soil amendments

Question: most of my yard is just field. bumps and holes galory. What would you suggest I add to my clay soil so I might eventually plant a lawn?

Answer: Organic matter of all kinds! You can enrich your soil over a period of years and end up with rich garden loam if you add organic matter. Start this spring by removing all vegetation from the area and spreading 4-5 inches of organic matter over the area to be planted. You can use compost, aged manure (fresh manure can be too hot and might contain weed seeds), shredded leaves or whatever organic matter is readily available in your local area. Dig or till this organic matter into the soil - 8-10 inches deep. Plant your lawn or your flower beds. In the case of flower or vegetable beds, mulch over the bare soil between the plants with additional organic matter. A 2-3 inch layer will help suppress weeds and slow water evaporation. At the end of the season dig the organic matter into the soil and add a fresh layer. Repeat this process annually and you'll end up with rich garden loam - and a spectacular garden.

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