Views: 207, Replies: 10 » Jump to the end

valthm441
Sep 12, 2016 12:00 PM CST
My acre of land is clay. Any ideals how I can make my garden better.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
Sep 12, 2016 12:07 PM CST
Gypsum ! Good 4 soil.and opens soil so moisture can go through.
Welcome! Hurray! I tip my hat to you.
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier The WITWIT Badge Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Moonhowl
Sep 12, 2016 12:14 PM CST
Hi @valthm441 Welcome to NGA.

The quick answer is organic matter. Below is some info on how to improve clay soil. I hope you find these useful.

http://garden.org/learn/articles/view/1310/
http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/fix-clay-soil
http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/how-improve-clay-...
http://sanctuarysoil.com/improving-the-fertility-condition-a...
http://learn.eartheasy.com/2014/02/5-easy-ways-to-assess-you...
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Sep 12, 2016 12:19 PM CST
Welcome!

Gypsum primarily works for certain kinds of clay (sodic) which are not all that common. I think they are more so in Philip's area but we don't know where valthm441 lives and whether the same might apply there. Adding organic matter is the general recommendation for improving clay soils. Sand is not recommended because to change the soil texture enough you would have to add an impractically large amount to see any improvement. If you are in the United States your local Extension office would know if gypsum might be worthwhile in your area.
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Sep 12, 2016 12:45 PM CST
And adding sand to clay would probably make it turn into something like hardpan.

Philip has hardpan and gypsum would be the perfect answer in his case. When I lived in the Central Valley, there were companies that came out and dynamited a hole in your yard so you could a plant tree. Smiling
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
Weedwhacker
Sep 12, 2016 7:53 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, @valthm441 !

I agree that the addition of lots of organic material is what you need to help your clay soil. The soil in my garden was a very heavy clay loam when we first started (26 years ago), and now it is entirely different. Initially we would have lots of standing water with any sort of rain storm, now the garden is about the only place on our property that doesn't have that problem -- even with a very big storm.

You might want to consider temporarily using raised beds or containers for growing your plants while you improve the soil in your garden area.
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
/ Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Name: J.R. Baca
Pueblo West Co. ( High Dessert (Zone 6a)
josebaca
Sep 13, 2016 7:28 PM CST
Welcome! Valthm441;
I too have heavy clay, hardpan to be exact, and I agree with those suggesting bio matter - compost, leafmold or green manures- but your best bet is bulk perlite ( my opinion anyway ). I have the fortune of living less than 20 miles away from a factory that processes it, and can get 4 cubic feet for less than what most people will pay for 1 foot at a hardware store!!! lucky me, huh?

I don't know where you live, but in my experience and area, the ph level is high so you may want to get a soil test ( and probably sulphur) . Been going on 4 and a half years here and I decided to NOT refresh some woodchips that I put down our 1st summer ( on top of some bio- comp ) with the intent to rototill in next spring , the chips are degraded enough to act as more organic matter for the planned flower bed.

We are near the time of year when nearly everyone is going to start leaving bags of leaves for the trash companies to pick up, I suggest you beat the companies to it! Start your own compost pile, plant a winter covercrop and ( at least here where there's a bunch ) keep your eyes peeled for Christmas nativity scenes put out by churches because by January they will thank you for taking their hay! Things like this are cheap and require only a sincere smile a kind word or two and just a few calories. Your work will come next spring, so work out during the winter so your ready Smiling

Good luck!
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Sep 13, 2016 7:39 PM CST
I'm visualizing perlite blowing all over the desert. It would be like a snowstorm. And would hold about the same amount of moisture as the snow around here does. Smiling J.R., how do you hold it down?
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
Weedwhacker
Sep 13, 2016 8:05 PM CST
"I'm visualizing perlite blowing all over the desert."

I was thinking the same thing! Blinking
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
/ Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Name: J.R. Baca
Pueblo West Co. ( High Dessert (Zone 6a)
josebaca
Sep 13, 2016 8:27 PM CST
Ms. Daisy;
I use a MEAN rototiller when I first break ground, the clay pretty much demands it, but when that's done, I'll dig a big furrow in the middle of my work lengthwise and as deep as I can, then put down the perlite. After mixing with my pointed or forked hoe I can come back one more time with the rototiller. This ensures a good mix, but to a certain degree, you're right some does fly or float off, but I was lucky enough to ( accidently ) design my beds to catch on one what the other loses especially on the leaward side of these danged winds which also happens to be the lowest area in my veggie garden so rain caused runoff ALSO collects in the same spot. Needless to say my eastern beds are more accommodating to root crops than the western ones - I'm one of those that makes A LOT of lemonade! Big Grin





Name: J.R. Baca
Pueblo West Co. ( High Dessert (Zone 6a)
josebaca
Sep 13, 2016 8:53 PM CST
I should also state that when I put compost or shredded leaves into or onto my beds, I'll mix perlite in that as well. I've also found that when it ( the perlite ) is ' dirty' and wet, it's not so light as to blow off in a mild wind and only floats when deluged in a heavy downpour. In my opinion the only other option to keep my soil aerated is pea gravel, heavy and non floating, but, I and my truck are not up to hauling and unloading TONS, which it would amount to at 3+ yards, one truck load in my half ton.

Meaning to say one truckload ( 3+ yards or 22 bags )of perlite.
[Last edited by josebaca - Sep 14, 2016 2:41 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1271702 (11)

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by Paul2032 and is called "French Marigold"