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Original Message clay soil
Hi Laura,
Leslie's info sounds good. I also have a suggestion from experience. We had rock hard clay soil and I was instructed in a gardening class to get some red wiggler worms and a lot of dead vegetation.
We bought the worms and went through the neighborhood for all the bags of leaves we could find. The leaves spread out on the area were at least 3-4 feet deep, whole not shredded. Shredded would have been better but we didn't think of it, a lawn mower would have done the job of shredding. The leaves were tilled in before the worms were added.
The very next year the soil was wonderful. It was unbelieveable!
I need to tell you that there was one hitch. The worms took too long in coming and by the time they came the ground was freezing. So we raised them indoors all winter. That handfull of worms multiplied into BUCKETS of worms! If you are interested in raising worms it is very easy. Organic Gardening has an article on the topic in the April 2001 issue.
It was well worth the effort to get the worms and the leaves.

Quoting Laura: ------------
-I have a yard that is screaming for a
-makeover. The problem is the daunting
-task of preparing it for my ideas
(50'x60' rectangle). The soil is soo
-clay that it's a sticky swamp during
-winter (never draining) and a wasteland
-during summer (4" cracks). Along with
-the small and large chunks of concrete
-someone dumped in a back corner. The
-other issue is a large Poplar tree (on
-the fenceline) and its roots, which I
-would like to remove. The roots extend
-25' into the middle of the yard. Where
-do I start? Do I have the soil tested
-for ph first, or after I get it to the
-point that I can actually work it? I
-have time and energy (not to mention
-access to a lot of free horse manure),
-but not much money. I assume a stump
-grinder is the only way to get rid of
-the roots. Any suggestions for this
-anxious gardener? Thanks, Laura

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