Growing A New Garden In Hard Clay - Knowledgebase Question

Hudson Falls, NY
Question by reenjay
May 29, 2001
My husband & I just purchased 25 acres. The land is all clay. I am very excited to have my first garden. We are having the land turnd by a tractor and then tilled. Could you please tell me where to go from here? What should I haved tilled in with the clay to losen it?
Thank you for your help!


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Answer from NGA
May 29, 2001

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The first thing to do is run some soil tests to check fertility, organic matter content and pH as well as anything else recommended by your county extension. This will help you know what needs to be added (eg lime or fertilizers) and how much is needed. Organic matter is almost always needed; this can be compost, rotted leaves, aged stable manure and bedding or whatever material you can find locally available. In clay soil it may also be necessary to add a small portion of sand or grit to help drainage. Again, your county extension should be able to advise you on the best way to handle the local soil conditions. Good luck with your new venture!

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