clay - Knowledgebase Question

Las Vegas, Ne
Question by pamela_boyds
May 26, 2009
The soil around my home is very alkaline and the soil texture is clay. What can I do to improve it and what types of plants will do well in an alkaline clay environment?

Answer from NGA
May 26, 2009


Clay soil can be a gardener's nightmare! You can begin, on a small scale, to improve the soil by working in lots of compost or other organic matter. Choose flower or vegetable beds that you want to plant this year and spread a three or four inch layer of mulch on top. Work it in to a depth of at least six inches, deeper if you can. Continue to do this year after year to help "fluff" up the soil. If you start small, in beds you plan to use immediately, you can spread your soil improvement efforts throughout the yard over several growing season. Persistence will pay off and eventually you'll have a loamy-type soil that will drain well yet hold important nutrients and moisture.

The Nevada Cooperative Extension has a publication on plants best suited to your gardening region. Here's the web address:

Hope you find it helpful.

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