Tips for gardening in clay soil

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Tips for gardening in clay soil
« on: June 09, 2008, 05:37:16 AM »
Western North Carolina is well-known for the quality of its pottery, but that comes from the fact that it's got VERY clay soil, which is NOT the best for gardening.  I've got some books to read, and some info from the Net, but does anyone else out there have any more ideas?

For anyone interested, here's a site I found:

http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/847/

Thanks!
Bug
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead

Re: Tips for gardening in clay soil
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2008, 04:55:26 PM »
I'm not the best at gardening but I used to have a garden that was Full of clay, we found the best way to garden if you didn't want to have to remove it all the time was to but the dry loving plants at the top of our sloped garden and bog loving plants at the bottom. So maybe try to work with the natural lay of the land?

Re: Tips for gardening in clay soil
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2008, 06:39:19 PM »
1) worms, worms, worms! Had cheaply at your local bait shop. Throw a hundred or so in and wait a few months.

2) You want plants that like clay--amazingly, there are hundreds. try http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ for some useful hints.

3) Compost coffee grounds and tea leaves to break up the soil. You can just throw them on top, especially if you have the worms--they'll come up after a rain to help.

4) Mulch to keep moisture in.

I used this for three years on a plot of land so bare weeds wouldn't grow in it. Now everything grows!
raising geekiness to an art form!

Re: Tips for gardening in clay soil
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2008, 10:59:39 AM »
Also, you can buy a powder called gypsum which is related to limestone and alkalises the soil the way veggies like, but also breaks down the clay bonds. Just chuck handfuls of it around, then come back a few days later with a spade or a mattock and break the surface which will be a lot softer. When the soil has broken up, then you'll be able to incorporate come compost or even unrotted plant-matter like straw or lawn clippings for the necessary organic matter. The minerals in the clay are a treasure-trove, but the clay beeds to be broken down and enriched with organic matter before plants can access it.