How can I turn my clay yard into garden soil.

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I dug up a garden space and it's all clay. Is there anything I can add to it to make it good soil?

  12 answers
  • Gry28531259 Gry28531259 on Aug 26, 2017
    Mix compost and gardensoil peat moss mix altogether then send on as a base layer this should help drainage or just put in planter gardens and raised beds
  • Julie Dever Julie Dever on Aug 26, 2017
    Save time, energy.....use square foot gardening (raised beds filled with Mel's Mix). Good drainage is so important, clay won't work.
    • Janet Saipaia Janet Saipaia on Aug 28, 2017
      You need a good deep layer of compost on top of the clay first to settle on the clay to help with drainage
  • Billie Myers Billie Myers on Aug 26, 2017
    I live with clay, you need to add material that will break in down, I used buckwheat hulls, and shredded bark, (from a sawmill). and have used mulch every year it will break down in the soil.
  • 13549787 13549787 on Aug 27, 2017
    Contact your extension agent. He or she will have a ton of knowledge about soul amendments for your area and often will do soil testing for free.
  • Larry D. Jacobs Sr. Larry D. Jacobs Sr. on Aug 27, 2017
    I have heavy clay in my area....clay is usually nutritious.....but it's also impermeable...which means it doesn't absorb or drain water very well. To remedy this, I made my own sandy loam soil by working in a dump truck load of coarse sand.....sand acts as spacer blocks in the soil allowing for water penetration and drainage (you have to have both)......I then started adding humus (rotted organic material......leaves, twigs, grass clippings, etc.) which enriches the soil.......I also made a raised bed(mine is 16'X16") which also improves drainage.
    As previously mentioned, contact your County Agricultural Agent for info. They can also give you info on a soil analysis....this is important if you want to optimize yield in a small space......I produce enough in my small garden to treat lots of friends with tomatoes & cukes every summer...........Hope this helps you....Larry
  • Pam Walker Pam Walker on Aug 27, 2017
    DIG a hole the size of the garden you want to build. Dig it about 1-2 feet deep. Line the walls with cinder blocks or bricks. Add a black soil liner ~ you can get them at Lowe's (or a tarp will do nicely too). Fill it with the following mixture: 1/2 potting soil 1/2 peat moss & depending on what size garden, 1 tsp Triple 8 Fertilizer to every 5 Gallons of mixture. Fill the liner with the soil mixture & plant your garden. The wall will keep the muddy clay (when it rains) from eroding into the garden. The liner will keep whatever clay runs between the wall's cracks from mixing into your soil. GOOD LUCK!
  • Doreen Kennedy Doreen Kennedy on Aug 27, 2017
    Try digging in peatmoss and compost. That's what I did to help breakup my clay soil.
  • Becca Becca on Aug 27, 2017
    Our soil is clay. I made a mix of garden soil and vermiculite or perlite. I mixed in in with the turned clay and our plants are doing very well!!
  • Carol Carol on Aug 27, 2017
    I used to have clay soil. The suggestions above are good. I added a lot of coarse sand to my soil which did seem to help. For the record, if I were house-shopping and found that the yard had clay soil.... that would be a deal-breaker for me. Never again will I try to deal with clay because it is just so difficult to try to get things to grow and it is awful to dig.
  • MKCooper MKCooper on Aug 27, 2017
    If there is a farmer/rancher near by, see if he has one of those huge piles of stall/barn cleanings. Most have huge piles, and will give it to you for free, and many will even load it onto a truck for you. If you can dig a little of your dirt out of the way, add your straw/hay/manure to your garden area, and put 3-6" of your dirt on the top. That puts beneficial microbes on top. Water your new layers, and allow it to work together over the fall and winter. By Spring much of your straw/hay/manure will be broken down and your dirt lovely for planting.
  • Mimi Mimi on Aug 30, 2017
    Google: Square Yard Gardening. There are many articles, pictures, etc to explain how to mix up the dirt for a great garden. You will like it.
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