How do I manage clayey soil infested with parasitic diseases?

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Last year my chillies withered when they should fruit. I realised there were nodes on the roots wìth whitish powdery substance. The clay bakes hard when a little dry thus making water uneasy to penetrate. In fact I need to utilise this piece of land for optimal yield this year. What should I do. Organic solutions needed.

  4 answers
  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Mar 13, 2019

    You need to add organic material to the soil to make it more friable. Sand, potting soils, manure, compost, garden soil, top soil, and others will break up the clay. Till or hand spade the amendments into the garden.

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Mar 13, 2019

    I would dig the holes for your plants extra big and use potting soil to plant your plants. They will get a good start that way. Clay soil needs to be amended really well every year for a good number of years before it will be really healthy soil, Ken's suggestions were really good. Till the amendments in really deep.

    • Rosemond Formadi Rosemond Formadi on Mar 14, 2019

      Initially I thought of covering the whole surface area but considering the volumes I will need to achieve that, I will start with your suggestion. Thanks so much.

  • 2dogal 2dogal on Mar 14, 2019

    Get a soil test done. Kits are available at your County Extension Office for about $10.00 and are more complete than ones at a big box garden center. Plus people there are so knowledgeable and helpful! They also can help identify the powdery substance (mold) and how to rectify it.

    This will let you know EXACTLY what your soil needs for optimum plant growth. Plus the people there are so knowledgeable and helpful!

    In the meantime, with clay type soil - start a compost pile ASAP!

    • Rosemond Formadi Rosemond Formadi on Mar 14, 2019

      Unfortunately it's difficult for me to do a soil test soil because there's no such laboratory in the town where I reside in Ghana, West Africa. That's why some of us use services like this to help ourselves. Some one I spoke to suggests I add neem leaves to the soil before ploughing.

      Thanks for the advice.

  • Melody Stern Melody Stern on Mar 14, 2019

    The only thing I know of made specifically to break up clay soil is Gypsum! I don't know if you can get that where you live! It is granular,you sprinkle it heavily' on the soil, digging it in as best you can.It will take several applications,but the reward is well worth the effort! With each application you will be able to turn the soil farther and farther deeper,adding some topsoil and/or mulch as you go! Gypsum breaks up the enzymes in the clay and it becomes soft and permeable, allowing the soil to accept/mingle with the mulch as you turn it in! I used it in my friends garden that was pure hard red clay,within a couple of years she had dark rich soil for her flower beds! ..Peat moss is also a Great additive,it holds in moisture so in dry areas less watering is required! Any kind of chipped bark,twigs, and pine needles,(although I doubt you have pine trees in Africa) are great additives!!..The white on the roots you speak of is probably root rot,or powdery mildew,a fungus which occurs when the soil doesn't dry out well in between waterings! I have used a mixture of water and bleach as a remedy for that with some' success,here it is called Texas Root Rot! Bearded Irises,Roses, and Agapanthus are just a couple of plants susceptible to Powdery Mildew! Once the soil is loose and rich,it will be able to dry out more quickly, eliminating that problem,but keep in mind that fungus's are spores that spread easily,such as Black Spot,another fungus,and the entire area needs to be treated!! Don't forget those coffee grinds,they make a great additive too!! ....Good luck to you,, and happy gardening!!

    • Rosemond Formadi Rosemond Formadi on Mar 15, 2019

      Thanks so much. I'll enquire about gypsum certainly and try the other suggestions for the fungi also. I love this community.

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