Hard dirt?

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I have real hard ground in my back yard, it has been impossible to grow anything. What can I do besides replacing all the dirt in my yard?

  9 answers
  • Rent a rototiller to break up the the dirt and then amend it with compost or manure.

  • Nicki Petruzzella Kerns Nicki Petruzzella Kerns on Aug 23, 2018

    Would you be open to raised beds or using lots of planters?

  • Lorie Lorie on Aug 23, 2018

    Not sure how big you want to go or what you want to plant but have you thought of building raised planters? Then you could put topsoil and peat moss in it.

  • Lisa Miller Lisa Miller on Aug 23, 2018

    I had the same problem, I used a tiller to loosen soil and added dried leaves. I continued to till until soil was good for growing.

  • Rockyroad Rockyroad on Aug 23, 2018

    By hard dirt do you mean it is a heavy clay ? Sounds like you are definitely in need of more organic matter : compost , rotted manure , maybe add some loam . Sand added to clay can turn it into an almost concrete material unless it's very coarse and the organic materials all have nutritional value . One other possibility is extreme soil compaction due to heavy equipment driving on the ground . Probably rototilling would be a wise idea for this as well as working in most of the organic matter , but make sure it's weed-free first !

  • Patti Nicholas Patti Nicholas on Aug 23, 2018

    It sounds like you have clay soil so your best bet would be to use a rototiller to break up the soil, you can rent them at most equipment rental stores, then add in soil amendments like compost, manure, rotting leaves, grass clippings, etc. Do this in the fall and then in the spring, before planting season begins, turn it again and have your local extension service test it for what nutrients it needs for optimum growing conditions. Adding amendments is something that every gardener needs to do no matter what their base soil is. Clay retains water, but doesn’t drain well, sand drains too well and doesn’t hold nutrients. Some soil has too much nitrogen, some too much phosphorus and some not enough of anything so your problem is not uncommon.

  • Amanda Amanda on Aug 23, 2018

    Hello. You can add sand, compost and peat moss to your soil. Then till it in. It will improve your soil and make it loose.

  • Jeanne Grunert Jeanne Grunert on Sep 04, 2018

    A few thoughts as I deal with hard clay soil in my area that makes bricks in certain weather. I've used cardboard boxes, flattened out, and placed over the soil as a weed suppressant. Then I put a layer of wood chips over that an inch or two thick. The cardboard keeps moisture in the soil and the worms do the rest while the wood chips break down and feed the soil. Adding compost helps a lot, too. You can trench compost. Dig a shallow trench and put kitchen scrap s--fruit and vegetable peels, coffee pot grounds -- into the trench. Fill with soil when each section of the trench gets full. Decomposition will help the materials break down and nourish the soil, which will break it up and make it better. This all takes a lot of time but if you aren't in a position to replace the soil it's the best that can be done.

  • Holly Lengner - Lost Mom Holly Lengner - Lost Mom on Aug 22, 2021

    You can try some of the dry landscaping ideas: Home and Garden DIY Ideas | Hometalk