Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Clay Soil  (Read 4360 times)

Goldcraig

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • North Ayrshire
Clay Soil
« on: January 01, 2012, 12:54:29 pm »
Hola, Looking to select an area for veggies soon and work it over. The soil has a high clay content and the drainage is very poor...I know I will most likely need to form raised beds, but wondered if there was any other solutions, and what I should add to the raised bed to mix with the existing soil to improve drainage....

Oh, and Happy New Year to you all  :thumbsup:
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doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
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Re: Clay Soil
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2012, 01:17:55 pm »
I have the same problem plus a high water table, so I am going for hip height raised beds with completely fresh soil.  (Easier on my old back and knees too  ;) )My son is going to build them from pallets and my cousin's partner is going to do the run to the 'cowp' to pick up the free soil.
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darkbrowneggs

  • Joined Aug 2010
    • The World is My Lobster
Re: Clay Soil
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2012, 01:25:42 pm »
I have exceedingly heavy clay soil, real brickmaking stuff

As well as adding compost rotted muck and washed sand as and when I can;  I dress with Dolomitic limestone and Gypsum 1:4 which works wonders with the soil texture.  I found the tip from Lawrence Hills and he reckons there is a chemical reaction which results in the fine particles of the clay combining to give a more crumby texture. 

Takes a while but year on year it has made an amazing difference to my soil
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deepinthewoods

  • Guest
Re: Clay Soil
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2012, 01:52:35 pm »
im on heavy clay, i built raised beds and filled with good stuff, but i broke the clay pan up before filling.

Goldcraig

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • North Ayrshire
Re: Clay Soil
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2012, 02:39:57 pm »
The water table is high in my area also, and the soil is really heavy, thanks for the advice...it'll be cheaper than a gym membership, that's for sure !!  can't wait though :thumbsup:
Trust me.....I'm a Chef !!

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Clay Soil
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2012, 03:59:05 pm »
All sound advice. Let us know how you get on Goldcraig
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Clay Soil
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2012, 04:18:38 pm »
Good luck.  It'll be worth the hard work.  I found raised beds actually save work once they're built and filled.

Plantoid

  • Joined May 2011
  • Yorkshireman on a hill in wet South Wales
Re: Clay Soil
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2012, 06:24:10 pm »
i too have a very high water table that runs down off the hill top I live on , it's just a few inches below the surface  most of the time. every time I dig a hole the glacial clays  soon see it filled and stay filled  for days at a time.

 in addition to brown eggs suggestions .
 if you have any chance of limestone dust from a quarry get it and hand braodcast it  over the areas in winter and spring but not at the same time as manuring for the acid manure will kill the limestone and vice a versa .
do them at least 20 day a part  then a month later do a soil test to see where you are wrt the pH ( parts of Hydrogen ) of the soil and adjust if needed to get a pH for what you want to grow. .

There is a very old way  of draining things quite a bit  a bit if you have some gradient to drain through the easiest  if you can affort to hire a mini digger  and get it to where you want it is to  dig a drawn to scale set of herring bone trenches some three feet six deep and fill the bottoms with laid straw and brush wood faggots to a depth of 15 inches or so or again if you can afford it use perforated land drain wrapped in the soft black weed membrane material to help keep it clean then lay it ona 12 bed of 10 mm clean crushed stone and cover it with the same amount then back fill .

 There is a modern day equalivalent which uses  plaited straw some four inches thick for the water route  instead of a a plastic pipe.

The straw and faggots should be Ok for 15 or more years as there will be little oxygen or microbial action to decay things that deep down .

 You can do this by hand but it really is hard graft and takes ages.... I know I've  done over two hundred mtrs of trench else where for the same reasons.

 Whilst doing this set of gardens I've got hold of several small two tonne truck loads of bark chippings & coarse saw dust from a saw mill and used that in with the back fill  over the land drains so I get some water percolationg down through the stuff into the drain pipes. I've also  mixed /.spread rotavated in several 1 tonne bags of sharp builders sand into the top 10 inches or so of the garden and lawn areas.

I've done this to at least give the lawns a fighting chance of survival instead of  them ending up like most of my neighbours areas of soggy cut moss.

Spiking your lawns / grassed areas  and hard garden then broadcasting  sharp sand mixed with  decent compost and a bit of dried old grow bag contents over the holesthen stiff brushuing it over the spiled area  is also beneficial for areas where you walk on,  as not only does it give a sort of drainage it also oxygenates the ground and helps the worms get going , I've usually hired a petrol driven machine as it much less effort .

My mates laughed at me when I spiked the large cut grass areas at our old place , they laughed even more when I dragges  an eight foot  long 6 foot wide bit of weighted down chain link fencine behing the ride on mower over them in early spring but boy were they envious of the lawns in summer.
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Hopewell

  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: Clay Soil
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2012, 07:34:20 pm »
We have heavy clay soil. I used to dig the compost etc in but it seamed to make very little difference. I now put the compost on the soil surface and plant into that. Sometimes I just use the cleaning out of the rabbit hutches as rabbit droppings don't need composting - however it comes with lots of straw and occasionally wood shavings which dont help in the short term. (We now dont use wood shavings very often so it composts better).
I don't grow much in the way of roots, but what roots I do grow are more adapted for clay soils ie round beetroot not long ones etc.

Goldcraig

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • North Ayrshire
Re: Clay Soil
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2012, 06:31:15 am »
Great Advice folks...many thanks...
Trust me.....I'm a Chef !!

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Clay Soil
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2012, 05:11:48 pm »
We have heavy clay soil. I used to dig the compost etc in but it seamed to make very little difference. I now put the compost on the soil surface and plant into that. Sometimes I just use the cleaning out of the rabbit hutches as rabbit droppings don't need composting - however it comes with lots of straw and occasionally wood shavings which dont help in the short term. (We now dont use wood shavings very often so it composts better).
I don't grow much in the way of roots, but what roots I do grow are more adapted for clay soils ie round beetroot not long ones etc.

When I first built mine, I filled them up as I cleaned out the goat shed, and let the worms do the hard work, then planted into holes filled with potting compost in the spring.  My soil wasn't too bad though, mainly clay but with some redeeming features.

 

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