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Author Topic: What to grow in sticky clay  (Read 7370 times)

chriso

  • Joined Apr 2010
  • Cumbria
What to grow in sticky clay
« on: December 12, 2010, 03:44:57 pm »
I have started to turn over a piece of my garden that has lay unused for years. I am going to use it as another veg plot and know I need to improve the soil as I go but until I do make serious improvements to the soil what might I be able to grow on it?  :farmer:

little blue

  • Joined Jun 2009
  • Derbyshire
Re: What to grow in sticky clay
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2010, 05:29:00 pm »
I always start with potatoes - they are great for clearing up a new plot.
Clay is not the best - you might find they rot.   but I have no choice, we are on clay, some is the proper orange stuff you can make pots from!!

Spinich grows well here, and most brassicas. 
I wouldn't bother with any root veg (parsnips, carrots etc) until you've worked the soil.

Good luck, and at least you will find good use for all the animal manure  ;)

Little Blue

chriso

  • Joined Apr 2010
  • Cumbria
Re: What to grow in sticky clay
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2010, 05:58:55 pm »
Thanks Little Blue, I wondered if potatoes would rot in the clay, I might try them with some straw around them. I managed to get 1/2 of it turned over today to let the frost at it and there will be lots of straw and manure heading its way very soon.

little blue

  • Joined Jun 2009
  • Derbyshire
Re: What to grow in sticky clay
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2010, 06:59:24 pm »
that'll do wonders for it.

some of our patch is now about two foot deeper thanks to chicken/goat manure and if it you leave it long enough & dig over, it'll be beautiful....
:)
Little Blue

lazybee

  • Joined Mar 2010
Re: What to grow in sticky clay
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2010, 05:49:05 am »
I'm on heavy clay too. I roughly turn it over in the early winter (or when I get round to it) digging in manure and leave the spadefuls in big lumps. The frost and the weather break it down a bit. Then in late winter or early spring, or whenever its had a few dry days on the trot. rotavate the lot and not walk on it afterwards. then I leave it settle for a bit then use a cultivator fork, to get the last lumps and compressed footprints. When I plant it up I stand on planks. It really is a pain in proverbial, but what can you do? The only thing I have a problem growing is turnips. Just think of it as exercise  ;D:farmer:

northfifeduckling

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Fife
    • North Fife Blog
Re: What to grow in sticky clay
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2010, 11:04:16 am »
I am with little blue - potatoes are the crop of choice to break up heavy soil. I grow them on any new plot first. They make work so much easier in the next year :&>

darkbrowneggs

  • Joined Aug 2010
    • The World is My Lobster
Re: What to grow in sticky clay
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2010, 12:31:49 pm »
If you can get gypsum and dolomitic limestone mix it 4:1 and about a handful per sq yard.  You wont see instand results but year on year there will be a marked soil improvement.  It is some sort of chemical reaction with the clay which encourages it to bind together - clay being the finest of soil particles and sand the coarsest. (opposite of what one feels)

I am on good brick making stuff and it is the only thing that has seriously made a difference to my soil over the years of trying all other remedies.

All the best
Sue
To follow my travel journal see http://www.theworldismylobster.org.uk

For lots of info about Marans and how to breed and look after them see www.darkbrowneggs.info

lazybee

  • Joined Mar 2010
Re: What to grow in sticky clay
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2010, 12:56:10 pm »
I am with little blue - potatoes are the crop of choice to break up heavy soil. I grow them on any new plot first. They make work so much easier in the next year :&>

Spuds didn't work with my soil as it's always in the same state after the growing season (compressed and firm) But I do have HEAVY clay, I agree spuds for virgin soil but the clay I have it's another ball game. With the preparation I do above I can plant anything. Even scorzanera, carrots and parsnips.

northfifeduckling

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Fife
    • North Fife Blog
Re: What to grow in sticky clay
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2010, 02:26:07 pm »
potatoes don't like manure very much, this might be the reason why they thrive in virgin soil. Ours is heavy clay, too, so after the first year I never go there with tatties again after it was enriched. I think the best order is after potatoes put on manure, then plant legumes , then lime in the autumn and plant brassicas in the next year. Worked for me  :&>

egglady

  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: What to grow in sticky clay
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2010, 05:19:02 pm »
i often manure where i'm going to grow potatoes and find that they do well in manured soil.  maybe it depends on the soil type?

northfifeduckling

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Fife
    • North Fife Blog
Re: What to grow in sticky clay
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2010, 05:37:16 pm »
maybe more on the manure, Laura  ;D, you have  :horse: :horse: :horse:, I have only  :&> :&> :chook: :chook:, still plenty of  poo  ;D ;D
sorry, had a glass of wine before tea  ::)

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: What to grow in sticky clay
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2010, 05:45:31 pm »
hen pen is high in ammonia and is to strong to apply you have to sprinkle it on the ground sparingly

egglady

  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: What to grow in sticky clay
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2010, 06:50:10 pm »
maybe more on the manure, Laura  ;D, you have  :horse: :horse: :horse:, I have only  :&> :&> :chook: :chook:, still plenty of  poo  ;D ;D
sorry, had a glass of wine before tea  ::)

been bottling liqueurs all day so feeling a wee bit cheery myself!  well it owuld be rude to give people stuff for crimbo that you havent taste tested wouldnt it"!?!"?"?"

Frieslandfilly

  • Joined Apr 2009
Re: What to grow in sticky clay
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2011, 11:54:46 am »
We have heavy clay here too, so we took the step of building raised beds (large ones!) out of recycled fence posts, we have used huge amounts of well rotted horse manure (of which we have a plentiful supply) we also bought in 9 tons of topsoil. We decided that if we want to have a serious go at growing everything we needed to bite the bullet and go for it. That was 2 years ago and we can succesfully grow most things, except celeriac and turnips and I think that is more to do with us than the soil!!

chriso

  • Joined Apr 2010
  • Cumbria
Re: What to grow in sticky clay
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2011, 05:18:24 pm »
Thanks folks, I'm gonna try and raise the beds. I will get back to digging a drainage ditch around them also when I get rid of the flu! Only problem is that there isn't really anywhere for the water to go  ::).

 

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