The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Growing => Vegetables => Topic started by: chriso on December 12, 2010, 03:44:57 pm

Title: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: chriso 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:
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: little blue 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  ;)

Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: chriso 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.
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: little blue 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....
:)
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: lazybee 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:
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: northfifeduckling 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 :&>
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: darkbrowneggs 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
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: lazybee 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.
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: northfifeduckling 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  :&>
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: egglady 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?
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: northfifeduckling 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  ::)
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: robert waddell 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
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: egglady 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"!?!"?"?"
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: Frieslandfilly 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!!
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: chriso 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  ::).
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: Daisy-at-the-dairy on January 23, 2011, 11:31:27 pm
just a thought chriso but have you considered giving up on veg and planting fruit trees/ bushes instead? That way you only have to break your back once, when you plant, not every year.  Probably not what you want o hear as you will already have plans for neat rows of carrots, or whatever, but it is the advice I was given by two very experienced gardeners when i took over my heavy clay plot six years ago and I havn't had cause to regret following it.
Good luck
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: chriso on January 24, 2011, 12:49:28 pm
just a thought chriso but have you considered giving up on veg and planting fruit trees/ bushes instead? That way you only have to break your back once, when you plant, not every year.  Probably not what you want o hear as you will already have plans for neat rows of carrots, or whatever, but it is the advice I was given by two very experienced gardeners when i took over my heavy clay plot six years ago and I havn't had cause to regret following it.
Good luck

That is a very good idea Daisy.

Any ideas on what would grow well in wet sticky clay???  :farmer:
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: Blonde on March 05, 2011, 06:58:45 am
 Nothing grows in sticky clay.   Best to bring in some sand to dilute the clay and then some compost.   All the clay does is hold water and this causes the air in the soil to be minimal....  if any at all.  Plants wil just drown in the excess water they find in the clay.  You need to open up the spaces in the clay to allow air and water to penetrate properly and fo the properties of clay to hold water but not excessive water. 
 Sweet potatoes will handle this type of soil a little better than most but the more sand you have the easier your gardening experinece will be.
     
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: northfifeduckling on March 05, 2011, 08:02:27 am
tell me more about growing sweet potatoes! Was thinking of trying that this year.  :&>
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: Blonde on March 05, 2011, 01:24:40 pm
tell me more about growing sweet potatoes! Was thinking of trying that this year.  :&>
there are a  few varieties of sweet   potato.  One that has yellow flesh and one that has white flesh witha purple skin and one that has white flesh and white skin.   I have the  last two in and have started them a piece that some one has given me some time back.  Plant the piece  and keep them moist.  I prepared  my garden by adding a bucket full of pig manure and some straw that has been sitting around the farm for 2 or 3 years.  I then just dug a small hole and put the tubers in.   Leave the green leafy part above the soil and fill in the hole.  WAter but do not over water as the tubers will rot out.   In a week  or two the  extensions that are at the top of the soil will extend. Mine have been i a month and have doubled in size already.   
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: northfifeduckling on March 05, 2011, 01:46:16 pm
so can you grow them from supermarket ones? They  tend to have orange flesh. I also wondered if they need it warm, like in a polytunnel.  :&>
Title: Re: What to grow in sticky clay
Post by: Blonde on March 06, 2011, 12:50:22 pm
Yes you can grow the ones you find in a super market, just leave on the bench to shoot like a normal potatoe.  There are the yellow flesh and the white flesh  with a purple skin and the white flesh and white skin  I have them in now and we are coming up to the end of summer and going into Autumn.  they have gone mad, now that the tmperature has dropped   we had hot dry conditions but have just had rain and had 33 mm so everything is coming up green, it might be an early break for the farming community.  Have to see what else nature throws at us.  Need a good year, as we only  got a 5 bag wheat crop this eyar and that is just not enough for our return.  grain prices have gone through the roof along with every think else, so here on the farm we are now growing all our own vegies, including sweet potato.

You can grow garlic off the shelf also and onions if they are left to shoot, along with pineapples......... when you have cut the top off them plant the top in the ground.( not too deep)   It will produce another plant and another pineapple.  You can plant the choko see also and get it going, seeds out of the fruit you buy.  allow such things as sweet corn to dry out and plant this should germinate in the ground as well.   There are  heaps of things you can do to aid and increase what you have in the vegie patch.