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Rubbish soil - almost like clay


By Eddster

United Kingdom Gb

I want to put a flower bed in my garden but the problem is the soil is usless. It is almost like clay, really sticky and claggy. what would be the best way round this??



There are two ways to approach this.

The first is to improve the soil structure with lots of garden compost; you could also incorporate horicultural grit or sharp sand to improve the texture. It is hard work but pays off in the long run.

The other way is to choose plants that actually appreciate really heavy soils. Shrubs such as aucuba, berberis, chaenomeles (flowering quince), choisya, cotinus (smoke bush), cotoneaster, deutzia, escallonia, forsythia, hypericum, kerria, magnolia, mahonia, philadelphus (mock orange), potentilla, pyracantha, ribes (flowering currant), skimmia, spiraea, syringa (lilac), viburnum and weigela all cope well. And roses love clay too. Should give you some ideas.

10 Feb, 2008


i also have Clay soil so when i plant i also put lots&lots of a Good MULTI PURPOSE COMPOST into the ground&around the plant at the same time this helps alot: )

10 Feb, 2008


Iv also Hoed Sharp sand into the surface which helps drainage

10 Feb, 2008


Fortunately much can be done to improve clay soil, by good cultavating & adding some form of bulky organic matter. the site should be dug during the autumn & the surface of the soil left rough so the lumps can be broken down by frost action.this is easpecially important in the case of clay soils but, as these become difficult to work in wet weather the digging should be done as early as possible in the autumn at the same time adding well rotted organic- matter farmyard manure, garden compost, spent mushroom compost, sharp sand, should be worked in this will help to break up the clay particles so get more air into the soil & will allow exess water to drain away, & will allow soil to heat up quicker as clay soil takes longer to heat up, lots of hard work but will pay divedens

10 Feb, 2008


Have u thought of even having a RAISED FLOWER BED?Then u can buy top soil2 fill it all up with,Just an idea: )

11 Feb, 2008


We added loads of grit and compost and raised the level of the garden to get over this problem, this meant we could grow practically what we wanted and it wasn't so water logged either.......roses love a clay garden though

11 Feb, 2008


My soil's mostly clay too but I wouldn't say it's useless. I've been gardening here for about 4 years and in the dormant season I always lay on plenty of manure,compost or general soil improver. Grit sand has helped also in really heavy spots. I never look at this task as hard work, I see it more as rewarding. I get a great deal of satisfaction as year on year the soil churns and crumbles that little bit easier under the hoe. Also, when you plant follow the advice on the tag and shovel a bit of compost into the planting hole. There are a few pics of my garden on my home page if you'd like to see what can be grown out of well treated clay in just a couple of years. Good luck!

12 Feb, 2008


Heavy clay does restrict what you can grow.
My solution was to grow many of my plants in pots with made up soil roughly one third sharp sand one third compost & one third sieved native soil.
On repotting or removing annuals this potting soil was returned to the garden.
The garden soil is mulched once a year with compost & tender plants surrounded with sharp sand to deter slugs & snails.
I have fairly extensive bulb planting so the soil is not dug & I rely on worms to do the spade work.
I had a small wormery a few years back, which ulitimately split. The worms ( tiger worms I think) are now everywhere, so I have never bothered replacing the wormery.
It is taken around 7 years since hard landscaping to build up a half way decent soil.
I am now able to remove many plants from their pots to the garden soil.
PS B&Q (UK) sell a recycled glass & cinder block mix (for laying paving slabs on), which makes an excellent garden grit.

6 Nov, 2008

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