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West Midlands, United Kingdom

At last we have started to prepare our awfull clay soil into something decent to plant some cottage garden plants. Could you take a min to look at the pics and give some more advice please on where were up to.You can see how dense the ground we have tuned over about 1 spade down shall we throw in top soil and horticultural grit (and what about some multi purpose compost) also do you think it's worth hiring a rotorvator or just get stuck in manually? thankyou.



Looking good and what you have done is perfect. Using a fork is best for clay soil as it really breaks it up. For really hard bits I would lightly soak the area - too much and it will stick to the fork!

Compost will not help improve the soil (just the sand and top soil) - I only mix it to the top of the soil as it gives it a nice colour.

I notice the broken fork - I have collection of those!

PS - like the sunflowers in the pots - very soothing.

11 Jul, 2011


I'm sure kildermorie meant to say composted materials will help enormously - things like soil conditioning compost from the garden centre, well composted horse manure, leaf mould, spent mushroom compost, anything like that added will be extremely beneficial rather than topsoil, which often contains nasties and pernicious weeds these days, and is often motorway spoil and solid clay when its wet as well. The grit would be useful, but i have to say, the fact you've managed to dig it even though we're in midsummer and the ground was hard and dry would suggest that the clay isn't actually as bad as you think it is.

11 Jul, 2011


thanks for you husband's back says the clay could have made pots....R A D O X please!!!!

11 Jul, 2011


we are going to start a collection of broken forks...could make our millions :) lol

11 Jul, 2011


I have discovered recently that my local tip sell 40l bags of compost for £2 a bag. A hell of a lot cheaper than the Garden Centres I've been in. Looks like good stuff as well. Claims to be peat free. From what I've read on the council website, they use the garden waste collected at the tip and on household collections and compost it down. Might be a good place to look if your after compost (note; not potting compost or ericaceous compost).

Looks like your doing pretty well on that soil. I know how tough it can be and we have fairly reasonable soil. Love the sunflowers.

11 Jul, 2011


Sounds like our soil in central Phoenix, except ours is the color of bleached out terra cotta pots! Yes, organic matter is a huge help with clay soil, partly by stimulating the earthworms and other soil organisms to aid your tilling, and partly by "flocculating" the clay particles. That means that the plate-like clay particles stick together at the edges in sand particle sized clumps, rather than shingling together in a solid, waterproof mass.

12 Jul, 2011


Thankyou to everyone who has commented ..this has helped a lot and now have a clear head on what to do...don't think my poor husband will be moving very far today :) lol

12 Jul, 2011

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