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Angus, United Kingdom Gb

I am having problems with the earth in my garden. Very few plants grow successfully in it. It is very solid - almost a clay like texture and when I've been digging in it or forking over - when it rains the water just sits on top of the soil and leaves puddles.



It's no mean task improving this kind of soil, as I know from experience. It needs horticultural grit dug in to improve the drainage as well as liberal amounts of humus rich compost and manure. This effort will be worth it in the end, however. If you do a little at a time, it's not so bad.

7 Aug, 2011


That says it all really - fine grit, humus, hard work and patience! In the meantime try improving bigger than usual planting holes for things you really want to plant now. Don't try to dig it or walk on it when it is wet enough to stick to your boots.

If you have access to autumn leaves chop them up by running the mower over them and lay them as a thick mulch. Every year you can treat a different area if you haven't got enough to cover it all. Over the winter it will settle and can be dug in in the Spring. You may then need to add some fertilier to compensate for the nitrogen used up in rotting the leaves. Even a mulch of lawn mowings may help a bit.

Roses are quite a good thing to try in clay.

7 Aug, 2011


Yes - all excellent advice. When you dig the 'bigger than usual' planting holes, back-fill them with home-made compost, which will help the plants to get going, and also help your soil.

If you have any areas not planted, dig them roughly in the late autumn if you can, and let the frost break the clods down for you.

Good luck with it.

7 Aug, 2011


Digging clay is a tough job in winter in a baked summer almost impossible. I would put off planting till the spring, double dig it this autumn and let the frost break it up for you. Add lots of grit and commercial soil improver along with as much humus as you can. Lots of plants love clay such as roses so once you have done the preparation the rewards will be there for you!

7 Aug, 2011

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