Video:Tips for Using Clay Soil in an Organic Gardenwith Kim Moss
Although clay soil can require some effort on your part, there are many benefits to using clay soil in an organic garden. Watch this About.com video for the pros, cons, and tips on using clay soil.See Transcript
Transcript:Tips for Using Clay Soil in an Organic Garden
Hi, I’m Kim Moss for About.com, and today I’m going to give you a few tips for using clay soil in an organic garden.
Characteristics of Clay Soil
Clay soil is a soil that has a heavy concentration of clay particles. This is both good and bad when it comes to gardening. While on its own, clay soil is dense, it tends to be clumpy and gluey when wet, cracks when dried, does not absorb water easily, has poor drainage and can be overly dense for root vegetables and flower bulbs.
On the other hand, clay soils are very rich in minerals. But in order to benefit from these minerals in the clay soil you will need to improve its texture to make it more hospitable for gardening. You may want to take a soil sample and analyzed it before beginning.
Verify the Clay Soil is Organic
You can find out the pH balance and what nutrients might be a missing. Clay soils tend to be more alkaline. The addition of organic peat moss will lower the alkalinity and will also help lighten the soils density. Other additions such as compost, grass clipping, shredded leaves, sand and composted manure will add nutrients and improve the structure of your soil, making it much easier to work with.
If you purchase your soil amendments, make sure they come from an organic source or are marked certified by an accredited body.
How to Use Clay Soil
You should always treat the whole planting area; otherwise, as the plant grows, the roots will wrap around themselves, not being able to penetrate into the clay and you will end up with root bound plants.You will want to add between six to eight inches of organic matter to the entire bed. Working it in, by hand with hoe or a garden tiller if you have one, about 6 to 12 inches down into the soil, until the soil becomes lighter and easier to work with.
And lastly, as the soil settles throughout the season, you can always add more composted organic matter to help continue boosting the soil and improving it’s texture.
Thanks for watching! To learn more about organic gardening, visit us on the web at About.com.