Kids’ Valley Garden

Clay

claysoilis made of very fine dirt particles that stick together well when they are wet. This blocks theairfrom plant roots and causes them to “starve” even though thesoilis actually rich in nutrients. The dirt stays heavy and cold when it’s waterlogged and will rot the roots. Once it dries out the particles glue themselves tightly together and thesoilbecomes hard and crusty.

  • If your garden has a lot of clay in thesoilthere are many ways to help it unlock its nutrients and make it healthier for your plants.
  • Don’t till wet claysoilin the spring or it will become as hard as a rock! Let it dry out first.
  • Once it’s dry it needs to be roughed up with a rake or hoe so that it doesn’t form a hard, crusty layer on the top.
  • This will also help it towarmup and dry out faster.
  • Mix at least 6 inches (15 cm) of composted or organic matter or 12 inches (30 cm) of leaves into clay soil. You could also add sand, straw, peat moss or compost. This will createairandwaterpockets and release the soil’s nutrients to your plants’ roots.
  • Don’t rake claysoilsmooth.
  • Put mulch on thesoilto keep it from drying into a hard crust.
  • This will also encourage worms to dig tunnels and leave their nutrient-rich manure behind.
  • If you intend to plant tiny seeds use 1 of the tiny seed methods which will help them sprout through this type of soil.
  • Ideally, autumn is the best time to condition clay soil. Fall frosts will help to break up large clumps of claysoilas will winter freezing and spring thawing.
  • It will alsowarmup and dry up quicker in the spring.

soil caring

 

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