Sunday, May 30, 2010

Heavy clay soil

I've been experiencing what is definitely heavy clay subsoil/building fill in the mountains.

Digging below the top layer of composted leaves and mulch, I hit almost solid clay, either red, or gray, or in between. It's not like the rocky clay subsoil of our garden in the Piedmont, which crumbles easily, making it simple to incorporate soil amendments like compost, ground pine soil conditioner, and leaves.

This stuff is ready for pot-making--slick, tough, and hard to break up. The best I can do in the new trellis beds (and elsewhere) is to liberally dig up the clods with soil conditioner and bagged organic 'garden soil' -- a mixture of peat moss, compost, and natural fertilizer. The clods of clay don't actually break up totally, even with repeated slicing with a shovel, but...there are earthworms in the mulch, so maybe they'll make some headway with more compost....


  1. Get a bag of gypsum. It won't change the ph of the soil, but it will make it more manageable. It takes time. The earthworms will help too.

  2. That's what my entire yard is. it never completely breaks up... just into smaller clay chunks :).


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