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How to Deal With Rocky/Gravelly/Clay Soil

 
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I'm thinking my best bet is to bring in a couple loads of topsoil for my garden as the sheer amount of work I'll need to do to de-rock the soil will be overwhelming. And even then I'll still end up with hard clay soil. Any thought? Thanks.
 
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Paul Ladendorf wrote:I'm thinking my best bet is to bring in a couple loads of topsoil for my garden as the sheer amount of work I'll need to do to de-rock the soil will be overwhelming. And even then I'll still end up with hard clay soil. Any thought? Thanks.



We have heavy clay soil. My solution was to place a layer of straw, then cardboard (the worms LOVE it) then a thick layer of compost and then mulch heavily with chopped leaves. I did this for about 8 months prior to planting. Right before planting, I hand tilled the ground and removed the large rocks, but left all the small ones - they're surprisingly welcome, as they contain lots of nutrients. Each fall I top dress my beds with more compost, then mulch with chopped leaves/yard clippings (clover). In the spring, I do the same, but don't add compost unless it appears it's needed. If you're planting carrots and radishes, or things that don't like rocks, a raised bed, filled with de-rocked clay/sand/peat should work great.  

Your timeframe may not work using this method, but it's produced great results for us.
 
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When I was faced with clay soil, I went to raised beds.
 
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Clay soil can be remediated, and once that's been done it's incredibly productive. But the amount of organic matter required is simply staggering. It's a long-term project.

In the short term, I agree: raised beds are the way to go.
 
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