Poor soil treatment

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  #1  
Old 09-24-06, 03:10 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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Poor soil treatment

Living in Spain retired from the U.K. I find that soil quality should more realistically be considered as clay quality.

Having recently rebuilt an old house, I have ended up with a small garden area 5mtrs x 7 mtrs. and subsequently ordered top soil to fill the area to a depth of 40 cm. When it arrived and was tipped I realised the soil was more of a clay consistancy than the top soil we are used to in the UK.

Can anyone please advise me on what I can do to treat this "soil" in order to break it down into a more acceptable form. Large bags of peat, sand etc are available and I am wondering if I mix these with the delivered soil I can get a more acceptable mix. If so in what quantities, and if this thinking is correct what else should I be mixing with it.

Thanks in advance for any info forthcoming
 
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  #2  
Old 09-24-06, 08:39 AM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Maryland zone 7
Posts: 1,716
Hi Dobo,

Congratulations on your new home. One of the best things you can do for your clay soil is to add compost. It will improve the tilth (texture), improve drainage, add nutrients and good microbes. An inch of sand and 3" of compost applied on top and then mixed in will greatly improve your clay soil. Leafmould would also be good if that's available. Here's some info on soil and a compost calculator.
http://www.cedar-grove.com/calculator.asp
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/victorygarden/knowhow/pp/soil.html
http://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profiles0104/peatfree.asp
http://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profiles0106/soiltype.asp

Newt


I wouldn't add peat as it is low in nutrients and once dry is difficult to rewet. Here's some info on peat.
http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/ksheets/peat.html#help
 
  #3  
Old 09-24-06, 02:17 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Charlotte
Posts: 91
Newt, you're pretty good! Timely, acurate.

Dobo...if you have the room for it, set up your own compost bin. If done right, you could have two batches of black gold a year created by your own yard and kitchen waste.
Do what Newt says, adding as much of the mulched leaves this fall to your soil and tilling every two weeks until just before frost.
Top with 4-5 layers of newspaper and hardwood mulch or shredded leaves late in the season or after planting.
Your new bed will be ready for show by Spring.
 
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