New garden with clay soil

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  #1  
Old 03-22-09, 02:34 PM
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New garden with clay soil

I'm going to put in a garden this spring. The soil is mostly clay, I'm going to put peat moss in and I think some sand. I don't know how much to put in or if I will need anything else. The garden will be 20' x 20'. Let me know what you think for how much peat moss and/if sand.
 
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  #2  
Old 03-22-09, 03:10 PM
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Hi Wolf,

My advice would be:
peat moss = 0
sharp sand = 1" only if needed due to heavy clay
compost = 4" mixed into soil

Here's a compost calculator.
http://www.cedar-grove.com/compost_calculator.asp

So you're wondering why I don't recommend peat moss. Some of my reasons include:
low in nutrients
high acid can change pH of soil
once dry, is difficult to rewet
once soaked by heavy rain, can retain too much moisture
destruction to peat bogs.

Here's some info on peat moss.
http://www.wildlifetrust.org.uk/facts/peat.htm
http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/fac...ndex.html#peat
http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/ksheets/peat.html#help

Newt
 
  #3  
Old 03-22-09, 05:13 PM
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Thanks Newt, I guess I will switch gears and go with the compost. Could I add cow manure also, and just decrease the amount of compost? Or skip the manure?
 
  #4  
Old 03-22-09, 06:02 PM
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Wolf, you are very welcome! Adding manure can be a good thing, but it needs to be aged/composted. It would be added in addition to the compost. Also, research the needs of what you are going to plant. Some veggies don't like that much nitrogen. If you need some sites on the requirements of veggies, just let me know.

Newt
 
  #5  
Old 04-06-09, 01:38 PM
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Hi, new member here, first post! This thread pretty much answers my question. Will this hold true for red Oklahoma clay? It looks like the previous owner tried to plant flowers here, but it's still very "red". Thanks for any responses.
 
  #6  
Old 04-06-09, 02:48 PM
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Hi AnnieOkie,

Yes, you should add 3" to 4" of compost to any new planting bed. If it's heavy clay then adding 1" of sharp sand will also help. If it's an established bed that has already been amended and you are just putting in some new plants or transplanting, add 1" or 2" to as much of the area where you will plant and mix it in before planting. The color of your soil may not change much over time, but the tilth (texture) of it should improve.

Newt
 
  #7  
Old 04-06-09, 06:16 PM
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Thanks Newt! Got some diggin' to do now!
 
  #8  
Old 04-06-09, 07:18 PM
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Hi Annie Newt pegged it just right for here in Ok, I live in central Ok and started with heavy clay, but be aware that you will need to add compost about every other year as the old continues to break down and the nutrients are absorbed by your plants. set up a compost bin or area in your lot and over time you may be able to make all of the compost you will need yourself.
good luck
Stan

life begins when the kids leave home and the dog dies
 
  #9  
Old 04-06-09, 07:39 PM
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AnnieOakie, you are so very welcome! Remember to lift with your knees.

Newt
 
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