5 Organic Gardening Benefits With Clay Soil
Clay soil offers many benefits to your organic garden. From feeding the plants to innovative pest control, clay can be applied both to the plants and to the soil for a variety of organic gardening benefits. Some of the best uses for clay soil are listed here, along with brief explanations of why clay is so well suited for the job.
Benefit 1: Required Minerals for Plants
Many soil types are deficient in vital minerals and metals required for the best plant growth. Iron and calcium are two such items that can be found in clay, along with potassium and trace amounts of other organic compounds. Clay can be mixed during composting to increase the potency of compost. Additionally, some varieties of clay form through sedimentary processes, and are rich in organic materials that have built up over years of seepage.
Benefit 2: Clay Adds Soil Density
Many types of soil content do not offer much support for the plants. Sand is notorious for allowing plants to fall over, for example. But adding clay increases the viscosity of the soil, making it thicker and better able to bond together for supporting above ground weights. Clay is made up of tiny particles that are shaped almost exactly the same. These tiny particles ft together closer than other soil types, but when mixed with other soil they work to bind all of the soil particles. making it denser and more supportive.
Benefit 3: Moisture Retention
Some soils have a problem with moisture draining directly through it. When this happens, the water carries nutrients and minerals with it, robbing plants of the building blocks needed for good health. Adding clay to such soils makes them better suited for moisture retention, and that means the soil stays moist longer, even during dry periods. The unique shape of clay particles actually trap tiny amounts of water between them, and that moisture can be released later, as the soil dries out. In many areas, this is the primary reason for adding clay to soil, to maximize water conservation.
Benefit 4: Erosion Control
Before it is mixed with other soil types, clay is excellent for preventing erosion. Because of the nature of clay particles, it is less likely to be washed away than other soils, and that means that it serves well as the primary material used for building berms or dikes to protect the garden from flooding and erosion. Small wooden boxes can be packed with clay, and then the brick set out in the sun to dry, allowing you to use custom designed sun-dried bricks for many purposes around the garden.
Benefit 5: Possible Pest Control
Organic farming on the commercial scale has begun experimenting with a spray made from clay and water as a method of reducing pest infestations. A thin clay mixture is sprayed on the leaves and stalks of crops, and then repeated periodically. Early results indicate that the spray reduces infestation by several percentage points, but more testing will be required before any definitive information can be provided.