Heavy clay in my area ...also tons of white pine .. I did the best I know to try and loosen our soil,but in dead summer my garden turns to a brick .. I have not tested my soil yet as i have still to find my tester so i will get a new one .. But ideas before planting season would be great!!!
Post by Pharmer Phil on Feb 25, 2020 7:28:14 GMT -6
Pines, We are surrounded by them, on the east side of the garden, we get lots and lots of pine needles...I have tried acid loving plants in those areas...nothing Everything grows normally... Then, I found this little tidbit of info online years back:
Since your source for pine needles is probably not green, they are NOT acidic. Collecting old pine needles is pointless if you are trying to acidify your soil.
The second point is that even when fresh, pine needles are only slightly acidic and therefore can have limited effect on changing the pH of the soil.
but, you say – surely over many years, the acidity must build up. This seems very reasonable and so some scientists tested this theory. They collected soil samples from underneath 50 year old pines. They also collected nearby soil samples where no pines had been growing during the same time period. They found that the pH of both soil samples were the same. The growing pines did NOT acidify the soil even after 50 years.
My first question would be: What type of clay? Grey, yellow, or red...like terra cotta red? does your garden get water logged in the spring? (snow melt/heavy rains) can you gather a handful, shape it into a ball, or a snake like shape...and it holds it's shape?
It has been said that clay soil can be worked in to ADD amendments... My advice...never work in wet clay soil
Garden centers may suggest Gypsum...don't use gypsum, but if you do...get your soils Ph checked first. Gypsum may break down some clay particles, but is short lived, and the gypsum will cause problems with your soils PH
Which pretty much leaves only pure hard work and tenacity..
Compost...lots of it Sand...same as above Leaves, straw...lawn clippings (un-treated)
It may take a few years to get what You want...but it will get there In the mean time, get your tools and make raised beds...you can garden in them untill the garden is soil-ready
When I moved here the garden soil was hard as a sidewalk.. This area is known for clay, Not red, but that slimy kind of brownish yellow goo... Not now, but actually, once in awhile I turn up a spade full of it