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Topsoil delivery full of clay?


Hi all -

I've been redesigning my garden for the entire summer and it's my first kind of project like this so excuse any newbie questions!

I needed some topsoil to part-fill beds and to level out my lawn and my neighbour who did the same last year gave me the number of a local farmer who sells topsoil. Over text we arranged for him to drop off 10 tonne of soil ,which he showed me photos of via text which all looked fine. Considering he only charged £150 i couldn't say no, and when it was delivered on friday it looked okay to be untrained eye - if quite red. It was dry and hadn't rained here all week. However now it's been raining all weekend I believe that this 'topsoil' is mostly clay. It's extra frustrating because I've fought really hard to improve the drainage in my garden which was very boggy thanks to lots of clay and a low water table. I dug soakaways and removed a lot of clay, so it's extra galling to be paying to add it back again.

I've added some photos of the clay - it's hard to show , but hopefully gives a good enough idea. It's very easy to shape (feels like I could make sculptures out of it).

Some questions are:

- Do my suspicions that it's high in clay seem correct?
- Is there a way to deal with this effectively by mixing in some sand/grit/compost or will it always be less than ideal? (Bearing in mind this is going to be a pain for me to get rid of, but also that I already struggle with drainage and also have 3 mediterranean garden beds which requires good drainage).



  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,894

    It does look clayey, but I can't really tell from photos.
    Clay contains a lot of good stuff, but due to its extremely fine particle size all the 'good stuff' is bound up in the clay.
    If you're not growing acid-loving plants then mixing it with mushroom compost would be the best choice as it contains straw which will un-bind the clay and help a lot with drainage.
    Alternatively horse/farmyard manure would also work, but tends to be full of wood shavings these days.
    Adding grit too will help.

    I had 20Ton topsoil delivered last year - it was good but cost £525.

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530

    The sculpture sounds a good idea. Other threads on this forum lead me to think there's a ready market for birdbaths, especially among people who are too classy for concrete ones.  image

  • dilbydilby Posts: 77

    Thanks everyone - I like the birdbath idea-  how about a pizza oven? image

    I managed to get rid of most of it and will mis the rest in. In short I don't want to risk it!

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