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Soil Recovery Query

Hi all,

We have inherited a garden from our houses previous owner and a major problem we're finding is that the soil where we live is by nature extremely thick,, dense, stony clay. See image below for the worst of our border strips right now. It's supporting plenty of life which seems to have been here for years, but fairly uninspiring and the soil is too hard to realistically excavate by hand to plant anything else, not that it would support many other types of plant. 

My only thought to overcome is to strip everything out and build up, with a raised bed and decent amount of new fresh soil over the top to basically start from scratch. Before I do does anyone have any other recommendations to deal with this or salvaging the existing bed? Otherwise any watch-outs for building up on such soil?

Thanks so much in advance. 



  • DaffydillyDaffydilly Posts: 78
    Could you post a photo please.  Maybe we can help :)
    Here, there and everywhere
  •  How strange - it was showing when I posted - trying again. Thank you for flagging 
  • DaffydillyDaffydilly Posts: 78
    Here, there and everywhere
  • B3B3 Posts: 27,327
    I have heavy clay. I find that you get a window of three days after rain when it's beautifully workable. That's when i weed and  dig it over. Rather than improving the whole garden at once, i improve the soil with organic matter only in the area I have chosen to plant in at that time. Over the years, the area of workable soil increases but it's a slow process.
    Even when the soil is rock hard you can hoe the weeds to keep them down and stop them from seeding. There are many wildflowers that grow happily in clay and you can encourage the ones you like. This works for an informal garden. If you prefer a more formal and organised garden, that's a different matter 
    In London. Keen but lazy.
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