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Pea shingle instead of horticultural grit?

Unfortunately garden centres in Scotland are still closed 😔 Due to heavy clay soil I always try and incorporate lots of grit before planting but struggling to get a hold of it. I did manage to get some pea shingle but not sure if this would have any negative effect on the soil/ plants. 
Any thoughts appreciated 🙂


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,571
    you'd be much better incorporating lots of bulky organic matter, like well rotted manure. 
    Using grit in a planting hole can result in a " sump " where water collects and doesn't seep back into the soil around it.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 4,437
    Agree with hostafan. Wouldn't be a problem if you incorporated the grit well, but it doesn't add much drainage if each particle of grit is surrounded by clay. (Although if you're doing it year on year it may eventually have a positive effect). Work in organic matter and plant on a slight 'hump' if your plants are prone to root rot.
  • ObelixxObelixx VendĂŠe, Western FrancePosts: 27,561
    The best way to tackle clay is to pile on a thick layer of organic matter in autumn and then leave it to the worms and all the other small critters and micro organisms that will work it through the clay for you.   It may take some time but the soil will get better every time you do and will have high fertility because clay is full of lovely minerals.

    If and when you do feel you need to dig use a fork rather than a spade and when you plant, add some organic matter to the planting hole and its surrounding soil.  Well-rotted garden compost, leaf mould, well-rotted manure will be fine as will spent compost from pots, cheap MPC compost or soil conditioners you can buy at the DIY or GC.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Oh I really should of said I’m literally adding bags loads of FYM to the border as often as I can!
    I started my own compost bin last year so hopefully I’ll have some of my own stuff out of that in the next month 🤞
    Adding the mature is making such a difference although the digging is tough work! 
    As long as the pea shingle won’t do any harm I’ll mix a small of that in too.
    Adding in compost has really helped the flower borders but my lawn is still a mud bath 
  • ObelixxObelixx VendĂŠe, Western FrancePosts: 27,561
    I would save the pea shingle for something more useful tho I can't think what at the mo and ease up on the digging.  Let the soil and its inhabitants do the work.   Studies increasingly show that digging and ploughing actually reduce soil microbial and other life and aid and abet soil erosion by wind and rain.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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