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No rain

We have been in our home since 1978. We have every year added our home compost to the veg areas. We are on heavy clay and even with all the composting...we are still on heavy clay. Got very excited this morning....it rained! But not enough and not for long. The cracks that you can see in the veg area are getting bigger. You can put your hand down them. Using a hose is a waste of time and water. The ground is like concrete. Never known it to be so bad. Thankfully managed to harvest some good crops before the heat took off but can't sow anything else unless we get some real rain.
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  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,908
    at least your livelihood doesn't depend on it and you won't have to go hungry. It's hard and depressing but it could be worse
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 1,713
    Agree @raisingirl we are lucky to have the space for fruit and veg and are able to keep ourselves with both for most of the year. We also give away loads to family and friends who don't have the space to grow their own. My comment was about the condition or non condition of the soil now we haven't had rain for so long. Not happened like this before.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,647
    Crikey! It makes me glad to have sandy soil - at least I'm used to it drying out whenever there's no rain for a week or two during the growing season.
  • EustaceEustace OxfordPosts: 1,130
    My garden is also clayey, with lots of such fissures appearing during this heatwave. Only heavy continuous rain can soak the ground now. Alas no rain forecast for the next 2 weeks.
  • Joyce GoldenlilyJoyce Goldenlily Posts: 1,468
    I would be inclined to pour sand and grit into the cracks ready to break up the clay when it rains. I gardened on Thames Valley heavy clay soil for a good few years and the only answer is to keep adding grit and horticultural sand plus as much organic matter as you can spare. It is a rich productive sol to have but very, very hard work.
    I now garden on thin, gritty clay pit spoil heap soil which I thought was wonderful to begin with. Now I know differently. No matter how much nutrition I put into my garden, as soon as it rains, it leaches out and I am back to square one. My garden is only about a spade depth deep before it becomes compacted shale which makes life hard for deep rooted plants.
  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,503
    The ground looks to be pretty compacted too my allotment plot has cracks in the soil but only where I have walked on it.
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,908
    The ground looks to be pretty compacted too my allotment plot has cracks in the soil but only where I have walked on it.
    It may just be panned. The trouble with clay is the window between too wet and too dry is perilously narrow. Getting a decent layer of mulch on does wonders, but it's not wise to mulch when the ground is dry. We've had a really trying couple of seasons with rain followed by very dry winds - either cold easterlies or hot southerlies - and it's just not been possible to 'catch' most of it. My garden looks pretty similar to b-m's, although the veg patch is generally better as it's the part I mulch first when I can, so it's the one bit that did get done this spring
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 1,950
    @Joyce Goldenlily  Not very helpful I know but your first photo could have been taken from space - a lovely rocky canyon, spiky greenery surviving alongside and even a little bridge at the bottom.  
    Sorry.  Hope you ( and I ) get some rain soon :)  
  • Slow-wormSlow-worm Posts: 560
    What gets me is the weekly texts from Severn Trent about saving water, while I'm watching the regular mobile car washer outside my window still jet washing people's cars!! 
    Keeping flowering plants and food plants alive and healthy is so much more important than having a bloody clean car!! I could do my entire garden twice with what he uses, and it only takes two buckets to wash your car yourself. That really grinds my gears, if you hadn't already sussed that! 
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 7,914
    edited 3 August
    We are on clay, the beds have been "improved", a couple dug out and soil completely replaced. Our lawns get huge cracks every year. Was rather annoyed, talking to folk without water meters,who water their lawns.... won't say anymore! We're putting the plug in the bath while showering. We do that every summer. Great fun (not!!) Scooping it out. We have a bungalow,and the bathroom is in the middle!!
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