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Boggy Clay Soil

Our small area of grass which after 3yrs in a new build we took up and are replacing underneath is just solid clay with lumps of slate and massive rocks to the extent that we needed a pickaxe to turn it over. I am guessing the wet winter hasn't helped much and it hasn't dried out a huge amount yet. 

I have bought some builders sand to add to it but was just wondering if there is anything else that can help before we add top soil and new grass down please. 

Posts

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336

    Hi Mrs-T, I wouldn't recommend the builder's sand as that will make things worse.  Builder's sand contains clay itself and your soil will end up like concrete.  Add grit and/or sharp sand and as much organic matter as possible - mushroom compost can be bought cheaply and contains lime which will help break down the clay.  Ideally you would rotavate it all in before levelling and laying down turf, but otherwise you'll need to dig it in.  Cheap compost would be fine too.  Organic matter and more organic matter is the answer.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Mrs-TMrs-T Posts: 10

    Thanks,  I did say to the husband to by corse sand but he came home with this. 

    I also mentioned rotavating it but it is literally about 7ft by about 14ft and having looked at rotavator higher prices it seems quite expensive. 

    Do you think adding a couple of bags of small shingle type stones with some muchroom compost whilst we pickaxe it to turn it over will work? So it kind of mixes it in like the rotavator would, just more hard work for us! I have some shingle here which needs using anyway. 

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336

    I'd go for the mushroom compost and work it in as you go.  A large amount of grit/shingle type stuff would be needed to make any difference (at least the equivalent of a 4 inch covering of the whole area before digging it in, so an awful lot of hard work carrying and spreading such heavy stuff), but the compost will provide a better solution and be much easier to work in.  Don't skimp on the mushroom compost - using lots of it will pay dividends in the future. image  The local newspaper is often a good source for mushroom compost suppliers.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Mrs-TMrs-T Posts: 10

    Thanks for the help, I will get looking. Its not helping that the weather isn't great in Cornwall at the moment and it is all exposed and getting more and more stodgy. 

    Someone did mention trenches filled with hardcore material will help too? 

  • Mrs-TMrs-T Posts: 10

    He has come home with some manure, not quite mushroom compost but hopefully it will help. Better do as it stinks! 

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336

    It will definitely help!  Anything like that will be good for helping to break down the clay.  Ultimately, it will be the worms that do the work for you and all they need is organic matter in the soil on which to feed.  As they burrow through the clay they make nice little drainage holes for you. image

    PS, just seen the bit about the trench - if you can dig one at the side of the new lawn and fill it with rubble etc., it will help to drain the area.  Best put something on top of the rubble to stop the holes filling up with soil though - a sheet of landscape/weed control matting will do the trick.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Mrs-TMrs-T Posts: 10

    I just said to him that all the worms we found takin up the old lawn we need yo go find! 

    I sometimes wish now I paid more attention to the parents growing up with our big garden because now my garden is a postage stamp and I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to gardening but hopefully in the heat wave of a summer we are meant to be having I can finally enjoy sitting out there. 

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