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Heavy Clay Soil


I have a very heavy clay soil in my garden that I am in the process of digging out in the borders and replacing with more user friendly dirt. At the moment I am replacing say the top 4-6 inches of the heavy clay with a mix of soil from the compost heap, leftover compost from last years potted veg and sand.

Would it be worthwhile adding some fertilizer of some description or not?


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,828

    I really wouldn't use sand - a little fine grit if you must but not sand - it'll make the problem worse rather than better. 

    And don't remove the clay!!!  Instead just add lots and lots of organic matter to the clay and dig it in - well-rotted farmyard manure and spent mushroom compost.  Add more organic matter every year and you'll soon have the most fertile and productive soil there is.  image

    A sprinkling of Fish Blood and Bone before planting will be good too - follow the instructions on the packet. image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 750

    Yeah as dove says, don't add sand especially not fine builder's sand, clay and sand make bricks. image Organic matter is the best thing to add. Clay soil isn't all that bad though as long as you add organic matter.

  • Tropical SamTropical Sam Posts: 1,488

    Bark and chick poo pellets work a treat in opening up clay soil. I have clay loam and some parts of the garden are pure blue clay. Getting better everytime I fork in bark and pellets.

  • james 10james 10 Posts: 7

    Thanks for the speedy replies! I'll mix in what i have put on so far with the clay that is sitting below.

    The clay is just a pain because it water logs quickly and is so damn heavy to dig. If I can lighten it up a bit I can subcontract some of the digging out to my wife image

  • Tropical SamTropical Sam Posts: 1,488

    I have 5 broken spades trying to loosen and dig my soil. Just use a fork - not lost one yet, though have bent pronds from trying to lift stones.

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