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Allotment Heavy clay heavy mud



  • Tropical SamTropical Sam Posts: 1,488
    wildgirl12 wrote (see)

     just watch out in summer when lumps of clay substrate turn to concrete

    I have lost 3 spades to my clay soil drying like concrete and it beiong so heavy when wet! I only use forks now to blend in compost and manure.

  • I love gardening but i hate this clay,mug,bog soil,i have two massive neopolitan dogs who want to go out,they are both walked twice a day but want to go out in between,there is mud everywhere and you can imagine the state of my dogs and bungalow,i just want to concrete the whole garden,the guy who came to give me a quote for a patio say he was concerned that it might sink?Help i am going out of mind with the mop in my hand.The front garden i will work on.

  • Bunny ...Bunny ... Posts: 3,471
    Beverley2 , I too have mud/clay and a bouncing 2yr old labrador ...churned lawn and paw patterned floors image
  • You've had lots of good advice here and I can only give my experience. I got my plot a few years ago. Heavy clay, not much previous work done and waist high in weeds. I cut all the weeds down to the soil and covered as much as I could with heavy blue tarpaulin / plastic sheeting from a swedish company well known for selling furniture.... Meter by meter I worked that plot and took out by hand as many of the weeds that I could. It will take time but as has been said, using a rotovater only breaks up the roots, that is supposing you could get it through the mud.

    It won't be easy but if you take it bit by bit then you'll get there eventually. There is'nt any point trying to work wet clay. I don't know where you live so don't know if you're likely to get much frost. I'd be inclined to cover what I can, it'll help dry out the clay and the lack of light should help the weeds die down.

    As has been said, you'll need to add compost or / and manure to the beds to help make it more suitable for growing but there's still time for you to prepare a few beds for planting this summer. Don't forget that potatoes are good for breaking up the soil too, I grow them most years.  Best of luck.

  • The book "TINE" How to Garden Without Digging, available at, explains that less is more when we consider cultivation. A green manure crop hoed off, narrow drainage channels cultivated under crops sown or planted in bands, produces healthy crops and saves and awful lot of work. 

  • Caz WCaz W Posts: 1,353

    Are you the same Andrew Astle who wrote the above mentioned book?

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,014

    Yes, it's in his profile.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • When I started creating my veg garden in 2003  I had the most disgusting clay and builders rubble and more. I dug out every single bed down to about 30-36" (or more depending on what I found down there) and backfilled with topsoil. manure , sand, grit whatever was appropriate. Hard work but it has been worth it as I now have good growing beds. Fortunately I had somewhere to put the removed material which might not be the case for you Robert.

    Good luck, Janet

  • Thank you i am a new gardner and i love it,i am back at college doing a gardening course and really enjoying it,all the advice is really helpful.

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