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Why do gardeners dislike clay soil?

Why exactly do gardens dislike clay soil?   I've read a few books that talk badly about clay soil and so on.. Why exactly is this? I've got heavy clay soil and things are growing fine...




  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 64,666

    I don't dislike it - clay soil that's been improved with lots of organic matter is some of the most fertile and productive in the country. image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 9,785

    Same here Chris.  In fact, clay soil is one of the best there is as it contains masses of nutrients.  The issues people have are caused by poor drainage or it going as hard as rock when dried out.  However, adding lots of organic matter solves both issues and creates an 'improved' clay soil which is fantastic stuff. image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 9,785

    Snap as usual, Dove! image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 64,666

    Snap Bob! image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 26,165

    My last garden was 12" of builderssand.

    This garden is clay. I'm no longer a slave to the hosepipe .

    I'll have clay any day.

  • KT53KT53 Posts: 4,511

    Many people dislike clay soil because it can be virtually impossible to dig for much of the year.  My mum's garden was heavy clay which went from being too heavy and sticky to work after rain to like concrete after a couple of days of sun.  Many years of working in organic matter made it usable but still heavy and difficult.

    By contrast, our house is only a matter of 3 miles from hers and can be dug easily at any time of the year.  In fact the deeds of our house forbid the extraction of sand and gravel for commercial purposes.  The soil is superb, but the original occupant of the house apparently had the whole lot down to veg for about 40 years, I guess that helped.

  • I have clay soil which I've improved over the years and I now have a really great growing medium.I hardly need a trowel to plant something in most of the borders.  My only problem is the weather and the fact that I want to grow so many plants that my garden is often overcrowded. 

  • Chris MasonChris Mason Posts: 159

    Very intersting

  • B3B3 Posts: 15,071

    Having clay soil is a bit like having a new baby. You sleep when it does or you don't sleep.

    with clay soiL you get out there straight after it rains and do your planting and digging because that is your only chance 

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,528

    When you have had to leave a pair of perfectly good wellies where they got stuck and make your way back to the house bare foot......

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
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