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CLAY!!! Now what do i do?

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by tkhooper on March 24, 2005 03:17 PM
I was digging up some more of the weed patch behind the building in a shady area and the ground became just like rock. There was grass so i knew it wasn't a rock. When I finally managed to get a clump up it was clay. Even wet I can't get it up and we had a good soaking rain yesterday which was why I was out there. What do I do? Feel around until I hit dirt and just leave the clay alone or is there a way to soften it up. I don't have any money to aid me in this project, so it's just me and a flat edged shovel and one little grey squirrel. I feed him and he digs up my seeds. I really liked that spot for the peonies and hosta is it a loss?

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by Dixie Angel on March 24, 2005 03:25 PM
Sounds like you have a good place to locate a compost pile, TKH! If you start now, you could have that soil amended by next years planting season!

Weezie! I said COMPOST! [Big Grin] Can you give TKH some help there?

Dianna

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by tkhooper on March 24, 2005 03:58 PM
It's right at the edge of a 3 foot retaining wall and it's top block high already and right at the center of the space with a tree shading it. I would hate to put a compost pile there but I guess I may not have a choice. I know why the county still owns this spot (no one would want it). It's at a steep angle, it's long (about 75 feet) and narrow about 8 to 10 feet mostly straight up. I was hoping to be able to terrace it alittle bit each year. Maybe some kind of bench that would be unmovable would work. If it could be moved someone would take it, I don't live in the best neighborhood. My ex roommate stole all the neighbors papas grass stocks. And they had it landscaped so you know they paid a premium to get that in there. What ever I do the stuff I used to do it with will have to be delivered or fit in a taxi (lol). Disability is just grand really grand.

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by obywan59 on March 24, 2005 04:35 PM
I've read that there's a point where as clay dries (between too wet and too dry) that it becomes easier to work. Try digging again in a day or 2. If you have more patience, you could plant something like clover or rye grass. The roots would help break up the clay.

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Terry

May the force be with you
by tkhooper on March 26, 2005 02:37 PM
Hi obywan

I'm in virginia too. I'm trying the bone meal cardboard and compost combo and as soon as I started it, it started raining and hasn't let up so hopefully in about 4 weeks I should have something. Hope the peonies and hosta will wait that long. I see there is another lady with clay problems posting over in lawn care. I put in that post a question about a product I saw advertised at the top of the forum called "open all" it's very expensive on my budget but if it worked I would probably squeeze the food budget down to nothing in order to get it. Do you know anything about it?

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by Meg on March 26, 2005 03:06 PM
Ya know, I'm in WV, and we have nothing but clay here too. That, and an abundance of rocks. [Frown]

I find that I can dig a WHOLE LOT easier, after it's been a good soaking rain for awhile. Not just a fast & furious rain, but a long soaking rain. Or, if you have a water pipe break under ground, it's all mud, that just sloshes out. But, I wouldn't really recommend that. [Wink] [Razz]

Last summer, it took me HOURS to dig a shovel width trench, about 8' long. A while later, it had rained good.. and I went to dig another trench, about 6' long, and 3' deep.. and I whipped out that trench in like 30 minutes.

Meg

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I reject your reality, and substitue my own!
My favorite digital camera photos that I took.
My family, garden, and a bunch of misc. photos!
by tkhooper on March 26, 2005 05:11 PM
well it's wet brought about 10 lbs of the clay indoors with me on my shoes. [Roll Eyes]

My infamous landlord decided my cardboard needed to be in the dumpster so that's where I rescued it from. He won't find it now it is completely covered. Unless of course we get one of those fast and furious rains.

It's amazing what he doesn't pick up. glass bottles, toothbrushes, milk cartons, plastic bags, newpaper, iron hooks of some sort, broken chunks of concrete. All of which he had to reach over in order to get to the cardboard.

I'll bet'cha he thought he was helping.

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by obywan59 on March 26, 2005 07:03 PM
I've never heard about "open all". I've used gypsum before but I think it's best to till it into the soil. Don't know how well it would work if that's not possible.

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Terry

May the force be with you
by weezie13 on March 27, 2005 05:49 PM
quote:
Weezie! I said COMPOST! Can you give TKH some help there?
I can't believe someone said COMPOST
and I missed it??????? [shocked] [Frown] [Mad] [Roll Eyes] [Wink] [Big Grin]

Compost is exactly what I would of said...
Best thing in the world, for EVERY TYPE OF SOIL...

Throw on compost, some straw, cardboard, and more compost on top!!!!
And let it sit for a while...

Weezie

Although TK, I have a question or two...

When you said
quote:
It's right at the edge of a 3 foot retaining wall and it's top block high already and right at the center of the space with a tree shading it.
What is the retaining wall holding back???
You might want to rethink it if it's holding something back??? You want the dirt solid and non~pliable in front of/around that area to hold back what it's retaining?????? [dunno] ??????

And compost pile, like a real style pile, in a container or the likes, really need some kind of sunshine to really help it...
If you're only trying to amend the soil, the first method of just layering some stuff on it and leaving it is the best.. IMHO [Embarrassed]

Weezie

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by tkhooper on March 27, 2005 09:28 PM
Hey Weezie,

COMPOST lol

I'm not very good at descriptions but here goes. The weed patch is between our parking lot and a side street. The parking lot is about 12 feet lower than the street above. The height difference is dealt with by the steep slope of the weed patch and at the foot of that a 3' retaining wall. The tree is actually comming up on the parking lot side right through the blacktop.

Hum that's an interesting thought. You think the clay maybe what is holding it all together? So maybe it would fall down if I amended the soil?

Now I am completely at a lost as to what to do. I guess it is an indoor container garden for me. I could make some kind of a solarium out of my dinningroom. Going to have to start a new thread for that I guess.

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by tkhooper on March 29, 2005 01:48 PM
I think you are right Weezie;

The retaining wall on the side I hadn't gotten too does kinda look like the leaning tower of piza. And one "layer" of the bricks about half way down have moved outward from the lower ones. And the mortar has disintergrated pretty badly. I guess it's a good thing that just about everything I put out there died.

I'm depressed.

Going to go hide in closet for awhile.

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by Dixie Angel on March 29, 2005 02:18 PM
TKH, don't give up! [tongue] Put you a planter out there. Just make sure to keep it watered.

Dianna [Wink]

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by weezie13 on March 29, 2005 02:39 PM
TK,
Oooops, sorry, forgot to check my email notification box [Embarrassed]
Yes, do what Dianna said, CONTAINERS.....
Those can be alot of fun too,
mix and match and reposition and fill
in here and there.
Get a little statue here and there, a whirlie~gig,
a tee~pee like frame and put the ends in some pots and grow morning glories up the legs.
Have some fun.
Use old laundry bins lined with landscape fabric, or those coco~fibers...
use an old washing machine barrel,
or find an old log and use a door knob piece and cut a hole section or two out and throw some dirt in there..
Or a old tire rim or kiddie pool, and fill in around and up to the sides to it, I"ve got two of those...mine are semi~hidden though, the blue color is quite blue!! [Big Grin]
Or one of those $5.oo/$10.oo buckets with the handles' they'd use for beer or pop at a picinic they sell at the Dollar General and poke holes in the bottom and fill...*I have one of those too,
with a round circle of chicken wire in the middle of it, for cucumber's....but it sure would look cute with morning glories..

NEVER BE DISCOURAGED AROUND GARDENING...
Small set backs mayyyyyyyybe....
but there's always some way to garden...

Papito in California gardens extensively in pots and containers, lot's of fruit trees...

Weezie

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by tkhooper on March 29, 2005 04:43 PM
Containers outside are a great idea except they need to be the giagantic kind my landlord has or people walk off with them. The landlord and I discussed that when I moved in. Unfortunately I don't have the money for that kind of thing. But the landlord came out to the "garden" today and was suprised by how much I had managed to plow up. We decided that if I stayed on the farther side of the tree and terrace I should be ok. Mainly just leave the clay alone for several feet from the wall.

Tires and kiddy pools would be great except for the slope, they would never stay in place lol. Make a great roller coaster though.

So this morning I dug down to the clay farther up the slope and removed the top soil and weeds. Then added more clay from another spot not near the wall until I was about 12 inches above the lower level. Made that slant slightly down towards the hill so it will hold the soil and then put the top soil back. I broke my spade the other day so I'll just continue terracing until payday when I can get a new one then I'll mix the top soil with the bone meal and compost and be ready to try planting again.

Your so right Weezie, can't quit now.

I just have to remember to leave enough space on each level for a pathway so I can weed, seed & feed.

It gave me hope that the marigolds I planted in the landlords big container are starting to sprout. Now as long as the smokers waiting for the buses don't kill them all with the cigarette butts, they at least might make it. I hold out no hope for the nostramus I planted in that container. It has been raining for a week.

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by weezie13 on March 29, 2005 04:55 PM
What's the last one you planted that hasn't come up???

Weezie

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by tkhooper on March 29, 2005 05:28 PM
That would be the Red Velvet Celosia. I think it got way to cold and way to wet for these little darlings. Unfortunately I've learned that they don't do well if transplanted so I tried sowing them straight into the garden but I was too early.

The moss roses portaluca also got way to wet, I killed one pot of them inside by overwatering and outside has been a flood.

The carnations wouldn't come up until next year anyway (is that right) but I wouldn't be suprised if the seeds rotted in all that rain.

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by JV on March 30, 2005 04:37 AM
TK I would check with the county before I dug in that very much. When I was in road construction a lot of times we had to build retaining walls to hold back dirt on steep slopes. Conatiner's are great and something else you might think about is Native to your region wild flowers thay are always pretty and take hardly no effort. Just something for you to stew on a spell.
Jimmy [flower]

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Meet Clyde my Male Sugar Glider. Clyde says.
Keep it organic
GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.
Pray for our Troops!

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by weezie13 on March 30, 2005 04:57 AM
TK,
Are you using a seed starting mix to start your seeds???
*We should start this on another thread for the seeds.. and dirt?? but just curious???*

Weezie

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by tkhooper on March 30, 2005 05:14 AM
just miracle grow potting soil and miracle grow water soluable fertilizer.

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by papito on March 30, 2005 07:37 PM
TKH,

Have you heard about "Lasagna Gardening"? It was posted by Laurelann in this Forum. See links below:

Lasagna Gardening 1

Lasagna Gardening 2

Lasagna Gardening 3

Lasagna Gardening in the Shade

Many more articles are available on this subject, just Google search for Lasagna Gardening.

The other way you can build up the soil is to use "green manure". These are plants [ Snap beans, Peas, Buckwheat, etc.] that are grown to cover the area and are later tilled or spaded into the soil.

Container Gardening is a favorite subject, and as Weezie said, I do almost all of my gardening in containers because of space limitations. At the moment, I can think of nothing else to add from what Weezie already covered.

If you don't want your containers [ pots] to walk away, maybe you should consider using a raised bed [for gardening] and do it the Lasagna gardening way.

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Love is the essence of life.

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