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ClaySoil after landscaping

Discussion in 'Gardening Discussions' started by Nick BW, Jun 1, 2020.

  1. Nick BW

    Nick BW Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi all

    We have recently had some landscaping done in the garden and i am about to start sieving 50 tonnes of soil to make my topsoil.

    The land is very dry which is t be expected with this weather but i have some areas with lots of clay in. Maybe 1/3 of the garden is now clay. I have bought a Howard 350 rotavator to go over the clay, but should i mix some mud from my very large pile in the garden with the clay to help it?

    To even get close to rotavating the cement like clay, i am soaking it for a few hours which is enabling the rotavator to cut through

    The plan is to then put 3" of top soil on over the top


    Is this the right approach?
    Any tips or advice i would be very grateful

    Thanks
    Nick
     

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    • Graham B

      Graham B Gardener

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      If you've got heavy clay, then mixing in a load of peat or compost is your best bet. It helps encourage worms and maintain drainage. Don't bother trying to mix in sand or other topsoil - the clay will just swallow it without making any real difference. And TBH if you're renovating the whole garden then you won't lose out by mixing in some compost elsewhere too.

      Just by the way, don't use spent mushroom compost. It might be cheap, but you'll end up with loads of unwanted fungus. For myself I try to avoid peat in garden products, but YMMV.

      For the topsoil, if you've rotavated the subsoil then just put it over the top.

      And you've probably thought about this already, but try to level off the subsoil as well as you can before you add topsoil. This is also a good opportunity to put a slight gradient on the lawn in whatever direction you want, so that it drains that way and doesn't get waterlogged puddles in the middle. Even just a 0.5:100 gradient (half a cm per metre) will help. If you're going to do that, do it at the subsoil layer.
       
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      • Nick BW

        Nick BW Apprentice Gardener

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        Thanks very much for the reply! What about manure, will that be ok to mix with the clay?

        Thanks
        Nick
         
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        • Nick BW

          Nick BW Apprentice Gardener

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          I was looking at a bag of manure
          oakleyturf com/product/farmyard-manure/
           
        • ARMANDII

          ARMANDII Low Flying Administrator Staff Member

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          A bag of manure will probably not go too far, Nick. I'm lucky enough to have several Farms and over a dozen Stables within a few miles of me and so have, over the years, had Tractor loads of Cow and Horse Manure delivered for either free or at a cheap rate.........so, it's worth looking around to see what is nearby even in a City
           
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          • Graham B

            Graham B Gardener

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            You don't want to use raw manure either. I don't have the science at my fingertips, but there are some nutrients which get pulled out of the soil whilst manure is rotting down, if you mix it straight in. Needs to be left for a while to rot down first. Google will probably tell you all - I'm just skiving from work for a minute so I can't chase it right now.
             
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            • Nick BW

              Nick BW Apprentice Gardener

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              Thanks all
              The manure i was looking at was left for 12m plus. Marked for soil conditioning.

              Thanks all for the replies. Brings a bi of confidence to what i am doing!
              Cheers all
               
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              • ARMANDII

                ARMANDII Low Flying Administrator Staff Member

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                One last thing, at least from me, Nick, is to make/start your own Compost Heap as plant debris, leaves, etc soon build up and being able to return it back as compost into your soil will really pay you back over the years.
                 
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