Clay soil is one of the most difficult soils to plant crops on. Clay soil is characterized by small particles which make the soil to be very dense. Roots find it difficult to penetrate clay soil. It also has low amounts of organic material, low permeability, and water holding capacity. These characteristics make it nearly impossible to grow crops on the soil. However, you can amend the soil to make it suitable for gardening. Below are some steps on how to amend clay soil:
Amend during the dry seasons
Clay soil has the worst percolation ability. When wet, it becomes compacted and denser. This would make it difficult to amend.
Amend a wide section
Make sure to amend a wider section than the area you intend to use for gardening. This gives ample space in which roots can spread on and avoid crowding.
Lower the Ph of the soil
Clay soil is mostly alkaline. Alkaline soils are not ideal for many plants. You can add compost, composted manure, building sand or gypsum to lower the soils Ph.
Mix organic material with the clay soil
Integrate organic material such as compost manure into the clay soil. Use at least one cubic yard of organic manure for every 10 by 10-foot area of clay soil.
Add builder’s sand
The next step is to add builder’s sand or gypsum to the clay and organic material mixture. After adding, mix the components thoroughly.
Monitor soil Ph
Frequently monitor the Ph of the soil to make sure it does not change. Most plants do not do well in soils that drastically change Ph levels. If the Ph level is still high, acidify the soil more. Clay soil has a very high Ph, so it could be necessary to keep on adding acid-based matter frequently. You can use fertilizers that contain ammonia, iron sulfate, or other compost materials such as sphagnum moss.
Use manual watering systems
You should completely avoid using automating watering systems. Clay soil retains water for long periods, and therefore it is easy to drown plants which is definitely not good. Manually water the plants yourself.
If you are looking into how to amend clay soil, the above tips are the basic steps to ensure smooth and thorough gardening.