Working with clay soil

Tupelo, MS

I just moved to an area with a lot of clay soil and I think I've settled on the way that I want to build my garden beds. I don't think sowing seeds directly into the ground is a great idea in my backyard because water tends to puddle up easily after a good rain and then drains slowly.

I was thinking of digging a space about 18-24 inches deep, filling the hole with logs and pieces of wood (and maybe leaves and pine needles), and then putting the dirt on top to use as my growing medium. My reasoning is that the wood underneath the soil should help with water drainage. I have easy access to wood and similar materials that I can use to fill the hole.

Additionally, I have compost I started back in August that has small twigs that I can mix in with the clay soil that might also help water drain. I realize I should've done all this back in September, but so it goes.

Has anyone tried anything like this? Do you think this plan would work with clay soil?

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

I don't have clay soil, but our native soil is heavy sedimentery based, so it tends to act a bit like clay soil. I have spread pelleted Gypsum to help "flocculate" it.

I also add washed river sand to help aerate the soil. I buy the river sand a truckload at a time in order to get a lower cost for a particular amount of sand. At first I bought sand by the bag of "play sand" from home stores, but realized that was not economical for large amounts of sand.

You might want to look into whether it would beneficial for you to to spread some pelleted gypsum on your clay-based soil.


Thumbnail by Zen_Man Thumbnail by Zen_Man Thumbnail by Zen_Man Thumbnail by Zen_Man
Poughkeepsie, NY(Zone 6a)

You need to work in a LOT of compost. In the fall you can work in chopped up dead leaves. They will compost over fall and winter.

Tupelo, MS

Sorry for the late reply. Thank you both for the reply. I'm taking your advice to heart.

Zen_Man: Thanks for the pics!

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