I live in Charlotte, NC and want to create a shrub and flower bed in different parts of my yard. The soil is red clay and poor drainage. I've read the organic manual and how to prep a bed, but it says to scrape of the grass add 4-6 inches of compost and then till to a depth of 8 inches. My concern is my drainage will still be poor because of the clay. Is this wrong or should clay soil be treated differently or tilled deeper? Also, there aren't any retail garden stores that carry horticultural corn meal, lava sand or green sand in southern Charlotte or any surrounding areas that I have looked. There is plenty of gypsum. Can you recommend any other similar soil amendments for the garden prep? It has also been recommened to put in lots of permatill which will keep the new garden soil from packing back together like clay and maintain adequate drainage. Do you agree?
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 3:45 pm Posts: 2884 Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
I like to watch Mother Nature and try to mimic what she does. When someone suggests doing something that is NEVER found in Nature, I have to ask what benefit it would be. Mother Nature never tills compost into the ground. All she does is drop leaves on the soil in the fall. Then it sits. If She had wanted the soil to be tilled up, she would have covered the Earth with millions of hogs instead of cattle, buffalo, antelope, elk, deer, sheep, and goats. Since you cannot go back and cover your clay with mulch last fall, today is the best you can do. Believe it or not even clay will turn back into dark soil when it is mulched. Unfortunately it takes time. Now you're going to say you want to plant this spring, aren't you.
Have you heard of lasagna gardening? I've heard of it but I'm no expert. Basically you build up layers of materials (like a mulch) and plant into that. You might search Dirt Doctor for "lasagna" and see what you get.
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