clay soil

we have a fairly large plot that use to be a vegatable plot.but due to my partner having bad ankles and me having back problems we can no longer keep on top of it.we can't afford to pay a gardener so i have to tackle it myself.but the soil is rock solid ,i can't even get a spade into it.the weeds and clumps of grass are impoosible to dig up.the only time it's easier to dig is after heavy rainfall .but even then i find the rotovator bounces off the clods of soil once it has dried out.is there any way i can get over these problems.i can't do too much at a time because of my back.
--
net1961


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Cover the area with 2 or 3 sheets of newsprint or a single sheet of cardboard. Spread whatever types of soil amendments that you think you may need (manure, rock phosphate, ect.) and cover with 2 - 3 in (5 - 8 cm) of alfalfa (lucern), and water the bed. Two weeks later, sow with rye, or buckwheat (which will loosen the soil). Come spring, cover with newsprint or cardboard, and alfalfa (lucern) as before, water it down, and wait two weeks at least to plant. Maintain the mulch (alfalfa [lucern]) by adding as needed.
--
Racial injustice, war, urban blight, and environmental rape have a common
denominator in our exploitative economic system.
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On 8/16/2009 2:37 AM, net1961 wrote:

Broadcast a generous amount of gypsum over the area. You want to see only white, no soil. 1/8 inch or even 1/4 inch is okay.
Sprinkle lightly to start disolving the gypsum. The next day, sprinkle a bit heavier to start leaching the gypsum into the soil. Then, repeat sprinkling every 3-4 days until all the gypsum has disolved and leached into the soil. Gypsum reacts chemically with clay to make it porous and workable.
Let the soil dry for about a week. Then till. As you are tilling, add whatever amendments and nutrients you think are appropriate. This is the best time to add bone meal or super-phosphate since phosphorus does not readily disolve and must thus be down into the soil where roots will find it.
After tilling, mulch with organic matter (leaves, DRIED grass clippings, output from your office shredder, newspaper, cardboard, etc); don't use plastic sheeting, gravel, volcanic rock, other "permanent" mulch. This will protect the tilled soil from being compacted by rain and artificial irrigation. It will also encourage earthworms, which will help maintain the tilled soil structure you have created.
You might have to add more gypsum annually without tilling. Note that most gypsum is a natural (not manufactured) product. It does not harm soil organisms. Earthworms seem to enjoy the added calcium. While it is truly inorganic, many organic gardeners use it.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2009 11:52:46 -0700, "David E. Ross"

I like this answer. I have used gypsum and it really helps break up clay soil. Eventually I worked compost in to the clay soil. In some areas there were large clumps of clay that I physically replaced with garden soil. I have the mini (I think FG110) Honda tiller--very nice machine that beats the Mantis hands down. Don't till when wet.
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g'day,
go for raised beds, see our site for pic's and ideas.
a bit of work to get them in but once done all too easy.
http://www.lensgarden.com.au /
On Sun, 16 Aug 2009 10:37:59 +0100, net1961

With peace and brightest of blessings,
len & bev
-- "Be Content With What You Have And May You Find Serenity and Tranquillity In A World That You May Not Understand."
http://www.lensgarden.com.au /
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len said

g'day to you ;-)
FYI, quite a few of your links on this page are defunct.
http://ecosyn.us/ecocity/Links/Visual_Pages/Raised_Beds/Raised_Beds.html
The remaining info is very helpful, though.
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g'day homer,
that page isn't mine??
do you have more details please, i do like to clean up dead links
On Sun, 16 Aug 2009 21:10:56 +0000 (UTC), "Homer.Simpson"
snipped
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net1961;861116 Wrote: > we have a fairly large plot that use to be a vegatable plot.but due to > my partner having bad ankles and me having back problems we can no > longer keep on top of it.we can't afford to pay a gardener so i have to > tackle it myself.but the soil is rock solid ,i can't even get a spade > into it.the weeds and clumps of grass are impoosible to dig up.the only > time it's easier to dig is after heavy rainfall .but even then i find > the rotovator bounces off the clods of soil once it has dried out.is > there any way i can get over these problems.i can't do too much at a > time because of my back.
You could try a raised bed on top of the clay. Vitax Clay Breaker might help but that is a multi year process. Best of luck
--
Jardin


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