To much Mud

Hello,
I have just built a house where we dug into the ground to build. Now I want to concerntrate on the garden which is just a mud slide at the moment, so much so if you walk on it you sink. Also the wet conditions and lots of snow did not help.
Is it possible to pack the mud down so I can plant grass seeds?.
Other important points are,
The land is just mud and Earth, no stones to be found anywhere.
Last summer when we were building lots of weeds grew on the land, so it is growable.
Also how do i stop the weeds from growing?
Thanks Jason.
--
Jason in a mud

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Jason in a mud wrote:

No, not if you want to grow good grass with deep roots that will be durable. You need to open up the soil which cannot be done until it dries out. Working wet soil will just destroy any structure that remains and make it into adobe. The digging down for the house foundations will have brought sub-soil to the surface which is probably undesirable unless you are lucky enough to live where the topsoil is metres deep. Subsoil is often high in clay or sand and low in organic matter. Depending on what you have you may want to improve what is there or bring in new topsoil to cover it.
As you mention snow my guess is you are in winter now so your grass seed wouldn't germinate very well, if at all. Start getting your yard landscaped and the soil ready when it dries out and wait for spring before planting. There is a lot involved in starting from a bare patch of dirt so spend some time planning, reading garden design books etc before you start. You can waste a great deal of time and money rushing in to plant stuff without thinking about the long term layout. The key aim is to create areas in the yard that suit what YOU want to do there and how YOU want it to look. Aside from useage and looks you need to take into account sun, wind, drainage and climate at least.
There are many possible surfaces for your yard - grass is just one of them. Grass has two uses: feeding herbivores and making a soft self-regenerating play surface for children and sports, other than that it is a huge cost to sow, fertilise, water, mow etc. There are many other ways to cover your bare dirt that are more interesting and useful than grass, unless you have a football team. Even if you love grass so much you couldn't grow anything else you will need hard paths in high wear areas or they will go back to mud due to damage to the plants and soil compaction.

Weeds love bare earth. The two best way to stop them is to cover the earth by growing something else there and/or mulching the soil. Organic mulches that will decay to improve your soil structure are better than inorganic mulches like stones in most cases.
David
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Nice answer. The only think I might add is that you can probably test the soil for pH now and toss on the appropriate stuff to let it over winter. Usually the soil will be acidic, and you might want to throw a few handfuls of lime out there.
Chris
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Mud implies that there may be issues with drainage. There is really nothing you can do now in winter to improve conditions for planting a lawn other than to stay off of the soil/mud whenever possible and perhaps even spread a mulch (straw?) to prevent further damage, if snow cover not present. Once temperatures warm and winter rains diminish, you should investigate any drainage issues, correct them before anything else and then consider adding some organic matter to the 'soil' to improve fertility. Organic matter will also help alleviate compaction, which is generally what you will get with heavily traveled mud and compaction is not helpful to establishing a lawn.
You should have a soil test done after correcting any drainage problems and before adding any amendments. Tossing out a "few handfuls" of lime is not going to accomplish anything unless you know what you are dealing with with regards to soil pH - you need to know what the pH is *before* starting and exactly how much lime is needed to reduce acidity - should it even be a concern - to acceptable levels. A soil test will also tell you what sort of nutrients may be lacking so you know how to amend the soil before planting the lawn.
Weeds will grow regardless of conditions, even in a planted area. You just need to be on top of the situation and remove them as they appear, without allowing them to flower and seed. Manual removal is typically the most efficient method, providing the weeds do not get ahead of you, and it is far less damaging to the environment than mindlessly spraying a herbicide.
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Indeed. That's why I suggested to test the soil pH before deciding what amendment might be appropriate. I live in an area with acidic soil so lime is what came to mine.
According to what I have read, it takes weeks or months for lime to have an effect. That's why I suggested testing the soil now, rather than in Spring. Since I don't have the problem of alkaline soil, I don't know how long it takes to amend that problem. I suspect adding some kind of sulfur would work much more quickly.
And thank you for informative answer. There was a lot of good info in there.
Chris

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