Sources for "organic material"

I have a problematic backyard. It's basically two inches of topsoil on top of at least two feet of clay. It's also flat as a pancake and lower than my neighbors' yards. Every spring it turns into a swamp. I need three or four days of dry weather before I can even attempt to mow it, which is not much of a problem because nothing grows there very well except nettles.
I'm planning on getting a big load of topsoil to "dome" it, but I really need to do something about the clay. They say the best thing to do with clay soil is to work "organic material" into the clay. The most readily available organic material ( that I don't produce myself! ) is mulch, basically wood chips. I would much rather go with some kind of compost. Where does one go to find a truck load of compost?
BTW, I live in SE Michigan, if that helps.
Thanks, Ven Hawkins
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In our area, at the landfill. They receive "green waste" seperately, chip/shred it, compost it, and sell it for something like $15 per truck load.
steve
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Be careful about "compost". You don't want it to contain grass clippings from a lawn that has been treated with weed killers because it will affect the garden where you will apply it. Pre-emergent weed killers could cause your a newly seeded lawn to fail. Also, wood chips consume a lot of nitrogen in order to decay. But nitrogen is needed for plants to produce "green".
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On Thu, 27 May 2004 15:23:42 GMT, "William W. Plummer"

Won't the 'composting' action kill off the effectivness of 'weed killers' Even without the composting action, the weed killers I use seem to only work for a few months.
just asking,
tom
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I don't know, Tom, but I have been cautioned about it. You might ask an expert like Paul Parent. Here's the composting section of his web site: http://www.paulparent.com/seed/composting.html He takes calls on the radio on Sunday mornings from 6AM to 10AM and appears at various garden centers in New England on the afternoons.
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On Thu, 27 May 2004 18:52:45 GMT, "William W. Plummer"

Cool site. I like the list of do compost and don't compost. Kinda "Stupid Easy" :)
later,
tom
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How about your local Agway? Many can direct you to someone who has the stuff in great big piles (or they may have it themselves, especially this time of year). For example a nursery/farm a few miles away was where I got my 10 yards of "stuff" just like you want for about a hundred bucks. It was a blend of composted cow manure, seafood compost (im in Maine, what else?), loam, and sawdust(Maine again). The Agway up the road was working on such a pile at the time with several piles of raw ingredients and a backhoe. Take a look around farm country, I'm sure you'll find something you can till into that clay.
good luck and remember to have fun
cj

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I don't know your exact situation, but if you haul in a bunch of fill in your backyard, you may cause water not to drain from around your foundation, which would be a bad thing.
Even if your yard is lower than your neighbors' yards, you still should be able to drain it properly without hauling in massive amounts of fill. My yard is lower than my neighbor's. However there is a small indention (not even big enough to be called a ditch) between his yard and mine. This indention takes the water from his yard and routes it off my property. If you know how to use basic surveying equipment, you can set up your own drainage system, or there are people who perform this service professionally.
When my house was built, the builder hauled in about 1 inch of topsoil and laid it over the clay in my yard, then slapped down the sod. My lawn is in perfect condition today. So rather than a clay problem, your problems with your lawn are most likely the result of the drainage problems you have.
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<snip>

Where in MI. I get my compost by the truckload from Tuttles farm in green oak township (South Lyon).
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Dave) wrote in message

I live in Novi, so that sounds perfect. When you say "by the truckload", does that mean they deliver? What kind of compost is it? Thanks for the tip!
Ven Hawkins
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On Wed, 26 May 2004 06:50:12 -0700, actorguy2001 wrote:

Good day Ven. This is a tough situation to be in. Here in the pnw, we have lots of drainage issues with all the rain that we recieve. It seems that you have two possible problems here, your neighbors roof water and drains are/ could be pointed at your property and the soil base is poor with hard pan. When the rain perks through the ground and hits the hard pan, it then starts to move down the grade. It sounds like your at the bottom of that grade.
Imho (in my humble opinion), adding dirt/compost will not solve your issues and could quite easily make matters worse. The new dirt could wick up the extra water and the whole area could become very soft muck.
Suggested solutions: If there is an area that you could possible drain the excess water to via a french drain or a hard pipe,this would be your best option.
The second best option (imho) would be to put a dry well in the lowest/ wettest place in the lawn. A dry well is basically a hole filled rock, topped with weed fabric,topsoil and lawn. A well that is 5x5x5 filled with 1 1/2 minus crushed rock will hold huge ammount of water. This could be way too big of a well for you, but you get the idea. A 3x3x3 maybe enough.. but thats just a guess. After the well fills up, the water will slowly perk into the subsoil. If the soil is nothing but hard clay for 3 or 4 feet, then installing a dry well with a sump pump in it maybe your only choice. Pumping the water to a ditch or sewer drain (look to see if it legal first!!)
Hope you can fix your swamp soon.........
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