building new gardens its the perfect time to prepare
the soil, and if you have clay soils, it is very important
to build up the soil before planting.
Clay soils are usually very slow draining, and stick together
in clods when wet. If they dry out, they crack and go as hard
as bricks. If clay soils are left as they are, they can be
a problem to grow plants in, but on a good note, clay soils
are very rich in nutrients, they just require good preparation
To successfully grow plants in clay soils its important
to both build up the soil with good organic matter and break
up the clay with special additives.
The first step is to add gypsum to the soil. Apply gypsum
at 1 kilo per square metre, digging this into the top 10-15cm
well. Gypsum works on the clay, breaking it up into small
crumbly pieces making it easier to work with and also improves
drainage. If the soil is a very heavy clay, then this may
need to be done more than once.
The next step is to build up the soil with plenty of organic
matter. Do this by digging in large quantities of Searles®
Real Organic Compost. Spread the compost over the soil at
about 5-6cm deep and turn this in with a fork to approximately
10cm deep. This may seem like a lot, but the results will
This added Searles® Real Organic Compost will improve soil
fertility and help break up the soil, preventing it from drying
hard like a brick. Now leave the soil undisturbed for a few
weeks to settle and to allow the soil structure to change
now with the addition of both the Gypsum and the compost.
Before planting, give it a good turn with a fork and now you
will see a world of difference. The soil should be far easier
to turn and work and it should have a crumb-like soil texture.
This is now ready to plant into. If you are growing seasonal
crops such as vegetables or annual flowers, you will have
the added advantage of being able to add more gypsum and compost
again after each season.
Clay soils can be very rewarding and tend to grow excellent
crops, given the right treatment. By constantly adding more
organic matter year by year and mulching well, the soil will
naturally improve and the benefits are enormous.
remember, to prepare clay soils:
Add gypsum at 1 kg per square metre
Dig in plenty of Searles® Real Compost
And leave for a few weeks or longer before planting
you do this, youll be rewarded with a flourishing garden
and soil that wont dry like bricks.
Happy Gardening with Searles from the Searle family.
© Copyright 2002 JC & AT
Searle Pty Ltd
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