any master gardeners on board? soil ??

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by ntiveheart, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. i'm in florida which means, i, for the most part, garden in sand. no matter how much organic matter we till in, it's still sand.

    we have some guys, digging a pond for us in our front pasture. they've hit clay.

    my question is this:

    would some of that clay, mixed with the top soil they've scraped off, be of any benefit to my garden? i was thinking in small amounts, it would improve the tilth and help the soil hold water.
    am i totally off base here?

    thanks for reading this!
  2. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    I would be mixing as much as I could get my hands on. I love my clay/sand soil
  3. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    You might enjoy checking it out on a BYC sister site,

    It's a great place, like BYC but all about gardening!
  4. maplesky7

    maplesky7 Flock Mistress

    Jun 14, 2008
    N. IL.
    We have a master gardener I always call with questions through the University of IL. extension.

    There has to be something like that in your area.

    I forgot where I found the number but in the begginning of the phone book, I think it was.

  5. we have a master gardener at the ag center. unfortunately, try as i might, i simply cannot understand his accent, and i usually have NO problems with accents. i once asked for literature on fire ant control.......and received literature on permaculture lol

    i figured i'd just do better asking here!
  6. HarlansHollowFarms

    HarlansHollowFarms bana-bhuidseach anns gára

    Jan 16, 2009
    Usually mixing clay into your sand will not work. It would take many years to change the composition of you soil. If possible your best solution is to make raised beds for your garden. This will allow you to mix the soil any way you would like and it will contain it so the dominant soil type does not take over. In this way every year you can add nutrients and whatever else and you never have to worry about it. Attempting to change you soil type with the addition of of clay would take ton of the clay, and more work than it would be worth because it would not stay changed in the long run.
  7. mountaintopchicken

    mountaintopchicken Songster

    May 23, 2007
    I've got an MS in Plant and Soil Science and used to teach soils labs.

    I totally agree with HarlansHollowAussies. Every word. Couldn't have said it better. Raised beds - the way to go!

    Plus, I visualize a nightmare process of trying to incorporate it into your garden soil - I'm picturing the wet, heavy clay not too near your garden. Since you have heavy equipment there already to dig the pond they could probably use that to bring it over to your garden, but then what would be your process of trying to evenly spread it on your sandy soil and incorporating it nicely? It's going to be sticky, wet, heavy and just, well, clayey, and you'd want to try to distribute it evenly into the soil so you wouldn't end up with sand mixed with chunks of clay.... where there's a will there's a way, but it seems like it would be a not-fun process.
  8. HarlansHollowFarms

    HarlansHollowFarms bana-bhuidseach anns gára

    Jan 16, 2009
    Quote:[​IMG] Hi, I guess I remembered all of that from my undergrad soils I went on to do my work in invertebrate biology!
    Nice to meet you!
  9. jlmann

    jlmann Songster

    Mar 3, 2009
    I think I remember reading somewhere that adding sand to clay soils can actually cause problems because the sand will actually clog the pores in the clay and create drainage problems, but I don't know if this is true for adding clay to sandy soils or not . I would try to get in touch with someone local because they might have experience with soil improvements in your area.Have you thought about getting a load of topsoil brought in? That could be your best option.
  10. kodiakchicken

    kodiakchicken Songster

    Apr 18, 2008
    Kodiak, Alaska
    Raised beds are definitely the way to go. Mixing clay with sand is not recommended. Usually clay + sand = concrete.

    Raised beds don't have to be expensive. Scrap lumber works great. How far are you from the beach? We add seaweed to our compost piles and on top of our garden areas in winter and it decomposes fabulously!

    You might also check out lasagna gardening (google it). My mom does that in Wyoming where all they have is red clay and she's been thrilled with the results. It's a good way to use up your newspapers and stuff too.

    Good luck! You have my complete sympathy. We're on an island that's nothing but black slate and sand.

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