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#29924 May 23rd, 2005 at 09:21 PM
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I was fortunate to move into a house with a well established garden. It's soil is high quality, BUT is also very high in clay content.
I have heard the negatives of tilling, but my space is too large to consider not doing.

++++My Problem? If I till when the soil moisture isn't right, I end up with 1"+ balls of clay. As they dry they are like concrete. Obviously, this situation doesn't lend itself to planting seeds very easily. Does anyone know how to reverse this situation once it happens? I end up raking over and over all summer.
ps: If soil moisture is correct, the soil is like silk and is a perfect planting medium
Thanks for any tips you may have!

#29925 May 23rd, 2005 at 09:38 PM
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Adding gypsum will help ammend a clay soil. Also using lots of compost and other organic matter will help. None of these is a quick fix though. It'll take a season to start to have effect.

#29926 May 23rd, 2005 at 09:49 PM
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Yep gypsum will make the clay behave. Adding sand will also help, JV gave me that suggestion and of course sand found along a stream is a lot cheaper than the gypsum.

#29927 May 25th, 2005 at 12:08 PM
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sand found along a stream is a lot cheaper than the gypsum.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++
unless you count environmental impact as an expense;)

#29928 June 28th, 2005 at 10:54 AM
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Picture of a Broadfork

I have read the same things about rototilling.
It does alot of damage to the top layer of the soil....
and ruins the worm structions that are weaved all
thru the dirt...
and makes the dirt too fine and then thickens
up like clay..*compacted*

Not sure how big and area you have..
But this looks interesting...

A gardener by the name of Eliot Coleman use's one..
and he's a top of the line gardener..
That does alot of gardening in Vermont I think,
all thru the winter even...

#29929 June 29th, 2005 at 08:29 AM
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I bought one of those broadforks once. It's a great tool, but does give you a good work out. I used it for a while till one of the tines broke.

You're right, Weezie. Eliot Coleman uses cold frames, row tunnels and movable greenhouses to garden year round. He used to live in Vermont, but I believe he now lives in Maine.

#29930 June 29th, 2005 at 11:38 AM
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I knew it was up there somewhere's...

But he really is an advocate of that tool..
For getting deep into the soil for aeration
and for water to get down into it....
But it doesn't break up existing worm tunnels,
that deliver nutrients and more finer aeration
to the soil...

I just wish they weren't so expensive...
YIKES...

#29931 June 30th, 2005 at 07:27 PM
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Weezie...that thing looks scary!

#29932 June 30th, 2005 at 08:40 PM
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My husband has a big tiller and I have a Mantis which I love!!!


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