How do you handle this bad soil?

robert_82August 5, 2010

My wife and I bought our house a couple years ago, and we are really trying to make an effort to get some plant growth (other than weeds) on our property. But our soil is so hard, literally: it's just about impossible to got out and dig it up without soaking it down for a day.

I guess my question is, what can we do? I understand that hard labor will be involved, but we just don't know where to start. We would really like to plant a couple trees in the coming 2011 Spring.....

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valree3(Nv zone 4)

Do you have access to a backhoe, tractor or rototiller? If you do, use it to break up your soil. Then add lots of compost to your soil and that will help keep it lose. It might be a bit expensive, but for this year you may want to have some topsoil and compost brought in to mix with your newly broken up soil. Dig down 12" or deeper is better. You don't say what kind of soil you have. Clay, rocky, sandy? Compost will help with all soils. Do you have neighbors with horses, chickens or cows? Ask them for the manure and any old grass clippings or hay they may want to get rid of. Mix this all together in small piles and add kitchen scraps (no dairy or meat leftovers to your piles), add water, and let them compost for next years use. You'll need to stir the piles around a few times to keep air in the piles. You may also want to add 'bought' topsoil and add a bit of this to the compost pile to help start the pile to compost. Keep your compost piles small, they are easier to stir and water. Add compost to your soil each year and you'll be able to keep your soil from becoming a solid mess. The Carson City Cooperative extension office has a whole bunch of info. and booklets to help you get started on composting and gardening. Joann Skelly is the area horticulturist and shes really sharp with all gardening stuff. They can help you with plant choices, soil info and composting. There phone # is 887.2252 The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch is a great book and I like the Fine gardening magazine and website for info. on all gardening stuff. Hope I haven't overwhelmed you. Gardening is really fun and some work. Even if you just plant a few trees around your yard, when you get to set under them in a few years and enjoy their shade, its a great feeling!! Good luck gardening!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 12:59PM
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Hey thank you very much! You didn't overwhelm me, in fact i was hoping to get overwhelmed with info. Ill give Skelly a call sometime this week!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 10:51AM
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