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clay soil in orange county: tomatoes

Posted by luv_figs 10 (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 26, 11 at 16:10

hi,
i just moved into a new house in laguna niguel. i had palm trees and a lot of other shrubs in the yard removed, and am deciding whether its worth the expense to build a raised bed or not. the top soil is good, but after 1 foot i see gray clay. i'm interested in planting tomatoes, zuchinni, eggplant, fig trees, and a persimmon tree.

should i be concerned about the clay underneath? if i build a raised bed, i will only be giving it one extra foot of dirt, so does it matter?

thanks!
jenny


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: clay soil in orange county: tomatoes

As long as your soil drains I wouldn't worry about the clay. If you are not sure about drainage, I would do a percolation test. Al


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RE: clay soil in orange county: tomatoes

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 28, 11 at 18:06

Most veggies have their roots in the top few inches of soil. Fig and persimmon are tough trees, perfect soil not required.

The advantage of a raised bed is more in the ease of reaching the veggies when you are in a hurry to harvest for dinner. Also messy veggie plants look a little better encased in a rectangle.

Clay soil is good soil. It retains moisture and is loaded with nutrients. The drawback is that it is very solid and does not allow oxygen to get to plant roots (plant roots need oxygen).

If you mulch at least every year with a thick layer of good compost, in a few years your soil will be superb. Mulch also prevents weeds. Earthworms will pull the compost down into the soil and aerate the soil. Happy plants without the labor of digging.


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