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Middle Tennesse Clay...

Posted by arjo_reich 6 (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 26, 07 at 16:14

I recently moved from Southeast Michigan to Antioch, near the Four Corners Marina and I am trying to get used to the soil composition here.

I've tried googling for information about the soil type here and it's basic composition (apparently a combination of rock hard clay and simply rock) but I've not come up with anything definitive.

Anyone care to give me any advice, tips, opinions, links or otherwise useful information about what types of typical amendments are necessary etc.

For example, I had thought that the Doggie Dooley I bought would be useless in the 100% clay soil that I have but someone recently told me that the clay is very well drained and it would work just fine.

That absolutely does not make any sense with everything I know about clay (black) from Michigan.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Middle Tennesse Clay...

The clay is fine and it does drain. I know it doesn't make sense; just go with it. You can add lots of Gypsum to help break it up or go with raised beds.

Come to The Middle Tennessee Plant Swap on May the 19th and I promise that you'll get more excellent info, plants, camaraderie and food than you can possibly fathom!

RE: Middle Tennesse Clay...

I'm going to look up the info on the plant swap and try like mad to make it. Don't have anything to actually swap, but I'm sure it will be fun bumping elbows and whatnot.

I'll tell you though, trying to garden here for this first time is a real educational process. I tried digging that hole for the doggie dooley in the middle of the remnants of an old flowerbed near two young trees and I didn't get down but maybe 10-12" and I hit a solid slab of rock. Not chunks of rock, a single - god knows how big it really is - rock shelf sunnovagun. ::blinks::

It also seems that the pH of the soil all around my property hovers around 5.5 - 6.0 using the soil tester linked below. Guess a couple applications of lime over the next several years is going to be in order.

And don't mind me, the more I fuss over it, the more I love it. ;-p

Still don't know what to do about that doggy dooley though, it needs to be 14" underground and not on top of a rock shelf. ;-/

Here is a link that might be useful: Soil Acidity Tester

RE: Middle Tennesse Clay...

We have the same problem! We were used to very rich soil in southern NJ, and this heavy clay is so different. We topdressed one of the beds in the front of our house with a 3 inch layer of organic compost and that really seemed to soften up the dirt after a few weeks. Another trick we've learned in the past few weeks is to wet any place you're going to dig first, even though it gets a little messy, it does make it easier to dig when the clay feels as hard as a rock.
I read in a gardening book that it's okay to let shrubs sit 2 to 3 inches above the soil line in clay soil to promote drainage, don't know if that would help you with your plant or not.
Good luck!

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