Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Soil Recipe


In Texas we have a clay soil and you'll find many of us gardeners complaining about it at times.  If you're new to this area it can be frustrating and intimidating to tackle the process to make it work.  That was me the first year I tried to garden here.  My kids were little at the time and I just didn't seem to have enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I wanted.  I settled on a rose and herb garden. My kids now can't imagine a meal where herbs are not present.  I'm a firm believer if you want a garden but lack the time then start with herbs.  They offer fantastic health benefits that will keep you healthy!


Throughout the state of Texas you'll find different types of clay as well as ground.  Some areas have a very rocky base making it very difficult for gardening.  Here in North Texas we're blessed, yes we have clay but it's not the end of the world.  You can work with it if you have the right ingredients.

Regardless of where you live, look at your current soil base evaluate your problem area and perhaps this recipe with a few tweaks will work for you too.

SOIL INGREDIENTS - 1/3 clay   1/3 sand 1/3 organic
Now let's talk about each one so you can discover how they all work together.  I'm keeping this simple smart, because when you break it all down it's common sense.


Ingredient #1
Clay is not our enemy; we tend to complain about clay because it sticks to our shoes when it's wet and when you dig a hole it takes every muscle we have.  We think it's endless and give up.  Clay has a purpose but it needs a few more ingredients to make it work.  Many don't understand the difficulty that plants face when trying to grow in clay. The hard clay cripples our veggies plants we like to grow because they have a delicate root base that cannot expand in clay.  What these plants need is a softer dirt consistency so they can stretch and produce. Clay does have value it holds the moisture in the ground which is important when our hot summers arrive.


Ingredient #2
Before I started gardening here we had 2 large dump truck loads of sand delivered.  Our family spread it into our almost 1/2 and acre field.  Why is Sand the #2 ingredient to our recipe?  It allows the moisture to circulate by breaking up the clay.  I didn't believe it until I saw it working and it was amazing.  I grew up in the Pacific Northwest where the soil was amazing to start with.  If you wanted a garden you just dug one up.  Here and other parts of the country you need a work ethic and ingredients to get you going in the right direction.


Ingredient #3
All natural and organic material is a must.  In the picture above I posted llama droppings and piles of dried leaves.  These are just a couple of examples you can add to your soil, this will  increase the nutrient levels. As all gardeners know adding natural material is continuous.  Most gardeners add natural materials during the winter months; I do it year round and it's the key to my success.  I've written a couple other posts on manure and composting that you might want to check out.    Finding Garden Manure  ~ Direct Composting

Gardening is a process like most everything we want to improve on in our lives.  Everything great begins with a good foundation so that we can experience great results.  Even if the weather doesn't cooperate keep nurturing that soil.  In 4 years I've been blessed to experience an amazing transformation in the soil where I live and the effort was worth it, just look at that powder soil in the first photo of this post.



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14 comments:

  1. Well I am inspired, Carole. Thank you very much .

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    1. You're welcome Carrie - Glad you stopped by. So glad enjoyed your visit - Hope to hear from you again. Carole

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  2. Thanks for this simple recipe. We have sand and I bet this will work.

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    1. Awesome! When we spread the sand out we used our tiller to mix it all together and it was neat.. -Carole

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  3. Just pinned this. In SW PA we have wet soil with a layer of clay about 8 inches down. Other than composting, I'm pretty lazy about adjusting my soil. But I need to get better at it. Thanks for sharing at Fridays Unfolded!

    Alison
    Nancherrow

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    1. Awesome hope it helps. I drove to Dallas today and on the way road construction was going on. Piles of clay were being dug up for this new road. I told my daughter that would of been a great picture for my soil post. Course she rolled her eyes at me. Thank for stopping by and sharing! -Carole

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  4. Can't wait to get my hands dirty! Thanks so much for sharing with us on The HomeAcre Hop! I hope to see you again tomorrow!

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    1. I hear ya - I'm so done with winter this year. Thanks for stopping by! -Carole

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  5. Just found your website. Moved to home 6 years ago. here in southwest ohio soil is very tough (clay). We have a wood stove add ashes and most kitchen scraps(other scraps go to friends chickens) directly to garden. Bury kitchen scraps in dirt in the summer. Husband tills it in the spring. the dirt in garden is now not orange but a dark brown. It gets better every year. Husband says very easy to till now.

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    1. That's awesome! You'll enjoy my direct compost post too! I think we forget that establishing grand soil takes time. We have dark clay too and our animals along with kitchen scrap too. We've been here 4 years and to see the change is simply amazing. Thanks for sharing hope you follow! -Carole

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  6. Thanks for the simple recipe that I can use to improve my red clay soil here in Central Texas. Last year some of my plant, the ones the deer didn't eat to the ground, just sat in the hole in a puddle of water. I will now keep your advise in mind when I start on my next garden project.

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    1. You're welcome! The soil is so different all across this state but for the most part we can always count on clay. I was digging holes yesterday in clay for a fence project and trying to wrap my brain around why the soil is so unique through this state. - Will have to ponder that, might have to take a walk back in history to get that answer. -Carole

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  7. Great recipe for great soil! I am definitely going to be using this. Thanks!!

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    1. That's great glad I could help Kirsten - Thanks for stopping by Love hearing from my readers.
      -Carole

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Thank you for sharing with GardenUp green, it's nice to have you here.