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kappydell

gardening in clay?

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i'm fixing to move down to Georgia (zone 8, between Atlanta and Macon) and altho the gardening season is longer and the weather nicer for gardening than Wisconsin, the soil will be an issue.

heavy clay, with rock below.

we are planning raised beds for the annual gardens, but fruit trees & shrubs might be problematic.

any hints from you southern ladies?

 

from what I have researched, some things tolerate clay soil better than others (apples, Chickasaw plums, pears) but I'd kill for a couple dwarf peach trees!

 

can this be done?

 

 

btw, the camillias are gorgeous here, i'm definitely planting a coupla those. us D. Yankees (lol) are mesmerized by shrubs that bloom in january

 

 

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Kappy...there's a couple of youtube channels that you might want to check out. Big Bear Homestead (I think they're in Georgia) and Deep South Homestead (they're in Mississippi).

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Thank you! I will definitely have to check those out. Meanwhile, in researching those camellias, I discovered that one of the (camellia Sinensis) is the plant all tea comes from. Talk about edible landscaping! Processing does not seem all that hard, the experimentation will be fun. Should make a good barter item as well.

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Our soil is heavy clay. The natives used the dirt to make the adobe structures in our area.

 

For my garden, I hauled in river sand and mixed it in, along with a lot of mulch. FIL did the same for his soil in TX.

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We are thinking raised beds, and the absolute FIRST thing I do garden wise WILL be to start a compost bin. Mulch wont be hard; there are so many trees & overgrowth that I'm thinking it will be worth buying a chipper. Then we can mulch walking paths with the new chips and shred plant material for faster composting.

 

BTW I found a great PDF on raising & hand processing tea - https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/nph-9.pdf

Edited by kappydell

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My research continues.  I have been looking at gypsum as a soil amendment.  Near as I can tell, it binds up some of the teensy slick clay particles to stick together and creates more air spaces in the formerly impermeable clay soil.  You spread it on with a grass seed spreader, it goes right over existing vegetation, then you water it in. According to the studies I read, in three years use there should be a noticeable loosening up of the soil.  Used with good compost it would appear to be my answer. So far, anyway.  The best info on gardening in this general area so far has been courtesy of Southern Exposure Seed Co catalog, regarding cultivars and local disease issues...I'm wondering if the purchase of a metal tube bender for hoop house hoops would be a good investment for "winter" gardening (around $50 for the bender) since handling low hoops might be too awkward for me now.  hmmmm.  more research needed.....

   

Edited by kappydell
misspellling

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Also, if you till in lots of oak leaves and pine straw, they create more humus as well as aerating the soil.  You first need to run over the piles of leaves and needles SEVERAL times with your mower if you want them (especially the pine needles) to decompose at all, but you will be thrilled at the minerals available in clay soil, and how they translate to tasty vegetables. 

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