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By Shahida

essex, United Kingdom Gb

Hi, I have very sticky hard clay soil.Over the years it has improved but not a lot. It is waterlogged also. Every plant needs well drained soil so what should I do? Which plants I can grow this type of soil?
I had like a chess board at the end of my garden but nothing was surviving a part from Salix pink so I saved my plants from there.



You've just got to keep on adding organic bulky material to the soil - spent mushroom compost, garden compost, leaf mould - just to break it down. Clay is full of minerals and is good for plants but needs managing. When we first married we moved to a new house which had all the top soil stripped from it. We only lived there for 5 years but managed to break the soil down and had a lovely garden.

14 Jun, 2014


Hi, to improve the soil to a greater depth, which will also help with drainage, google 'double digging', it's not complicated, just hard work, and use the materials Cammomile has suggested, Derek

14 Jun, 2014


Some people like to add some grit to try to help to open it up, if you can't get enough compost. If you have lawn mowings try heaping them on one area that's especially poor over the winter. You can dig in the remains in the spring - it really does seems to rot down quicker like this than in a big heap. Also try a thick winter mulch of dead leaves - run over them first with the lawn mower to speed rotting. (The thrushes and blackbirds enjoy digging in it for worms) This shoudl eb ready for gently incorporating with the topsoil by spring. I've done this with a very poor bed and its improved a lot over the years.

You may want to add a nitrogenous fertilise to compensate for any that's been used up rotting the leaves. If you use sycamore leaves its best not to try sowing seed there for a while as its supposed to inhibit germination.

If nothing helps you may have to consider putting in some land drains or learning to love a bog garden!

Mimulus, yellow flag iris and candelabra primulas like boggy soil.
Try looking at Goypedia under bog garden plants.

14 Jun, 2014


I find chicken poo (pellets) works wonders on clay soil. Worms love it and incorporate it into the soil. Double digging and adding humus as per the above is also invaluable.

14 Jun, 2014


I have the same problem. My clay soil is so dense I could sculpt with it. My way around it was the following which has worked out quite well. For each seeding or planting I piled two bags or more bags of mulch one on top of the other which made a mound on top of the surface-no digging in other than what was required to remove surface growth, grass, weeds...etc.
I then made a depression in the middle of the mound, after compacting it a bit, of the appropriate size and depth for what was required and in that depression I placed bagged garden soil of sufficient quantity and then seeded or planted one mound for each variety of plant, one mound next to the other. The result was better than I would have hoped for. I have built my garden using this method and the growing conditions get better each time I do it. I might say that I established my cottage garden using organic pots which allow for great soil conditions, drainage and weed suppression. By the way, I admire what you have done with your garden.

15 Jun, 2014


how about a pond or bog garden and work with the clay .

15 Jun, 2014


Thank you all. That is helpful.:)

15 Jun, 2014


your welcome

15 Jun, 2014

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