Fun With Bad Clay

Grati, · Categories: How I Grew It, Vegetables, Wildflowers
Bad Clay Doing Its Thing.

Bad clay doing its thing: here’s a section of unamended, unplanted clay during a long dry spell.

I live on a hill covered with bad clay, and have read that a whole lot of work must be put into soil amendment to grow anything in it.  That’s not necessarily true; field peas and wildflowers will grow in anything, even if mixed in with a lot of weeds and grass.  As for growing anything else, I like to think I’ve been given an endless supply of in-ground clay planters.  I dig out sections of clay about eight inches deep, a foot wide, and three or four feet long; add several inches of water, then fill with a mixture of potting mix and peat moss, as well as adding a buried fertilizer strip (reminiscent of planting an EarthBox).  I add my plants, keep them watered, and they grow like crazy. I also use my bad clay as a sculpting medium; with it, I shape “pseudo-terraces” shored up with paving stones set in a clay channel. The stones dry in place, giving me terraces that help with the conservation and channeling of water.  Here’s the slideshow showing how I do it:

The next slideshow shows steps involved in setting up an extension between terrace one-east and terrace one-west.

  • Doing the layout for linking terrace one east and terrace one west
    I'm linking the east and west sections of terrace one. I have placed paving stones flat on the ground to mark off where the terrace border will be.