Help required please...drainage

Laura Penstemon
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Laura Penstemon
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Joined: 6:05 AM - Oct 11, 2002

8:19 PM - Oct 18, 2003 #1

OK now I might be a little dense, but I am confused. I want to improve the drainage in my almost solid clay soil. I have compost to dig in, but what else should I use.
I wandered rather aimlessly round B&Q this evening and saw some 'coarse grit'. They were selling tiny bags of the suff for 1.48 each. If I got enough to do my whole new border it would cost me and arm and a blooming leg. I eventually bought some sharp sand, more in desperation than anything. Will this do the job?
Thanks
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PauleneS
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8:44 PM - Oct 18, 2003 #2

Laura
Forget Garden Centres when you need large ammounts of sand or grit or gravel. Its just so expensive.
Check out local builders merchant, will prob cost around as much for a big load as it will for 10 small bags.
And you can either get it delivered, or take bags and fill them. I just got the equivalent of about 30 of those bags of sand for 3, they even provided some nice stong plastic bags.
Just an opinion...ok?
Paulene
ps Just remembered, one anniv OH bought me (at my request) 3 tons of sharp grit for our horrid clay soil, cost around 30, delivered on front drive.
Worst bit was barrowing it round back, but WHAT a diff it made once it was dug in
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Laurel360
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8:46 PM - Oct 18, 2003 #3

Pens
Sorry about this, but a friend (Myrtle, as it happens) has a garden on clay and she has put literally tons - or even tonnes - of stable manure, cow manure and poultry manure - yes, and grit on it. It just disappears. She does grow some very good stuff but it's hard work.......
I'd move if I were you
Laurel
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David
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9:10 PM - Oct 18, 2003 #4

Great advice above and I'm sure Laurel's friend will be seeing a benefit for her efforts despite the fact that breakdown of the organic matter is rapid. Good composting will provide annual supplies of material to help out also.
I would just add not to overlook the autumn digging of any open areas and a liberal application of ground limestone which will aid the breakdown of the clay lumps ....... dig and do not attempt to break down but leave as rough as possible and hope for some frosts which if they do occur will certainly help out.

David - Cumbria - UK
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Laura Penstemon
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9:16 PM - Oct 18, 2003 #5

Thanks troops good advice I'll put the house on the market tomorrow!
Seriously I'll check out the builders merchants next week. Trouble is the ground is so hard, due to lack of rain, that digging will be a nightmare. Could hire a rotivator I suppose (more expense ). Frost may happen, but not many of those her (in South Devon).
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C.A.
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11:23 PM - Oct 18, 2003 #6

We bought horticultural grit from a builder's merchant (they called it something else but knew what I wanted) and they delivered it in one of those huge bags which need a crane to lift. We've been digging it into our borders for 18 months and it is gradually making a difference . . . but I would love to get the bag off our front lawn . . . its not the prettiest sight!!!
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lilylover
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12:53 AM - Oct 19, 2003 #7

My house was new when we moved in so you can imagine.....builder cemetary and hard clay!
I have dug clay out and built a pond from it, had drains layed and incorporated new topsoil and a mountain of compost.
I reckon my garden is at least a foot higher than 1991
But I'm getting there.
Good advice about the builder's merchants as well.
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PaulineM
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9:37 AM - Oct 19, 2003 #8

My clay (really heavy sodden stuff alternating with brick-hard!) had compost and sand dug in when it had it's 'makeover' - and things are growing! Even on the soggiest, darkest side of the garden. I do try to choose plants that don't mind clay, though.
Trouble is when you're looking for plants that like clay but that slugs don't like - it doesn't half narrow-down the choice!
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