Carmen
Full Member
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:04 pm
Location: SC

is it important to get the clods and rocks out?

I'm in the process of converting a section of yard into a place to plant veggies next year. I did a small section of it (maybe 1/6 of the available space) which took me several hours of hard work. I dug up maybe 5 inches of grass, red clay, and rocks. I seperated most of the rocks out and broke up all the clods (which are almost as hard as rocks). I intend to mix in some composted manure and top soil and cover it with newspaper,then let it sit til next spring. My question is...how nessacary is it to break up all the clods and remove the rocks? It seems to me they would impede root growth. I don't mind doing the hard work as long as it is beneficial!
Last edited by Carmen on Thu May 19, 2011 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

wordwiz
Green Thumb
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:44 pm
Location: Cincinnati

IME, clay only becomes cloddy if worked when it is not dry. If it is allowed to dry completely, you should have a clod larger than a big pebble.

As far as this winter goes, if you are far enough north for any solid freezes (4-6" deep) any clods you create this year will melt by next spring. Another good amendment would be crimson clover. Inexpensive, fixes nitrogen, makes a great winter cover crop, can be mowed and then turned under in the spring, adding lots of organic material to the soil.

I always remove large rocks and even smaller ones (golf ball or larger) when I find them. A few rocks never seem to bother plants.

Mike

Carmen
Full Member
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:04 pm
Location: SC

Thanks for the advice. I like in SC, so it doens't freeze much here (I don't think it would freeze the ground).

TZ -OH6
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2097
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:27 pm
Location: Mid Ohio

You don't have to have perfect soil the first year. I have/had big clay clods and rocks, and no tiller. Most big plants will grow fine in with the big (apple sized) clods and rocks. They send roots into cracks in the clods and help break them up. Things like onions, garlic, lettuce etc might have problems in rough soil. I spade turn the garden spring and fall and let the clay clods dry in the sun for a few days and then whack them with a shovel to shatter them. Rocks dry out faster than the soil so can be easily seen on top a few days after turning. I have paved the walk ways around the plots with the rocks take from my soil, and after three years of picking, the rocks are down to saltine cracker size and there is more soil than clods.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7453
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

It would be ok to remove the rocks when you need a rock to huck at a dog. It is not a big problem. The clods will be broken down by natural means next year. The manure and mulch will benefit that soil immensely.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

DoubleDogFarm
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:43 pm

would be ok to remove the rocks when you need a rock to huck at a dog.
What James meant to say was, "Cat". :wink: My dog would bring it back!

Carmen, Why are we waiting until next year? Plenty of growing season left this year. Giddy-up!

Eric

pickupguy07
Senior Member
Posts: 253
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 7:06 pm
Location: GA

wordwiz wrote:IME, clay only becomes cloddy if worked when it is not dry. If it is allowed to dry completely, you should have a clod larger than a big pebble.

Mike
I can second that...
I tilled up a garden spot for the first time this year.... added in a couple 4 x 6 x 4 trailor loads of horse manure (from stables) Ground got very nice, and I am excited about the planst it is producing.

I did (one time till my soil when it was too wet, and it codded up, and then got "hard as a rock". When it dried out I tilled it again to help solve the problem. So if you live where there is a lot of caly soil (like I do in GA).. never till the ground if it is wet.

My Dad has a garden behind his house... he's been planting it in the same place now for about 10 years... his soil is fine a pebbles. So easy to till, and hoe out weeds.
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
Near Atlanta GA... newbie to gardening & Composting

TZ -OH6
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2097
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:27 pm
Location: Mid Ohio

I'm talking clay, not clay soil. Here it shows up as a layer below the topsoil, and can start from just under the sod to about 9" deep. Dry clay has to be chipped out, moist clay needs to be sliced out. Clods are either dry enough to shatter with a sharp blow or have to be sliced up into smaller clods. Sometimes a big clod will separate into pieces if some roots penetrate the right way.



Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”