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Recently planted Veggies in Clay Soil


I recently planted a vegtable garden in our new house and while planting discovered that our soil is clay. At the time I didn't think much of it and continued to plant the tomatos, peppers, basil, peas, squash but after looking online I found that it seems my plants are doomed. That once their roots grow past the hole that was dug for them and filled in w/ good soil and compost that the roots will not be able to penetrate the clay. What do I do know that my plants are already in the ground? Do I dig them up and make bigger holes? Do I let them go and hope for the best? We are planning on making raised beds for our garden later this summer, we just didn't have time right now since we just moved in last weekend. Is there anything to save my veggies?

Thank you for your help!

Cool Member
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:16 pm
Location: Los Angeles

I would dig "Around" your plants and add a lot of compost. I'm sure you know now that it would have been better to till the whole row before you planted but that is the best fix I can come up with, but there are a lot of guys here with more knowledge than me.

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7447
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

that the roots will not be able to penetrate the clay.
Hmmmm, don't be so sure. Roots have an amazing capacity to penetrate soil, even clay soils.

How was the soil to dig in. Could you easily make a hole to plant in? If you didn't need a pick to dig a hole, stop worrying.

Clay is not all bad. It holds lots of water and minerals. Soils of up to 20% clay are actually better than sandy soils.

Senior Member
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Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 8:43 am
Location: Jefferson Co., Arkansas

I would just check the drainage of the soil. If the clay soil drains well after a heavy rain or watering, I wouldn't worry about it.

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

I have nothing but clay and rocks well that and the compost I have added. But even before the compost I had a garden that grew alright. That was mid summer when when we moved here after tilling up an area of grass.

You will be fine but adding organic material every year can't hurt.

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