I have a dirty question,lol.....

booboobolhuis(7, Oklahoma)August 23, 2010

Hi there,

Glad I got your attention! I need to know how to make my Oklahoma City red clay soil into nice useful garden soil for my new flower bed. I need to know what to use and information on proper mixing of what you tell me to use. Keep in my I do not have a compost pile. Also, this bed right now is nothing but dried, hard as concrete red clay. Any suggestions?


Jennifer :)

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bigred(z8 Ark.)

Best advice...start a compost pile...if you can't,see if you have a local re-cycling center that does compost. The water ut.co. in next town over from me has one and you can get a cubic yard(truck load)for $10.00.They also offer wood chips($5.00 per c.yd.) but they decompose quickly so I use it as winter mulch to turn into the bed for the next spring's compost. Second...don't burn or put leaves (and/or pine needles) out for pick up. Mow over them then use them for winter mulch then in spring,turn them into soil.Gypsum helps break up/soften clay. You can also use peat...sparingly because too much and allowed to dry out will be near impossible to re-wet.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 7:24AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Hi Jennifer,

Here is a good FAQ at the Soil and Compost Forum...Creating A New Bed Without Tilling.

I did a search there (using the search box found just below the list of threads there on page one) and found some good info on

You might also check out that forum, as there are a lot of helpful folks there helping others with hard as a rock clay.

Good luck.

For starters you can throw all your kitchen waste, ie veggie peelings, coffee grounds, etc (no meat or dairy though) right on the area that will be your new bed. Amending the soil and making it more workable is not an exact science, but once you have good workable, well drained soil, you can then consider getting the soil PH tested and adjusting it, if need be.


Here is a link that might be useful: Soil, Compost and Mulch

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 9:50AM
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booboobolhuis(7, Oklahoma)

Ahh...good to know. I had no idea about the recycling centers. I'm going to look into, thank you bigred for the information.

Sue-You are always a wealth of knowledge and I appreciate the input you always give. I am on my way to see what is listed on the links. :)

Thank you both again,

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 10:06PM
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Being an Okie, there's probably a few horses not too far away. I use the manure in my compost, I gather lawn waste from neighbors with not so perfect yards( to avoid herbicides in the mix). Horse manure might have some weed seeds in it, but I haven't had too much of a problem with it. I've added it right into my garden beds- I try to get the manure from the bottom of the pile b/c its already decomposed and doesn't stink.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 10:41PM
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You might try Lasagna Gardening - you create the bed you want in place by layering newspaper or cardboard, grass clippings, peat moss, mulch etc and just keep on layering until you have the depth you want. Worked on the front flower bed at my house where I have top roots and not easily workable soil.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 12:22PM
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Soil is made up of 3 constituents: clay, organic matter, and sand. Add the organic matter first and the sand third. The reason being that clay and sand make concrete.

If you live in a town or near your neighbors don't throw kitchen scrapes in the garden as you will attract pests and upset neighbors.

So if you don't have a compost pile you will need to buy the compost. Do not buy garden soil as it can be made up of anything and probably will not help your situation.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 6:34AM
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