Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Home & GardenGarden & Landscape · 10 years ago

CAN PLANTING POTATOES BREAK DOWN CLAY SOIL?

MY SOIL IS VERY HARD CLAY. I WAS TOLD YEARS AGO THAT BY PLANTING POTATOES IN CLAY SOIL THAT IT WILL BREAK DOWN THE SOIL. DOES ANYONE KNOW IF THAT IS TRUE? IS THERE ANYTHING TO BREAK DOWN CLAY SOIL WITHOUT A LOT OF DIGGING AND WORK? MY BODY IS PAST THE POINT OF LOTS OF HEAVY WORK. CONSTRUCTIVE ADVICE WOULD BE APPRECIATED.

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  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    According to this blog, yes

    http://www.gardenrant.com/my_weblog/2007/08/its-to...

    My garden's like this too and I have just been growing what I want in pots and growbags - lazy option, I know! But I have lots of family work and study responsibilities and can't spare the time to dig and dig. Good luck

  • 10 years ago

    Before adding ANY lime or other chemical amendment to your soil, have a soil test done. Most of the time clay soils are high in alkalinity. Adding lime will make it more so. A pH test will tell you if you need to add lime to the soil.

    To help break up clay, you would add gypsum to the soil. Unfortunately, breaking clay requires digging. The best thing to use is compost tilled into the clay. The organic matter binds to the clay making it more crumbly and adds pore space. Perhaps you could hire a neighbor kid to rototill the garden with good compost and gypsum.

    Or a better solution, since you are older and don't want to be bending down as much; is to build raised beds. You can add good soil to the beds and won't have to bend over as far to weed or harvest your bounty. You can make the beds as deep as you need. I would not make them any wider than 3 feet across though. This allows you to reach everything in the middle of the bed.

    Source(s): Horticulture student. I just aced my Soil Science class this semester. I also have a ton of horse manure composting in my bins.
  • 10 years ago

    It worked for me . I have a clay based allotment .I was so fed up of digging ,on the last ' chunk " , i just made rough holes with a fork & chucked in chitted potatoes & chucked the lumps of mud back on top , used compost to cover the plants as they grew & it worked a treat ! This year the peas are growing well on that spot .I am going to put some green manure in this year as that is also supposed to help with clay soil . All the best .W.

  • reggie
    Lv 6
    10 years ago

    Potatoes will help to break up the soil but first dig some well rotted manure and sand into the soil. I had to do this in March on a new bit of vegetable patch and the borrowed rotavator made all the difference.

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  • 4 years ago

    I bought a product called soil building compost. I had previously added cow manure and it worked ok for a year. But the second year it still had too much clay. This is suppose to break down the clay. I got mine in a 3 cubic foot bag. You just add 3 inches of it to your top 6 inches of soil. So far so good. It improves drainage also.

  • 10 years ago

    My soil is heavy clay. I incorporate about 1/3 by volume of sand and humus, plus add all the clean decomposed organic material I can find. From then on you should have no problems with it and it will be nice and easy to work with. The initial work and investment will be costly but for the long run, it is well worth it.

    Source(s): Done that.
  • Owen
    Lv 5
    10 years ago

    Yes it will help, but I am afraid it will involve digging. You will have to prepare the ground to plant them , if you could get some dung with straw in it and work in would help. It doesn't have to be worked very fine for potatoes. It's the preparation, hilling them up and digging your potato's that helps break down the soil.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    yes they can, because you have to hill up the potatoes as they grow.

    there is another way, it is called clay buster, a type of lime, it works well , also as the soil breaks down add compost. see your garden shop about the lime , tell him it is for breaking clay

  • 10 years ago

    i thought earth worms were the best things at breaking down soil... its worth a try :)

  • 10 years ago

    Using garden lime or dolamite works fine

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