March 2019 Meeting of the Ashdon Gardening Club
Geoff Hodge spoke about gardening on chalky clay soil (and other types of soil)
Geoff Hodge provided members with another entertaining and informative talk about the advantages and disadvantages of gardening on different types of soil. Ashdon's gardens have a mixture of soils from heavy clay to chalky clay and sand.
Anything and everything can be grown in good clay soil because it has an inate fertility but in summer it cracks and in winter the ground is a quagmire. The problems can be overcome by adding bulk organic matter such as composted bark. Sharp sand or a flockulating agent like lime, gypsum or calcified seaweed can also be added but not peat compost. Any material enhancement should be topped up regularly. A large hole should be dug when planting and a fork should be used rather than a spade because the latter compacts the clay sides.
Most plants do well on chalky clay soil which is alkaline. Nutrients can be neutralized by using sulphur chops and thick mulching (3 inches) can rectify a multitude of problems. However, rhodendrons and ericaceous plants do not thrive on this type of soil.
Geoff then took us through ideal plants for clay and chalky clay soil.