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ChickenMomma91

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So I live not far from the Missouri River. There is a good chance that at one point my property was under the river, I have some pretty bad clay soil. When we get rain it pools on top and when the draught comes in has huge cracks that I usually have to fill with garden/potting soil from the store. Other than composting the hell out of it what can I do to fix this? Keep in mind that while I’m paying a mortgage it’ll be paid off in a couple years and we hope to have moved to a bigger house and property by the time our daughter starts kindergarten.
 

Beekissed

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So I live not far from the Missouri River. There is a good chance that at one point my property was under the river, I have some pretty bad clay soil. When we get rain it pools on top and when the draught comes in has huge cracks that I usually have to fill with garden/potting soil from the store. Other than composting the hell out of it what can I do to fix this? Keep in mind that while I’m paying a mortgage it’ll be paid off in a couple years and we hope to have moved to a bigger house and property by the time our daughter starts kindergarten.
A 10-12in. layer of mulch hay on the whole thing....by next year you'll see some good things happening there. Meanwhile, it will kill all the weeds and such, get the earthworms working under the hay while eating it, which will make good tunnels in your clay for water to drain off.

Can you get free or cheap waste hay where you live? If not, can you get wood chips, like the kind they generate when clearing power lines and such? Both, when applied nice and deep, can create a better soil for you in a short amount of time and only require work but not much money invested.
 

Ridgerunner

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Other than composting the hell out of it what can I do to fix this?
Not much really. And in your short time period, really not much unless you spend a fortune right now for this year.

How big an area is it? @Beekissed or @baymule what would you think of keeping a pig in it this year and tossing all kinds of straw, hay, grass, weeds, garden refuse and such in there for it to eat or grind into the soil? I'd think if you toss enough organic stuff in there for it to eat or trample into the ground that area could be in pretty good shape next spring if you butcher it this fall. Of course that only gives you one growing season before you move. And a pig is probably not practical for you.
 

flowerbug

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So I live not far from the Missouri River. There is a good chance that at one point my property was under the river, I have some pretty bad clay soil. When we get rain it pools on top and when the draught comes in has huge cracks that I usually have to fill with garden/potting soil from the store. Other than composting the hell out of it what can I do to fix this? Keep in mind that while I’m paying a mortgage it’ll be paid off in a couple years and we hope to have moved to a bigger house and property by the time our daughter starts kindergarten.
save your money, grow a few things you really want in pots this year, take the pots with you when you move. that's the best i can come up with that is economical.
 

Beekissed

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I think building fencing for pigs and having to fool with them would be a tad excessive, both on money, effort and time. I still hold with spreading free or cheap hay, leaves and/or wood chips on that soil and letting the worms integrate it into the topsoil, while also working it up for her. It's the quickest and cheapest way in these parts to getting weed suppression and topsoil all in the same whack. I used to have that very same soil of which the OP describes but I do not have it any longer.

And, while everyone else is having a time getting into gardens because of the heavy rains, I'm having no problem at all...my soil is easily moved, tilled, or dug into after using that hay, layered deep, last season. I'm also not contending with weeds at all...a few here and there(lovely red clover!) easily plucked up by hand out of soil that is soft and deep. Both of those are due to the hay and leaves that are on the garden right now, used as mulch and covering every inch of exposed soil.

Easiest and cheapest way to improve soil and develop a garden spot when one doesn't have a lot of time or money to invest in it.
 

seedcorn

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If a Dairy is near you, they use sand for bedding. Clay & sand need each other but aren’t found together except in premium soils.
I’m with @Beekissed, leaves, straw, bad hay is great use. Only problem is it will hold in moisture which we are blesses with this year. I’m holding off bedding my garden because of it-& fighting weeds....

Great news on getting after mortgage & getting that off of your debt load before kids add to it....you should be proud of that.
 

flowerbug

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the two things i see that may impact how this goes:

- floodland clays may not have any worms at all
(i've had to bring them in here to get the gardens going - i also
provide places for them to hide during the hot and cold parts of
the year).

- takes time which the OP may not have for that location.

yes they can add worms and they can add mulching layers, but for this season those are going to provide limited help for the problem raised.
 

thistlebloom

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I got from the OP's post that she will be there for more than a year.
Three years possibly? I think the deep mulch sounds like a great plan.
 
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