New Texas Homesteader

sheilanawrot

Sprout
Joined
Jun 17, 2021
Messages
4
Reaction score
9
Points
3
I am a seasoned gardener (although it took me 8 years to get my garden in my city backyard established), but the homestead we bought has got the godawfulest clay soil! I can't seem to get anything to grow even after adding a garden mix and tilling the area. I hope to find some help here in that regard. Thanks for having me!
 

baymule

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2011
Messages
15,301
Reaction score
20,953
Points
457
Location
Northeast Texas
Where in Texas are you? I’m north of Tyler. My soil is sugar sand. You must have black gumbo clay. I’m well acquainted with it and would much rather have sand! Welcome to TEG!
 

sheilanawrot

Sprout
Joined
Jun 17, 2021
Messages
4
Reaction score
9
Points
3
Where in Texas are you? I’m north of Tyler. My soil is sugar sand. You must have black gumbo clay. I’m well acquainted with it and would much rather have sand! Welcome to TEG!
I am down here in Kenefick (just outside of Dayton) Texas. I keep trying to convince my son (who actually bought the property) that raised bed is the best solution until we can get enough animals to properly fertilize the soil! But he wants none of if. He wants everything to be in the ground.
 

baymule

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2011
Messages
15,301
Reaction score
20,953
Points
457
Location
Northeast Texas
I raised in Houston, lived in Baytown and Livingston, among other places. Traveled up 146 from Baytown to Livingston many a time.

That black clay gets wet and sticks to your shoes. Take another step and your mud overshoes gets bigger. Slick, it can swallow a truck. My husband sunk our truck once, it took a bulldozer to drag the truck out. Then it dries to the consistency of concrete with the added bonus of deep cracks that trip you and twist your ankle when you step in one.

And now you want a garden! LOL The heck of it is that it is fertile and if you can figure out how to deal with it, it will grow a garden.

Humus. Humus is the magic word. Rotten round bales, rolled out. Leaves, animal manures, more leaves!

In the fall, people rake their leaves, bag them up and set them on the curb. Totally awesome! Look at the trees carefully so you don’t pick up bags with those awful Chinese Tallow tree seeds in it. EVERY seed will come up twice and they never die! Anyway, FREE leaves, spread on the garden and till them in.

Got chickens? Dump leaves in the coop and run. The chickens will scratch them to bits, poop all over them and make you compost with little to no effort on your part.

What animals do you have or plan to get?
 

sheilanawrot

Sprout
Joined
Jun 17, 2021
Messages
4
Reaction score
9
Points
3
I raised in Houston, lived in Baytown and Livingston, among other places. Traveled up 146 from Baytown to Livingston many a time.

That black clay gets wet and sticks to your shoes. Take another step and your mud overshoes gets bigger. Slick, it can swallow a truck. My husband sunk our truck once, it took a bulldozer to drag the truck out. Then it dries to the consistency of concrete with the added bonus of deep cracks that trip you and twist your ankle when you step in one.

And now you want a garden! LOL The heck of it is that it is fertile and if you can figure out how to deal with it, it will grow a garden.

Humus. Humus is the magic word. Rotten round bales, rolled out. Leaves, animal manures, more leaves!

In the fall, people rake their leaves, bag them up and set them on the curb. Totally awesome! Look at the trees carefully so you don’t pick up bags with those awful Chinese Tallow tree seeds in it. EVERY seed will come up twice and they never die! Anyway, FREE leaves, spread on the garden and till them in.

Got chickens? Dump leaves in the coop and run. The chickens will scratch them to bits, poop all over them and make you compost with little to no effort on your part.

What animals do you have or plan to get?
I am excited to know that something CAN grow in this muck/cement LOL I had 14 yards of garden soil delivered and tilled it into a 20 x 10 patch my son had dug up. I've got a "Three Sisters" garden trying to grow there. I started the corn and beans in trays and transplanted them. The squash I planted in the mounds from seed. The corn isn't exactly dying but it aint growing. And the beans leaves are turning more yellow by the day. Thing is I don't know how to water because this ground doesn't hold moisture so it always looks dry. I might be overwatering and that's why the beans are yellow??? I don't know. But I hope to learn.

I raised in Houston, lived in Baytown and Livingston, among other places. Traveled up 146 from Baytown to Livingston many a time.

That black clay gets wet and sticks to your shoes. Take another step and your mud overshoes gets bigger. Slick, it can swallow a truck. My husband sunk our truck once, it took a bulldozer to drag the truck out. Then it dries to the consistency of concrete with the added bonus of deep cracks that trip you and twist your ankle when you step in one.

And now you want a garden! LOL The heck of it is that it is fertile and if you can figure out how to deal with it, it will grow a garden.

Humus. Humus is the magic word. Rotten round bales, rolled out. Leaves, animal manures, more leaves!

In the fall, people rake their leaves, bag them up and set them on the curb. Totally awesome! Look at the trees carefully so you don’t pick up bags with those awful Chinese Tallow tree seeds in it. EVERY seed will come up twice and they never die! Anyway, FREE leaves, spread on the garden and till them in.

Got chickens? Dump leaves in the coop and run. The chickens will scratch them to bits, poop all over them and make you compost with little to no effort on your part.

What animals do you have or plan to get?
 

sheilanawrot

Sprout
Joined
Jun 17, 2021
Messages
4
Reaction score
9
Points
3
I raised in Houston, lived in Baytown and Livingston, among other places. Traveled up 146 from Baytown to Livingston many a time.

That black clay gets wet and sticks to your shoes. Take another step and your mud overshoes gets bigger. Slick, it can swallow a truck. My husband sunk our truck once, it took a bulldozer to drag the truck out. Then it dries to the consistency of concrete with the added bonus of deep cracks that trip you and twist your ankle when you step in one.

And now you want a garden! LOL The heck of it is that it is fertile and if you can figure out how to deal with it, it will grow a garden.

Humus. Humus is the magic word. Rotten round bales, rolled out. Leaves, animal manures, more leaves!

In the fall, people rake their leaves, bag them up and set them on the curb. Totally awesome! Look at the trees carefully so you don’t pick up bags with those awful Chinese Tallow tree seeds in it. EVERY seed will come up twice and they never die! Anyway, FREE leaves, spread on the garden and till them in.

Got chickens? Dump leaves in the coop and run. The chickens will scratch them to bits, poop all over them and make you compost with little to no effort on your part.

What animals do you have or plan to get?
We already have chickens, 12 that are nearly 5 weeks old, 4 meat birds nearly ready, and we just hatched 15 babies!!! We hope to get goats and beef cattle by next year (maybe sooner).
 

Cosmo spring garden

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
439
Reaction score
889
Points
157
Location
Zone 7B Northeast Alabama/sand mountain
I agree with baymule, you will need to add lots of organic matter to the soil. We have clay here too and I try not to let the soil stay uncovered. I use leaves, grass clippings, hay, ect. We have been here 5 years and our main garden has ok soil now but has lots of worms!

Good luck! Clay soil is challenging but it is possible to grow in it.
 

flowerbug

Garden Master
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
9,946
Reaction score
10,037
Points
327
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
I am a seasoned gardener (although it took me 8 years to get my garden in my city backyard established), but the homestead we bought has got the godawfulest clay soil! I can't seem to get anything to grow even after adding a garden mix and tilling the area. I hope to find some help here in that regard. Thanks for having me!

welcome to TEG from mid-Michigan.

we have a fair amount of clay as our primary soil/subsoil too. some sand, but not really enough to be a garden loam.

what i do is as little tilling as possible. if i can bring in some sand i will, but mainly the others have mentioned plenty of organic material and i agree.

when it rains a lot i stay off the gardens as much as possible.

raise up areas to get them dry enough to be manageable and dried out enough to plant and to keep the plants from drowning. otherwise i don't like hardscape edges of any kind so i agree with your son. he's smart. you can do everything with a raised bed area without building a thing at all. just pile up the dirt and tamp the sides down a bit and mulch it and that will often stay enough for a season and then the next season if you want to change your plantings you can do so without having to take anything out and they are much easier to take care of over the longer haul.

if you are going to bring in leaves that others have raked it is a very good idea to inspect the bags before taking them to see if there is trash mixed in with the leaves. and if the people have used a power rake they also likely are going to have a lot more weed seeds and grasses in there which can be a pest issue if you don't keep after it. down south i get the idea that the heat is often way too much to encourage a large garden that you have to be out in the hot weather so perhaps only size it for a few hours morning work and that's about it.

in really dry times it helps to keep some water on the garden even if you aren't growing anything actively this will help keep the worms alive and the soil cooler but also prevent cracking. mulch it if you can.
 

baymule

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2011
Messages
15,301
Reaction score
20,953
Points
457
Location
Northeast Texas
I don’t normally use it, but your plants are telling you they are missing minerals and they are hungry. Get some miracle grow for vegetables, mix and apply to your garden. The yellowing leaves are a key sign.
 

Latest posts

Top