Grow Q&A: Growing in Clay Soil

Dear Dan, Is it possible to grow marijuana in clay ground. And if so, any tips on doing so? Thanks for any help you can give me on this matter. – Sheila 419

Dear Sheila,
Growing in clay soil comes with several challenges but can be accomplished through an aggressive compost-mixing program over time. Clay soil is severely compacted, making it difficult for roots to spread, and also retains water, creating soggy conditions that slow and rot root systems before they have a chance to recover. On the bright side, clay soil contains plenty of minerals as well as macro and micronutrients that can be released when the soil is properly amended.

To amend the soil, add a heaping pile of compost (5-6 inches at least) and work it in as deep as possible with a shovel or pitchfork. Repeat this process for several years and you’ll find the soil becoming much more porous and fertile.

After those first few years of amendment, shift over to “sheet compost” by piling a few inches of compost and manure on top every fall after you harvest and let the worms do the digging for you. They’ll come up for a tasty treat and then dig back down for winter, leaving you with well-tilled organic loam, dark with minerals and brimming with beneficial microbial activity and life.

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