Loosening compacted soil

by Anita
(Stephentown, NY)

During construction of our house the workers parked in the area where I am now trying to create a flower bed. The soil is VERY compacted because of all the truck traffic. Will adding a lot of compostable materials on top of the area loosen the soil naturally over time or will I need to be more aggressive about loosening it? Is there a cover crop that would help loosen the soil?


Comments for Loosening compacted soil

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Sep 03, 2013
loosening compacred soil NEW
by: bill t

Anita, you will need to dig it over. Sorry, that is the bottom line. Is it possible to get a mecanical digger in to turn the soil over to get you started. Cheers Bill T.

Sep 17, 2013
How to loosen compacted soil NEW
by: ~ Megan

Bill is right, it sounds hopeless if it's been driven over and is very compacted – just got to dig it.. if you can… or pick axe it!

That's if you want to plant with the ground at the level it is now. Otherwise you can build a raised bed garden and put in good soil so you can plant straight away.

If you can wait for at least half a season or more, you can layer organic materials the no dig way, see building a vegetable garden and plant into it as it rots down. Borrowing a few handfuls of someone's compost worms and putting them in your plot will help with the breaking up of the compacted layer. Keep adding layers and/or compost and soon the bugs, worms and roots will break up and incorporate the soil in your garden.

Most cover crops, eg: clover, legumes, don't have really long roots to break up soil deep down, but they are excellent to provide nitrogen, and of course bulk and eventually compost.

I have been sent a recommendation recently (get a lot of things to look at or try) about a new contraption for no-till gardening. You might like to have a look and see if it would be your cup of tea. I have no idea of its worth, so do let us know back here if you give it a go please. Go to ezdigger

Dec 22, 2013
Establishing a garden on a building site NEW
by: Les Boucher

As Megan has already said you basically have two options. Beg ,Borrow a mechanical device to turn your ground over or, build raised garden beds.

Being basically lazy ... LOL....I would go for the later option. I try to work with what I have so, look at it this way, once you have your gardens in position your next task will be to put in some paths. If you were to go with the Raised Bed Option you have saved yourself a step (and money)in having to compact the soil on which you will be placing your paths.

If you choose to go the way of digging your soil over - and here I'm making an assumption that it is compacted clay/builders rubble - you will need to get hold of some Dolomite Lime and spread that around according to the instructions as it will help to break up the clay.

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