This is not because this month of February has been exceptionally dry and sunny that it should not seek to improve the soil of his garden. Especially if it is clay! Because, just as the weather turns permanently to the rain so that it becomes “love”. In other words, it sticks to your fingers, your tools and… your boots, with, as a bonus, the unpleasant feeling of “wading in slush,” as the sang so beautifully Petula Clark in the 60s.

But beyond these inconveniences, you might be doing a poor job, and compromise the exercise of your seed, or the resumption of the planting: salads, spinach, and radishes in the vegetable garden, perennials and shrubs in the flower beds.

“floculer” the clay, the earth will stick less to your boots… 56053318/majivecka – Fotolia Shape a boudin

Why is the soil rich in clay and have this propensity to the “heaviness”? Simply because these tiny mineral particles (the month of 2 microns in diameter), resulting from the degradation of rocks silicatées (mica, feldspar…), have a tendency to form a sticky mass in the presence of water and, conversely, to become hard as stone and will crack when it is sec.

The difficulties begin when the proportion of clay is greater than 30%. A simple way is to mix a handful of moist soil between your fingers to create a coil. If it breaks when you drop it on a hard surface, such as a pavement, the clay content is acceptable, if it remains intact, it is excessive.

‘re not going to discourage you to much!! Because clay soils also have great qualities. Not only are they fertile – they hold water and the mineral elements essential to plant growth, but their flaws can be easily corrected.

“READ ALSO – How to measure the acidity of a soil?

The hollyhock appreciate the consistency of the clay soils. 52057051/Ivonne Wierink – stock.adobe.com

For a start, there’s a way to make your land more flexible , and therefore easier to work with, providing organic material (topsoil, manure, compost), and, if necessary, calcium in the form of lime or lithothamme. The calcium ions (Ca ++) are in fact indispensable to the formation of complex clay-humic that will pass your clays of the state “scattered” (sticky and waterproof) to the state “floculé” (lumpy and porous). The earth then becomes more brittle in the summer when it is hot and dry and more permeable the rest of the time, when it is wet.

The end of the winter, the early spring -in other words, now and until the recovery of the vegetation and the autumn are the ideal times to conduct this type of amendment.

but be Careful not to “add lime” systematically. The operation only makes sense if your ground is acid, with a pH below 6.5 (tests are available in garden centers). The ideal is to raise this indicator up to 7-7,5, but not more. Beyond this, the excess of limestone that will block the absorption of iron and causes chlorosis (yellowing of leaves) in some sensitive plants like the rose bush.

please, be Aware that many plants enjoy soils “consistent”: bergenia, hollyhock, orange tree of Mexico, deutzia, hellebores… there is plenty of choice!

• This article is an updated version of that published on April 3, 2015.

Your appointment “garden” to do (mostly) not to be missed

• 2 to 4 march: 560e frequently asked trees and plants, Lisieux (Calvados).

• Until 3 march: Exhibitions “Pool & garden” and “My house, my desires”, Parc Chanot, Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône).

• Until 11 march: 7th exhibition “a Thousand and one orchids’, a large greenhouse of the Jardin des Plantes, Paris.

• march 12: conference Day on the biocontrol organized by the SNHF “methods for gardening au natural”, Pa Toulouse, Castanet-Tolosan (Haute-Garonne).

• 14 march: Symposium “Boxwood, issues, renewal and renaissance gardens”, the conference centre, Orléans (Loiret).

• march 17: Day of hellébores, trilliums and shrubs, winter Gardens, Berville, La Genevraye (Seine-et-Marne).

• 20 march: “Seed to plant: what are the stakes for our future?” MOOCS organised by the Groupement national interprofessionnel des semences (Gnis) and Agrocampus-ouest. Registration is open (click here).

• 23 march to 8 September: Exhibition “the Gardens, the joys of Val d’oise”, the House of Doctor Gachet, Auvers-sur-Oise (Val d’oise).

• 23 and 24 march: 17th-celebration of plants organized by the Rotary Club Blois Sologne, in the park of the château de Cheverny (Loir-et-Cher)

• Until 29 march: Sessions “to Create and organize my garden” proposed in France by the association Jardinot.

• 29, 30 and 31 march: international Competition of floral art, “Elegance floral”, salle Claude Nougaro, Revel (Haute-Garonne).

• 30-31 march: Week-end “Seeds of solidarity” in Truffaut, at the initiative of the Foundation Georges Truffaut.

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