5 Steps to Amending Native Clay Soils in the Desert Southwest

When amending native clay soils, like the soil we have in the desert southwest. We have a 5 step process to follow. This will allow you to have the healthy soil you need to grow healthy and productive plants.

1. Flood the area to be planted. This helps leach out unwanted salt build up.

2. Remove any weeds, grass and any unwanted vegetation. When it’s flooded it makes it a little easier to pull those unwanted things out. You can even use a rake to pull some of those things out.

3. Allow the area to dry to a workable state. This means the soil crumbles a little bit. Never work the soil when it’s super wet or saturated with water. A good test is when you step on the soil and it leaves an indentation. If you work the soil at this state you are killing off the microbial activity that is already in your soil. If it isn’t drying out fast enough you can add gypsum to the soil.

4. Work the soil 12-inchs to 18-inches to loosen the soil and add air into it.

5. Add in compost and fertilizer. Well composted leaves, grass clippings, sawdust, vegetable scraps are all good to add to the soil. When it’s well composted you won’t be able to recognized what it was that was composted. Avoid manure if you are planning to plant immediately. We recommend a Kellog Amend or N’Rich type products. Top with about 2 – 12 inches of composted mulch to help reduce unwanted seed growth.

Keep in mind that organic matter should be at least 1/3 of the final mixture that you use to amend your soil. You can learn more about this in our Agriscaping Mastery Program (AMP) membership. To learn more or to sign up to become a member you can visit https://agriscaping.com/diy-mastery/