Use clay for creating a moist growing area?

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Use clay for creating a moist growing area?

Postby Hapygdnr » Jan 25, 2010 12:04 pm

In my winter reading/planning for next year, I read that one possible way to make an area for moisture loving plants is to remove the soil from the area you want for the bed and line it with clay, creating a barrier. Then in the process of refilling/planting up be sure to add plenty of organic matter. The organic matter is a given, but I was wondering about the clay. I can't seem to locate any in my area but was thinking that maybe the cheap, box store unscented kitty litter might work, (just the clay with nothing added). Or maybe the pieces might not clump together enough to make an inpermeable layer? I think a pond liner could work too, but would that eventually fail and get holes? I'm not talking about a huge area. But would really want an arrangement that I wouldn't need to re-do down the road. My gardens are all sandy/silty soil and well drained. (Guess it always goes "we want what we don't have.")Or maybe it's the challenge... I don't know... Anyway, if there's anyone with first hand experience or ideas I'd be happy to hear them.
Thanks. Jeanne
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Use clay for creating a moist growing area?

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Re: Use clay for creating a moist growing area?

Postby Gardentoad » Mar 23, 2010 8:28 am

Kitty litter clay wont work to hold the water. The type of clay they use for ponds that will hold water is Sodium Bentonite Clay. I don't know where you could get it in small quantities. I made a small bog area by burying a 50 gallon sized plastic storage bin that I poked holes in the sides about 6- 8 inches from the top. I then filled it with clay soil from my yard and peat moss up to about 2 inches from the top. As it settled I added more. The holes in the sides allow some water to drain so there isn't a puddle forming on top that mosquitos would use to breed.
I then just ringed the top with flat stones. It has been there for 9 years now. I think I will remove it this year, but not because it has failed, I just want to put something else in that spot and I'll put the plants along a stream I built in a different part of my yard.
Never before have so few with so much promised to take away so much from so many and then laugh their asses off as the so many with so little vote for the so few with so much.

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Re: Use clay for creating a moist growing area?

Postby Hapygdnr » Mar 23, 2010 9:36 am

Thanks GardenToad I appreciate your response. It sounds as if that would work for me. A good solution and drilling holes so there's no place for mosquitoes is an excellent idea too. Do you think soil from my yard (sandy/silty ~ say 40%) and the rest peat would work?
Happy Spring! (It is bound to get here sooner or later :wink:) .
Jeanne
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Re: Use clay for creating a moist growing area?

Postby viktoria » Mar 24, 2010 5:49 am

Jeanne, you are talking about a "moist" area and Gardentoad is talking about a bog garden. Are you sure you are talking about the same thing?

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Re: Use clay for creating a moist growing area?

Postby Gardentoad » Mar 25, 2010 1:13 pm

I mispoke. I called mine a bog because I started out with just a tub buried with soil up to about 4 inches from the top and I had standing water on top. The mosquitos were a problem and when I put minnows in it I didn't notice the water dry up on top during August and the fish died. I drilled the holes in the sides the next season so water would not stand in it.

The soil you use depends on what you want to plant. I planted a lotus the first year but after drilling the holes I put in a pitcher plant, miniture cat tails and a japanese iris. The pitcher plant wasnt hardy here so I lost it. Then after a few years the weigla bushes I planted around it and a small tree began to shade the area. It is in full all day shade now. I still have the catails in it and another marginal plant that I don't know the name but does well in the shade. I don't enjoy it as much now. I liked seeing the butterflys "puddle" in it and they stay in the sun more.

I plan to bury another container the same way but in a sunny area. It will be smaller this time with clay mixed with sand on top, one blooming plant and I'll add some molasses for the butterflys.
Never before have so few with so much promised to take away so much from so many and then laugh their asses off as the so many with so little vote for the so few with so much.

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