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Clay removed from small area, dug in manure

Today I managed to clear the remainder of (most of) the clay from a small bed (about 1.5m x 3m) and turn the soil down to about 20cm deep. It has taken me about 3 or 4 afternoons... stubborn stuff. Today I bought a couple of bags of aged horse manure from a local horse owner, dug it in, and watered it.

Tomorrow I intend to cover it with some grass clippings from the top of the compost bin, maybe dig those in a bit, and find check out some green mulch to sow. Once it has grown, I'll till it in, dig a bit deeper (to maybe 40cm), get the soil tested, make any adjustments needed, and start growing.

Oh, and the rest of the beds need doing, too. It's the hardest physical labour I've done in a while!


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Comment by Scarlett on July 11, 2010 at 10:40
yes i've always loved the physical labour side of gardening. l've always loved using an axe the most. love that swing, trying to get it in the same place, trying to get a really good solid thunk. satisfying. feels good.

one of my feet is dropping a metatarsal. i think it's from wearing steel capped boots actually. i'm going to try orthotics. lol ! the woes of gardeners :)
Comment by Lissa on July 11, 2010 at 6:20
Ah, you girls give me a good chuckle :))

I stuffed up my right shoulder and had to have major sugery a few years back.......I think it's years of firstly hockey (thwack!!), volley ball and then mattocking and pickaxing over many years lol. I'd do it all over again! The RBH doctors did a good job and I have pretty much full use of the arm back - a bit weaker in the muscle than I was.

I actually really (used to) enjoy pickaxing. But then I loved body building too...something relaxing about the repetition. Can't do either anymore for any length of time, but that's just aging.

Scarlett gives good advice - tighten your abdominals, don't twist, don't reach outside your balance circle.

Nowadays I find other ways to do these elevated garden beds that sit on top of the clay!
Comment by Florence on July 9, 2010 at 21:36
Too late, already have a bad back... not related to gardening though.. But guess all the more reason to have the correct posture :) like the sumo wrestler bit.. I think that's what I do, not only coz my back but also of one of my foot.. *sigh*
Comment by Scarlett on July 9, 2010 at 19:01
yoiks, mattocking is hard work. careful of your back - move like a sumo wrestler, do the pilates clench, never twist whilst bending, and straighten up frequently! bad back is SO bad :(
(and so frequently happens to gardeners..)
Comment by Florence on July 9, 2010 at 15:16
We don't have a crow bar either.. so we use a mattock too.. although Albert sometime would bring out his hammer drill because it's just too hard...
Comment by Vanessa Collier on July 9, 2010 at 14:16
A crow bar would be good because it's thin so not too hard to get into the soil - unfortunately we don't have one : (. Even when I stand on the pitch fork it hardly goes in. I've been using a mattock which is quite heavy for a little person like me. I'm slowly growing some muscles though!
Comment by Scarlett on July 9, 2010 at 13:39
i find a big crow bar to be very useful - you can spear it in and lean back on it to lever the soil up, saves a lot of back strain
Comment by Vanessa Collier on July 9, 2010 at 13:19
I started tackling some of our clay for a new bed yesterday - gave up just after the topsoil! Just had to leave the cut grass on top otherwise I was going to risk new blisters on my hands. Will have to get hubby to earn his keep on the weekend ; )
Comment by Scarlett on July 9, 2010 at 11:34
it's great exercise - great for stamina too - very slow and steady
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on July 1, 2010 at 20:14
>It's the hardest physical labour I've done in a while!
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