How To Boost Your Clay Soil Drainage

We know how tough it is for those who do not have a soil to grow a plant of their choice, just for a single reason – the soil they have does not drain quickly. The crisis depends if somebody has clay soil in his or her kitchen garden. Why do they have a poor drainage?

Well, the reason is layering, which means abrupt changes of the soil layer that makes tough for the water to move inside. That’s what happens with clayey soils. What could be the possible way or how to improve clay soil drainage?

Moreover, clay soil has a bad reputation. In winter, they slowly turn sodden and take a longer time to warm up in the spring season, and by summer, it is already concrete. The fine particles stick so close to each other that it leads to poor aeration and has a poor root growth as well.

how to improve clay soil drainage

To improve the clay soil drainage back breaking and some other expensive suggestions are the way out. It is all about replacing the friable loam. However, it is not the same story for all the gardeners. The clayey soil is rich in nutrients that are not completely lost by leaching and it retains moisture in the dry weather. You just need to do a little bit of research and find out the best way to tackle and boost clay soil drainage.

If you are facing a similar problem like me, then no need to fret. You simply need to treat the soil with the right materials to improve the drainage and help the clay soil to retain the right proportion of water in all seasons.

Tools And Materials You Need To Improve Clay Soil Drainage

Now, there is a big question how will you improve clay soil drainage and what will be the right tools to employ? In order to improve the soil structure of your kitchen garden, here is a list of tools that you can use when you are working on the clay soil

  • You need organic mulches – composts and highly old manure, straw
  • You might need a cart or a wheelbarrow
  • A shovel
  • A rake
  • Buy some cover crops like Rye, Oats or Clover

Step-By-Step Guide On How To Improve Clay Soil Drainage 

The most important thing that you need to know is the difference between the soil structure and the soil texture. Soil texture is actually the proportions of silt, sand, & clay in the soil, which one cannot alter. On the other hand, soil structure is something that is a subject to change, because it depends on how soil particles collaborate.

You Need To Add Organic Materials To The Soil

improve clay soil drainage

Do you know that you can improve it by simply adding finest compost to the soil? This, in turn, helps to create large pores in the soil providing both air & water more space to pass through. You must try to add at least 2 to 3 inches of finished and refined compost to the beds and integrate them deep inside with the help of shovel or fork.

Mulching Is Yet Another Solution

how to improve clay soil drainage

We were talking of finest compost in the above paragraph. Another thing, which you can add, is mulch. From bark shreds to coffee grounds, mulch adds humus. As the clay particles coagulate together near the hummus so the drainage, get a large scope to improve their aeration.

Dig slowly into the top soil or let the worm work for you in return. However, you need to keep adding mulch layers from time to time, as they break down and mixes with the soil faster.

Make Sure That You Avoid Compaction

how to improve clay soil drainage

If you are walking on a sodden soil and then you want to dig it, then the things just get worse. If you find the thing important, rest some planks over the bed and distribute over a larger area gradually. You can also place stepping-stones so that the areas not required for planting does not turn compact.

Use Cover Crops

how to improve clay soil drainage

This is one of the conventional methods to ensure soil enrichment and improve the drainage. The crops such as clover or oats are not grown until maturity. We plant the cover crops, tilled and dug them again before the seeds come out. Some good crops help to improve the soil drainage by breaking the soil with the roots, which acts as a green manure as well.

Important To Lay Down A French Drain

how to improve clay soil drainage

Do you know moving water downhill is one of the conventional and the best process to improve clay soil drainage? Thus, it is important to locate a downward slope in the garden. If you’ve a flat they try to consider a trench with 1 to 3 percent of a gradual slope and fill up the bottom with pebbles and just to keep the water from the problem zone.

Drill Through A Hard Clay Layer

You need to dig or drill the hard clay layer, the hardpan that developed as a result of excessive mining and construction. If you are having a clay layer soil of more than 2 to 3 inches, then you need to double bug to keep the soil healthy.

It Is Important To Grow Tolerant Plants

how to improve clay soil drainage

You will come across some great herbs like clivia, hostas, paeonies and daylilies, which like to grow up in the slightly acidic and nutrient heavy clay soils. As a bonus, they are not going to spread things so fast, so there is less requirement of dividing.

Plants like Roses, Hydrangea, Philadelphus, and Viburnum. Including other plants together will help to break up the soil and grow it more friable for the next vegetables without any hassle.

Note: You can also add Gypsum to the clay soil as it comes jam-packed with features. You do not need it every year, but it’s a good source of increasing salinity in the soil.


You just need to remember that clay soil takes time. You cannot expect some of the best remarks as always. What you can feel to do for yourself is follow the above-mentioned steps and track down the changes and improvement done the years.

We know that amending clay soil is a tough task. You might take years to overcome the problem. You need to keep on adding compost, grow mulches or dig deep inside. But if you are tilling fresh organic contents, like the cover crops wait for a few more weeks before the thing fully corpses.

If you find out that, you do not have the desired time and taking care of the clay soil requires a huge investment of time. You can also take the path of the raised beds on top of the clay soil. In addition, they are one of the quick improvement processes and whatever step you must choose to fix the soil drainage problem, make sure that you must choose the best.

What do you think, what are these successful ways to fix clay soil? Do you have any more ideas or experiences? How are you tackling the clayey soil? Do share us in the comment below your opinion and verses and let readers enjoy to the brim.

how to improve clay soild drainage

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