Clay soil is what we’re working with in Okinawa. In addition to our potted flowers, I am considering planting in ground this year.

In ground gardening could be a huge risk for a newbie since clay soil can be very hard to plant in successfully. However, I’ve been researching online and have found a glimpse of hope for our upcoming clay planting endeavors.

Here’s a few helpful links I’ve found on clay soil and how to amend natural dirt. Hopefully I can use a few of these tips to make our soil suitable for planting flowers.

Gardenzine.co.uk – How to Improve Heavy Clay Soil

In the above article I learned I may not need an expensive soil testing kit, but rather I could test at home with only a glass jar and water. (see article for a visual description of how the soil should separate and settle)
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Top Soil Sample
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Bottom Soil Sample

I attempted to do this home soil test. Unfortunately I didn’t have any glass jars (recycling had already picked up). So I substituted plastic Glad containers with lids. The first bowl is surface top soil. I dug about 6″ down to get heavier soil for the second bowl. The article did not say to do this, but I was curious enough to do my own experiment. I assumed that the lower the soil, the heavier the clay.

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Added water. Shook it up til muddy. Labeled the lids and waited for the clay to settle.

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There looks to be no separation whatsoever. Only clay at the bottom, water in the middle, and a few floaties on top in both bowls! Either I did something wrong, the plastic affected the test, or our soil is nearly 99% clay (which is unheard of!). Of course it’s not a scientifically proven percentage. Merely a guess based on what I’m seeing.

eHow.com – Plants That Grow Well in Clay Soil

Based on the above soil test, I may be better off just planting flowers that are proven to grow in clay soil.

Finegardening.com – Improving Clay Soil

May need to buy some stinking manure. I wish I had started a compost pile last year. I think back on all the rotten veggies and used coffee grounds thrown in the garbage. Newspapers and old cardboard that we’ve recycled. All of these things and more can be used for compost to help improve soil.

WildflowerInformation.org – flowers listed by soil requirements

This last link has a list of wildflowers and the types of soil they will grow in. I only found a few of the seeds that I have listed, but nonetheless a good go to for future reference.

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