How to improve soil

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Puddleduck
Tom Good
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How to improve soil

Post: # 208285Post Puddleduck »

What is the best way to improve poor soil? We've got a really heavy clay type that gets really waterlogged and not much will grow properly in it as it's too dense. I'm going to try digging in some manure/compost in a few weeks to get some nutrients in for next year, but really need to know how to make it a bit more managable. A friend advised me to dig in some sharp sand and then leave it for the winter to let the frost do the work, but I was wondering if anyone else had some more idiot proof and realtively quick things to do that might help?

oldjerry
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Re: How to improve soil

Post: # 208294Post oldjerry »

Well it depends on what you want to grow.Most soil is not so lousy thatits not improvable,but your in a hurry and you want to grow some veg soonas right?Heres what I would do: Get some condemned scaffold planks or armco or similar and make some raised beds.Put these on top of what ground you have.Fill up with compost, spent mushroom compost composted manure etc. whatever you've got,and grow veg in these.Make other similar beds for soft fruit.Pit plant your topfruit. If you dont like the appearance of raised beds,in a few years time you can ditch the bed sides and just dig or rotovate your whole plot. Best wishes .

MKG
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Re: How to improve soil

Post: # 208312Post MKG »

Oldjerry's absolutely spot on. And while you're happily growing things in the raised beds, get as much compost and manure dug into the rest of the ground. It's not quick unless you have a whole lot of compost, but then you would need a whole lot of sharp sand or grit to do the same thing. It's all a matter of either time or huge volume additions - so why waste time or money adding inorganic stuff?

Mike
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Tru&Ad
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Re: How to improve soil

Post: # 208363Post Tru&Ad »

muck, compost, muck, compost, muck, compost

repeat ad infenitum !!!!
I started out with nothing and I've got most of it left !

If it's not on fire it's a software problem !

Do I have to ?????

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frozenthunderbolt
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Re: How to improve soil

Post: # 208419Post frozenthunderbolt »

Apply gysum to help breakdown the clay
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Flo
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Re: How to improve soil

Post: # 208650Post Flo »

Add patience as you won't improve good clay at once. Start off adding muck and compost. Repeat annually or as often as you can gain muck and compost. It's taken me four years to get somewhere with half of my allotment where you could have made bricks from the clay but it still grows stuff in the meantime.

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Re: How to improve soil

Post: # 208662Post Green Aura »

Grow spuds, they'll help to break up the clay. Mind you'll have spuds growing there forevermore :roll: :lol:
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Puddleduck
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Re: How to improve soil

Post: # 208727Post Puddleduck »

Thanks Guys, I'll be getting lots of manure shortly to mix in with my 3 year old compost, so I'm really hoping I'll be able to grow something other than weeds and Broccoli (which doesn't seem to mind the soil) next year.

Jack
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Re: How to improve soil

Post: # 210312Post Jack »

Gidday

Well what I would do is get me some bales of straw, put them where you want your garden, cover them with some form of high nitrogen manure or fertilizer then water it and keep it all moist. It will heat up and you just keep it damp till it cools down enough to plant straight into it. I have grown all sortsa vegies this way.
Cheers
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grahamhobbs
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Re: How to improve soil

Post: # 210343Post grahamhobbs »

Has anyone heard of this. A new person on our allotments is importing and spreading 'ancient' clay over her plot, barrow load after barrow load. She is supposedly very organic and I'm told this is recommended by some organic association, but the clay has to come from where a house is being underpinned, where it is old and dry.
I find this strange, I can't see what this 'old' clay has that ordinary clay (which incidentally is about 12" or so down under our topsoil and must be equally as old but wet), doesn't have. And even if they was some extra mineral content, why would you want to add clay to your topsoil to get that little extra minerals.
Its fasinating having an allotment, everyone has different ideas, when you begin to think you might know it all someone comes along with something new and dumbfounds you.

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Green Aura
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Re: How to improve soil

Post: # 210351Post Green Aura »

Sounds a bit odd - hope you don't get a dry spell early next spring - she'll have to break through a layer of london bricks to get to her allotment.

OR, maybe she's a secret developer and is laying the foundations for her new project hoping none of you'll notice :lol:

Clay is full of nutrients and I'm sure adding a little wouldn't hurt - as long as it's not heavy clay soil to start with.

Keep us posted - very intriguing.
Maggie

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Ellendra
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Re: How to improve soil

Post: # 210360Post Ellendra »

I'm reading a new book on soil fertility, that recommends calcium for heavy clay soils, along with the organic matter. I'll be trying that on my garden soon.

If you just mix sand in the clay, you'll wind up with something akin to concrete. Organic matter is the key.

oldjerry
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Re: How to improve soil

Post: # 210431Post oldjerry »

Well that lets out the calcium then,..I really think as everybody seems to be saying,Manure,compost,manure,compost...and at this time of the year,green manure as well.
Graham,it's true people come up with new things that dumbfound you,but even more often they come up with a great new idea that turns out to be a pile of horsefeathers!

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