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Improving soil

Have two strips of approx 10m x 0.75m either side of my garden that this year has had a number of pots of while I work out what I want to plant. 

My intention is to spend the next few months finalising my plan (expect some more posts on that) but with it still being quite clay heavy, I want to introduce a fair amount of fresh top soil and mulch. Am I better off just leaving it as is for the winter, or get the soil prepared ahead of then, ready for planting in spring?

Posts

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,229
    My inclination would be to get it prepared now ready for spring so that the soil has a chance to settle and the worms do their work. If it's heavy clay (like ours) I would also add a lot of H.grit (I bag per metre) and/or H.Sand and lots of manure. Good luck. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,118
    As Lizzie says - a load of manure just laid on top will work down over winter. Even fresh stuff put down now, will be broken down enough by late spring, but probably best to get well rotted manure. You can buy it in bags from GCs or diy stores if you don't have a facility near you to get it from  [riding school etc]
    That alone will help to break up the heavy clay, but you can add grit as well if you get lots of rain, and/or you want to plant things that prefer better drainage. 
    You can then plant away in spring, adding compost to each planting hole, with some general fertiliser. That will get plants off to a good start  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • So do you recommend manure and grit etc as opposed to a load of top soil, or a mix of each?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,118
    You can add topsoil too if you want Chris. If the soil you have is thin and stoney, and therefore a bit poor, the manure will add lots of nutrition and bulk.  If it's the opposite - heavy, sticky clay - the manure will break it up and open the structure to aid drainage. Clay soil is rich in nutrients, so it doesn't need much else.
    Manure is great because it works in two ways - helping to retain moisture/nutrients in thin, sandy soils, and opening up heavy soil.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,229
    Manure is also cheaper than topsoil and once it's been dug in, there's not that much difference I find.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,591
    The soil is still "warm" and probably more workable than it would be than if you  left it over the winter.
    I'm too tight to buy horticultural grit. I buy "pea shingle" from the builders' merchant. If you want to be fussy, you can rinse all the dusty bits off with a hose, but I've never done that either. 
    I'd go with well rotted manure and I'd do it asap.  Try freecycle and you may find some going begging at stables if you're prepared to bag it up, or you have access to a trailer.

    Devon.
  • Thanks for all your advice.....presumably I’m ok just throwing in all the remnants from this years pots; regular compost from GC, vermiculite, top soil and the small roots, or should I not use some of this
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,591
    I'd add those to the compost bins for a while, but if you don't have one ( you know you should  ;) ) they'll do no harm.
    Devon.
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