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Acid soil

I have acid soil here and find some plants love it such as raspberries, camellias, fuchsias, etc.      I like to grow vegetables too and would like to know how I can improve it so that I can grow really good runner beans, potatoes and beetroot.    Onions, broccoli and carrots do not fare well.    I grow tomatoes in the cold greenhouse.   Any advice please would be welcome.      Happy New Year to all.    


  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,896
    edited December 2018
    Hello from a fellow Devonian - also gardening on acidic soil  :)

    Raised beds are the way to go for veg. They don't have to be deep - mine are only one scaffold board high, but it gives me enough depth and containment to add soil improvers. I basically follow a 'no dig' method - so every winter I add about 4 inches of some sort of soil improver over the top of one of my four small veg beds - generally I've been using a farmyard manure/compost mix. I don't dig it in, the worms and the frost do most of the work. The manure is quite good for reducing the acidity but it's too rich for some vegetables (especially root crops). So I'm following a 4 year rotation - year one; add manure, grow potatoes. Year two add compost, grow beans and peas. Year 3 add a sprinkle of lime, grow brassicas. Year 4 grow root veg and onions/garlic. Then start again. 2 cycles on (i.e. 8 years) and the soil pH inside the raised beds is now more or less neutral (though the native soil is just over 5 - I can grow blueberries in open ground)

    My soil is clay so carrots are pretty much hopeless - I grow them in big pots (my neighbour has an old tin bath for his) filled with a mix of spent compost (last year's tomato compost, usually) and sand. I can grow the short 'nantes' type carrots in the ground if the weather isn't too catastrophically wet. But growing them in a deep pot has the added advantage that it deters root fly. 

    Most other types of common veg, except asparagus, I can grow well enough, weather and my own ineptitude depending.
    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150
    Hi Virginiajoy. I'm still a bit of a beginner when it comes to veg growing but have you considered making some raised beds. 
    My mum did one years ago to make an acid bed for her azaleas etc on neutral soil. I'm wondering if the reverse would work for you? 
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