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Soil help!

Plot75Plot75 SurreyPosts: 69
edited June 2019 in Problem solving
Please advise. I’ve acquired a large allotment and the previous tenant seemed to have just grown an abundance of potatoes and root vegetables. I’m growing a wide variety of fruit n’ veg however it seems whatever I’ve been planting just seems to die on me. Luckily there are a lot of worms in the soil so they work hard trying to rectify it.
Have the potatoes and root veg sapped a lot of nutrients from the soil and what is the best method for me to replace them for better crops next year? Thank you in advance.
Mix 2tbsp of white,granulated sugar with 1tbsp of water and place on a spoon for a Bee to reach. Sometimes they're too exhausted to reach back to the hives when it's hot and dry. 
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  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,302
    Let's bump it up to see if any allotment holders can advise. Presumably adding lots of organic matter is the way to go...but let's see if anyone with hands-on experience can help.
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,126
    Do the plants die shortly after you plant them or is it a long drawn out process?
  • Hampshire_HogHampshire_Hog Hampshire Coast 100m from the seaPosts: 1,089
    Sounds like the soil is well opened up and you have worms you say so that's a good start I would purchase a soil testing kit or instrument and check to see what you have. ie: is it acid, neutral or alkaline depending on what you fined you can determine what you need to do to improve it.

    But one thing is you can never have to much organic matter old horse manure, compost, anything really you can lay your hands on and good compost heap is a must.

    "You don't stop gardening because you get old, you get old because you stop gardening." - The Hampshire Hog
  • Plot75Plot75 SurreyPosts: 69
    edited June 2019
    Thank you George and thank you to those that have responded. 

    Yes, they do seem to die quite quickly after planting and regular watering (if the rain doesn't beat me to it, which obvs I love as saves a trip :# )  this is even after hardening off etc. As mentioned the soil is great as in a lot of worms and after turning is very, very soft and you sink into it if stepped on like quicksand, it can get quite dry quickly as there are a few stones in the soil (hence putting off carrots 'til next year) I've planted 32 varieties of fruit n' veg and apart from the dormant type I can honestly say the only ones that have succeeded so far are peas, lettuce and herbs:/ (Surely the lettuce is a good sign of moisture right?) also the plot receives full sun from rise to set. 
    I have got some liquid seaweed and tomato feed - I've heard the seaweed is an excellent balance of all nutrients and tomato feed is great for fruiting varieties - so should I do a feed with these once a week and see how I go? or should I just forget growing this year and do the following for a better crop next year;?
    1) Riddle soil of stones
    2) Add well rotted manure 
    3) Cover with a weed suppressant
    ….and just leave until autumn/winter planting is ready?
    or do all three whilst planting this year?

    Ohhhh I don't know, I'm confused....I do ask and fellow allotment friends like to offer advice but they're all too contradictory together. 

    I have built a large compost bin but still too young to use.  

    Give me flowers to grow and I turn into Carol Klein but fruit n' veg? first time and apart from being excited about the allotment and growing for consumption it's all quite daunting - may I add at this point that the plot is the size of a double tennis court.

    Thank you guys. Happy Sunday Funday for today. 
    Selina


    Mix 2tbsp of white,granulated sugar with 1tbsp of water and place on a spoon for a Bee to reach. Sometimes they're too exhausted to reach back to the hives when it's hot and dry. 
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336
    I would remove all weeds and cover the whole plot (except where you want to grow carrots next year) with a 4 inch layer of well-rotted manure (you can leave doing this until the autumn, if you still have areas of veg which haven't died yet!)  The manure will act as a weed seed suppresent by itself, if you use weed-free manure source, such as the bagged stuff sold in GCs and builders merchants (it is more expensive to do it that way but has this particular benefit.)  Come spring, dig out any perennial weeds which have come through from bits of root etc. and work the remaining manure (much will have been taken down by the worms over winter) into the soil as you plant.  I would only bother removing stones from the soil where you want to grow carrots.  They actually help the soil to warm up more quickly after winter than a stoneless soil does, as well as providing drainage.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Richard.jones89Richard.jones89 Posts: 59
    edited June 2019
    Sorry, I'm going to be the one that brings no-dig into the equation now lol.

    @carters5 could you post some pics of the soil please?? Just a hand trowel in, dug up and in your hand so I can have a look? 

    From what you've said, I suspect Bob's advice is spot on, especially given how you've described the soil as very sunken etc, but put some pictures up and I can tell better. 

    You're spot on, worms are a very good sign, and the fact that peas and lettuce etc are growing is also a good sign.

    Also are we talking a complete 'in the ground' plot, or is it a raised bed in a wooden 'box' ?
  • Plot75Plot75 SurreyPosts: 69
    carters5 said:


    Ohhhh I don't know, I'm confused....I do ask and fellow allotment friends like to offer advice but they're all too contradictory together. 

    I'll admit that CAN be a bit of a problem at times :D

    Bob's advice is spot on.

    Best of luck with your plot :)
    Thank you Philippa! One says "use slug pellets" the other neighbour says "don't use slug pellets" lol...they mean well but you as said it's a tad frustrating. 
    Mix 2tbsp of white,granulated sugar with 1tbsp of water and place on a spoon for a Bee to reach. Sometimes they're too exhausted to reach back to the hives when it's hot and dry. 
  • Plot75Plot75 SurreyPosts: 69
    Sorry, I'm going to be the one that brings no-dig into the equation now lol.

    @carters5 could you post some pics of the soil please?? Just a hand trowel in, dug up and in your hand so I can have a look? 

    From what you've said, I suspect Bob's advice is spot on, especially given how you've described the soil as very sunken etc, but put some pictures up and I can tell better. 

    You're spot on, worms are a very good sign, and the fact that peas and lettuce etc are growing is also a good sign.

    Also are we talking a complete 'in the ground' plot, or is it a raised bed in a wooden 'box' ?
    Hi Richard. I'll be popping along tomorrow so I will take a couple of pictures for you. 
    It's a complete 'in the ground' plot as don't want raised beds. I want as 'au natural' as possible ha. Hold on, does this mean I have to hold worms in my hand too? ewwww...I'll take a quick one before I squirm, as much as I love and respect worms in my hand is pushing it lol.
    Mix 2tbsp of white,granulated sugar with 1tbsp of water and place on a spoon for a Bee to reach. Sometimes they're too exhausted to reach back to the hives when it's hot and dry. 
  • carters5 said:
    Sorry, I'm going to be the one that brings no-dig into the equation now lol.

    @carters5 could you post some pics of the soil please?? Just a hand trowel in, dug up and in your hand so I can have a look? 

    From what you've said, I suspect Bob's advice is spot on, especially given how you've described the soil as very sunken etc, but put some pictures up and I can tell better. 

    You're spot on, worms are a very good sign, and the fact that peas and lettuce etc are growing is also a good sign.

    Also are we talking a complete 'in the ground' plot, or is it a raised bed in a wooden 'box' ?
    Hi Richard. I'll be popping along tomorrow so I will take a couple of pictures for you. 
    It's a complete 'in the ground' plot as don't want raised beds. I want as 'au natural' as possible ha. Hold on, does this mean I have to hold worms in my hand too? ewwww...I'll take a quick one before I squirm, as much as I love and respect worms in my hand is pushing it lol.
    I mean, you could always try gardening gloves 😂
  • Plot75Plot75 SurreyPosts: 69
    I would remove all weeds and cover the whole plot (except where you want to grow carrots next year) with a 4 inch layer of well-rotted manure (you can leave doing this until the autumn, if you still have areas of veg which haven't died yet!)  The manure will act as a weed seed suppresent by itself, if you use weed-free manure source, such as the bagged stuff sold in GCs and builders merchants (it is more expensive to do it that way but has this particular benefit.)  Come spring, dig out any perennial weeds which have come through from bits of root etc. and work the remaining manure (much will have been taken down by the worms over winter) into the soil as you plant.  I would only bother removing stones from the soil where you want to grow carrots.  They actually help the soil to warm up more quickly after winter than a stoneless soil does, as well as providing drainage.
    Aww Bob you diamond...ace advice. I can pop along to a local riding stables and collect some for free but probably won't be weed free but will definitely do what you've suggested come autumn/winter. Thank you.
    Mix 2tbsp of white,granulated sugar with 1tbsp of water and place on a spoon for a Bee to reach. Sometimes they're too exhausted to reach back to the hives when it's hot and dry. 
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