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New gardener. Advice on soil wanted.

Hi there

i wondered if any of you seasoned gardeners would be willing to give me a little advice. 

I’ve just dug up two tonnes of a stone garden to hopefully lay turf. I’ve taken out weeds at their roots and dug up big stones. It’s been fun!

my question is what is this soil like? Do I need to spend time picking out stones? I’ve read a lot and been studiously watching videos but it would be great to know what people think who have done this a lot more than me. 

Any help gratuitously accepted. 

Bibs. 

Posts

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,543
    It's really hard to tell from a photo.  Soil needs to be felt.

    I suggest you fork over the whole area again and then rake it level to see how many stones appear.   Then you can do 2 things to test your soil.  The first is to take a handful and squeeze it.   Sandy soil will feel gritty in your palm and not stay together when you open your hand.   Clay soil has much finer grains and will feel smoother, damp and hold together when you open your hand.   A loam soil is between the two.

    The second thing is a soil test kit which you can buy in garden centres.  You mix some soil with some distilled water then let it settle and the tester kits tells you if it's acidic, neutral or alkaline and that will dictate the kinds of plants you can grow.

    Have a read of this, if you haven't already - https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=179 


    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • hnnaderhnnader Posts: 3
    Obelixx 

    thank you so much for your advice! I’m going to test my soil for sure. I want to lay a turf lawn on this ground and after taking the membrane the stone was on away, it felt dry on top but quite moist underneath. There are def stones and debris to clear but I wonder how much I need to clear. 

    Thank you for your response. That link is very helpful. 
  • StevedaylillyStevedaylilly Posts: 1,087
    If your just going to turf over it then what Obelixx said is true except you won’t need to test the soil. Obviously, if your considering boarders and plants then testing the soil who be a good idea or, as a rule of thumb, just look over at your neighbours gardens and see what grows in their gardens to get an idea   
  • hnnaderhnnader Posts: 3
    If your just going to turf over it then what Obelixx said is true except you won’t need to test the soil. Obviously, if your considering boarders and plants then testing the soil who be a good idea or, as a rule of thumb, just look over at your neighbours gardens and see what grows in their gardens to get an idea   
    Thank you. Do I need to clear all the stones to lay turf? I’ve read some smaller ones are good for drainage. The ones as big as a baseball I’m removing. I was going to also mix in some compost and use a quality topsoil. Sensible?

    thanks for your reply. 
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,543
    Yes both to stone removal and improving the soil.  Laying turf is an expensive way to get a lawn so good soil preparation and levelling are essential to help it bond to the soil base and grow well.  Watering too till it's established and has knitted.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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