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Soil question

Our soil is not good and I added some topsoil.  Should this be dug in or left on the surface which will get turned in with cropping veg.


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,161
    *Bump*  :)
  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    Depends what you mean by poor soil  and what top soil have you added, bought in or from your garden? How thick is the layer?

  • Fairy heavy, in places clay, not been cultivated before.  Very stony in parts.  Created veg bed and added about 2” topsoil bought in.  Getting more in when other 2 beds are built.  Never had such tall growth on my potatoes.  This is first garden I’ve ever had to add to as I’ve always been lucky to have good soil.
  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286
    edited July 2020
    I think a lot of people will say.. ..add organics. The best way to improve clay is lots and lots of manure, then add lots more. I grow great tatties in our London clay  :)
  • Butterfly66Butterfly66 Posts: 933
    Clay soil is usually full of nutrients the only “poor” aspect is it’s hard work to dig. Stones help warm the soil in spring and cool down more slowly in winter and assist in drainage. So I wouldn’t bring in topsoil unless you’ve actually had your soil tested and know that it really is poor and you can be sure that the new topsoil is any better than your own. 

    As GemmajF says adding lots of compost will help break down the clay. Easiest way is to do what you already have, use it as a mulch and the worms will do the job for you. Buy soil improver or composted manure or use homemade compost. 
     If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”—Marcus Tullius Cicero
    East facing, top of a hill clay-loam, cultivated for centuries (7 years by me). Birmingham
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,669
    No such thing as bad soil, get lots of compost and manure on, it takes a few years, mind you great for roses!
  • I would happily let the worms help but I have only seen 2 worms in my time digging up parts of the grass for veg and others for shrubs etc.  Generally I have heard that no worms indicate poor soil.
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,161
    I think that's true Margaret, improving the soil should bring them in, but it takes a while. 
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,486
    I have the same problem, Margaret, heavy, stony clay soil and not a worm in sight. It’s better to dig it over and dig in the topsoil/manure/any organic material you can lay our hands on to get a workable soil sooner. I never found ‘the worms will do it for you’ approach worked. In subsequent years you can just spread new organic material over the top. After four years of doing this mine is finally getting there and I even have some worms now!
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • DevonianDevonian Posts: 176
    Have a look at the 'No-Dig' philosophy by Charles Dowding. Makes for interesting reading and could be worth a try?
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