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What type of soil

Moved into my house 2 years ago and had the back garden cleared of bamboo and leylanders leaving a blank garden. Had then the middle lawned with the edges of the garden  topped with grey slate so I could put potted plants on top. Now decided I would like to get rid of this slate and start planting some plants. Do I just dig holes and put in MPC or top soil or a mixture. Not really sure where to start.


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,420
    I would clear all the slate and then fork over the soil, this will give you some idea of what it's like. You can then decide which plants you would like, depending on whether it's sunny, shady etc.
    If you can post a photo or two, that may help with any further advice  :)
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,263
    Some photos of the area and an idea of where you are will help us come up with some ideas for you.

    If you're in England, you can pop your postcode into this site and it will tell you what the general soil conditions are where you live-

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Thank you for your replies. Here are some pictures of my garden. I am in the North West of England. Checked out the postcode and seems I have loamy soil. Strange as when I lived around the corner 2 streets away I had sandy soil but my soil now is different to that. Oops seems I'm not good at attaching photos either. Might stick to my knitting. 
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,420
    It's okay, l get the gist  :)
    It looks quite a sunny garden, so you'd have plenty of things to choose from. Would you consider widening the borders a bit ?
  • At the moment we are quite happy with the width of the borders whilst we are learning. The left hand side gets the morning sun and I have a hosta in a pot which grew really well last year. 5 more hostas on the way for that side.. Also split and repotted a Bleeding heart plant last week. At the top end corner put in a bare root plum tree a few weeks ago mixing compost with the old soil and adding fertiliser and new buds are just coming on. At the top right of the border last year I planted my bottlebrush plant that had grown well in a pot, again in compost,  but think the ground got waterlogged and whilst it doesn't look completely dead a lot of the leaves have died off. At a loss!!
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,420
    I think your best bet is to clear a section, fork it over (unless it's really compacted,  then you might need to start with a spade). The next thing is to consider whether you want shrubs, perennials that die down over Winter, or maybe a mixture of both to give you some year round interest. 
    I would get a soil testing kit either from the Garden Centre or online, this will also give you a good idea of the type of soil, acid, alkaline or neutral. Test several different areas as it might not be the same all over.
    Preparation of the soil is the key. Before you start planting, once you know what you've got you can start to plan and plant accordingly :)
  • Thank you AnniD. Maybe the testing kit is the first plan then. 
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