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When to improve soil?

Most of the soil in my garden is quite good except for one large patch (approx 2m x 2m) near to the house where water 'puddles' on the top. As a novice I've been reading up and the best solution seems to be to improve the soil as it's too compacted.

On the 'What To Do Now' section, it states that I can start to dig in compost but I've also read that you shouldn't dig soil when it's wet! I'm now totally confused image

I tried to dig it last year in the spring when it was warm but nearly broke the spade & fork as the ground was just too hard.

Would it really damage the soil if I started to dig now?


  • I think the theory is that it won't do much good to just dig if the soil is too wet to drop off your spade. I have a similar problem in our garden which I have just redesigned to get rid of 2/3rds of the lawn and introduce some raised beds. The bits where the old lawn was were dug over in the late autumn but are now flat and waterlogged again (no wonder there was so much moss on the lawn). I have just taken delivery of a load of very coarse (woody) compost from our council and have thrown this onto my raised-bed and flower-bed areas with a view to digging it in as soon as the weather dries a bit. I don't think there's much point trying to dig wet soil as (a) it's hard going and (b) because you are standing on it you are driving the air out of it which is the opposite of what you want to achieve.

    I'm going to follow up by digging some well rotted farmyard manure in to replace the nitrogen I expect the woody compost will grab, and I'll also get some chicken manure and have a go at recomposting some of the woodier stuff.

    To dig or not is always a tricky question imo. If you work full time like me you sometimes just have to bite the bullet and get your spade out at the weekend come what may, but if you can catch the soil just right it's a lot easier.

  • Cheers for the advice...I sort of got stuck in without a clear idea of what I wanted. I managed to clear a row of hedging that had grown to lanky 20 ft+ and have replaced this with new fencing plus I've now done a plan of what I want to achieve I've split the garden into three thirds with aim of tackling a one third at a time. It sounds as if you're garden is similiar to mine; my lawn is full of moss and I too started to dig over last autumn. Never thought of asking the Council for compost so will ring and ask if my council does the same. I've already got some well rotted manure and am planning on adding that too.  I'll try digging this weekend and see how it goes!!

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