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Is it too late?

30 years ago we moved into our house, the garden sorted by previous owners, looked good. However, two boys, one dog and working we did not have time or money to keep it going. We kept it tidy and I grew certain things by seed, but that was it. Originally the site was a pig farm and very sticky (clay) also when digging have found bricks, rubble you name it, it must have been the site tip. We have now retired and would like to improve the earth so we can grow without mildew, caused by water laying I guess. We live in Kent, so normal years we have warm summers Generally with a hosepipe ban. Can anyone help with the earth situation or any thing else. Sorry about the life history, thought I would put you in the picture.


  • hi, i had the same problem with my garden it wasnt a pig farm but underneath i found all kinds of rubbish and i pressume rubble from when the house was built,i had to dig it all up (luckly its a small garden) and mix in alot of compost, it seems to have helped the grass grow nicely, my plants shrubs are doing okay too,

    if its very wet, maybe adding  drains could help, 

  • chicachica Posts: 252

    oh my goodness for the last week i have been digging boulders out of the soil as it was a 4ft bank and i wanted more space so trying to flatten it the thing is what do you do with them all as i dont like rockeries that if i dont break my back trying to lift them.

  • Dig a soakaway in the wettest/lowest part of the garden.  This involves digging a hole, at least 4 foot deep, preferably lower, and putting boulders, gravel and sand in.  This will help, if not solve, any problems with standing water.  You can even recycle some of the rubble.

    Secondly, check you've not got a layer of compacted earth that water can't permeate (known as a 'pan').  You can check this whilst you're digging your soakaway.  If you have, the only way to get rid of it is by digging it.  Depending on the size of your garden, you might need to hire a mini-digger to get around this.

    If you haven't got a layer of compacted earth, then you can improve the soil.  Add some sharp sand for drainage (cheapest in bulk from a builders' merchants), and dig in lots of well-rotted manure, compost etc.  Digging helps, as it opens up the soil, creating air and water pockets, and manure and compost will help retain moisture & nutrients.

    If you want to grow veg, and are a complete novice, I'd advise getting John Harrison's veg growing month-by-month, it's full of really useful advice (like how digging helps the soil, that's one of his tips).  Not any relative, or on commisson but at a fiver from Amazon, it's been invaluable to me.  Not good if you like lots of pretty pictures, but if you're a bookworm like me, I read it cover-to-cover, and still dip into it.  Might have to buy another copy, as mine is starting to look very tatty and is starting to fall to bits!

    Hope this helps, let us know how you get on - lots of great advice on here.

  • Caz8Caz8 Posts: 68
    Thanks everyone, seems like I have to get digging. Hope the back holds out. Will let you know how I get on.
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