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Organic Gardening

Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.


A Quick Guide to Reclaiming Your Garden's Soil

Soil is a major component of the Earth's ecosystem, and without it we simply would not exist!

A newly acquired garden or an over-spent allotment can have poor-quality soil, making it more difficult to manage and use. Leading to potential problems for those wishing to grow a lush green lawn or plant some daffodils, crocus or hyacinth bulbs in the spring.

It’s not as difficult as you think to restore the soil to make it productive again.

Clear the Area

Cutting bushes and small trees back to the fence line is the first job on the list. It is vital that you don’t give the bushes and plants the chance to grow accustom with the soil. Each bush and tree is part of the cycle and prepares the soil for the next stage – stopping this happening will ensure the soil keep holds of all its goodness.

Shears should work fine on most bushes and shrubs, cut small growth straight across and as close to the ground as possible. For more stubborn branches, roots or trees either pull them out of the ground or hire/borrow a chain-saw, other standard gardening tools can assist you should you get into difficulty.

Rocks can hinder grow and mowing so it’s best to walk around your area and remove the larger visible stones from the area. Larger rocks might need more than just human strength to be removed so if you find large rocks pull out the spade and get digging.

Green Manure

Manure crops should be planted where you want your garden to be, even if you don’t plan on using your area for food, planting manure crops helps stimulate the soil making it easier for grass, food and plants to grow.

Some of the best Green Manures for all year round are rye, cowpeas, mustard, oats, alfalfa, clover, winter peas, and timothy. These return nitrogen to the soil along with organic material, and are a good choice for long-term soil development.

You must allow at least two to three weeks between ploughing under and planting. Green manure decays after being ploughed under; it returns to the soil all the nutrients it used while growing, adding vital organic matter, so all types of soil, from sand to clay, respond positively to this treatment.

Unfortunately this isn't a one-time project for those of you with a vast amount of clay or sand in your soil. You must continue with this process to ensure the decaying process continues. For the most toughest of soils it can take up to five years to prime!

By reclaiming your soil you should be able to grow anything in less than optimum conditions. Even for those growing foods, strong soil can produce quality produce!


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