Rubbish Soil

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simonyglog

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Rubbish Soil
« on: April 15, 2010, 18:07 »
Hi, I've got a large plot which I'm doing well bringing all sorts of manure onto it. However, its hard work!!

The base soil is acidic and unfertilised. Its very tempting to just run the rotorvator over a section and chuck in some seeds. Can anyone advise what will grow on a poor, acidic, unfertilised soil?

Many thanks

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Yabba

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Re: Rubbish Soil
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2010, 18:11 »
Weeds :rolleyes:


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Trillium

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Re: Rubbish Soil
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2010, 19:12 »
Mine was like that when I first moved here. Come to think of it, all my veg gardens have been heavy clay  ::) It's always been hard work to sort them, but it pays in the end. I can't dig too long so I use my rotovator to turn in all the organic matter I can find: shredded leaves, loose straw, manure, compost, flowerpot contents, etc. Even with that help it's taken 7 years now to finally have some reasonably decent soil.

But you can still grow good potatoes, beans, beets, peas and lettuce. It's amazing how many crops actually like heavier soil. For crops like toms and sweet peppers, dig out trenches and add lots of good stuff before planting.

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Wombat18

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Re: Rubbish Soil
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2010, 19:57 »
Get some spuds in, they'll help break up heavy soil.  I also found green manures over winter worked well on mine, worth considering if you have any bare patches that need covering quickly.

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mumofstig

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Re: Rubbish Soil
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2010, 21:45 »
I'll second the green manure....I didn't really think it would work, but I was really impressed with how much difference it has made to my soil
Will definitely be sowing more this autumn :)
Lesley x
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operabunny

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Re: Rubbish Soil
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2010, 23:58 »
I've just taken over a plot with heavy clay soil (and loads of mares tail  :() that hasn't been worked yet. I am slowly double digging the first area to plant potatoes. Will then try to get some beans in. The rest I'm covering with black plastic until I can get round to it.

I am trying to decide how best to improve the soil over winter. Should I grow a green manure crop or just cover the beds in loads of horse manure, leave it until spring and dig it in?

Thanks.

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Carrotcake

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Re: Rubbish Soil
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2010, 09:56 »
I'm not sure green manure would work as it could be competing with perennial weeds, which you would end up digging in too.

We used to have a stables that dropped loads of fresh manure on our allotment site in the UK. I used to dump the fresh manure on the areas of the allotment I wasn't going to be working until the following spring. It should smother and burn most of the weeds and the worms will do the digging in for you. Next spring, you should be ready to go without having to double dig  :D

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prakash_mib

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Re: Rubbish Soil
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2010, 11:47 »
Atleast you've got soil to work with. people are waiting for years to get their hands dirty. patience is the virtue. you cant win in a year. Its like test cricket but in years. you might get result after 4-5 years.
One kid is handful. Two kids.... Example for chaos theory. Hats off to my mum who managed three...

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Trillium

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Re: Rubbish Soil
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2010, 13:48 »
I'm with carrotcake. While green manures are very valuable, they won't compete well with big perennial roots. Advice regarding green manures is to use them to avoid bare ground, literally, so I too would go the fresh animal manure asap. I accidentally dropped a shovelful of fresh stuff in the middle of my strawberry patch last year and this year that is one very bald spot, not even weeds.

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Lulu

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Re: Rubbish Soil
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2010, 20:12 »
We started our allotment 3 years ago, it has heavy clay soil and is blessed with the best of weeds - mare's tail and bindweed.  I choose not to have a never ending battle with it.  Hubbie has dug some raised beds into which compost of all kinds has been added.  The result is beds with some lovely soil that is easy to dig and  weeds that are much easier to control.  I have used green maure as well which did well in keeping the  'clay clods' to a minimum.

Good luck - the results are worth it but in the long run!

Lulu
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unconcerned

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Re: Rubbish Soil
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2010, 20:15 »
Atleast you've got soil to work with. people are waiting for years to get their hands dirty. patience is the virtue. you cant win in a year. Its like test cricket but in years. you might get result after 4-5 years.

6 years and counting!

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prakash_mib

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Re: Rubbish Soil
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2010, 22:35 »
Atleast you've got soil to work with. people are waiting for years to get their hands dirty. patience is the virtue. you cant win in a year. Its like test cricket but in years. you might get result after 4-5 years.

6 years and counting!
I think you are up for one of those timeless tests!! you have to get the result before the boat leave the shore

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operabunny

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Re: Rubbish Soil
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2010, 21:33 »
Atleast you've got soil to work with. people are waiting for years to get their hands dirty. patience is the virtue. you cant win in a year. Its like test cricket but in years. you might get result after 4-5 years.


Thanks to everyone else for their helpful and supportive comments.

prakash_mib, contrary to your implication, I am very grateful to have an allotment (after six and a half years on waiting lists). I did not ask for a magic wand, I simply asked for a little advice on the best way to get started. This was the first time I have posted a question in this forum and I'm not sure I want to ask any more now. :(

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Aunt Sally

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Re: Rubbish Soil
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2010, 21:58 »
Don't take the huff sweetie  ;)

I think Prakash was just trying to make you feel better by saying how lucky you were to get a plot and to stick with it as it can be a long haul to get the plot into good condition.

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Jakell

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Re: Rubbish Soil
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2010, 22:10 »
 Don't assume the soil is infertile just because it's heavy or has been untended for a while. If your soil is clayey it has more natural fertility than a sandy soil would, and it is more water retentive, you just need to unlock the fertility
 It sounds like you're doing the right thing by digging lots of manure in, just introducing organic matter and aerating the soil can work wonders, just don't let the manure dry out, or dig it into very dry soil. Also don't forget green manures.

I make vegetable compost all year, using any green(ish) materials I can lay my hands on, any manure I get gets layered in with this so I know it is all well rotted, when it's full of worms, I know it's good to go. I usually single dig this into my beds in the autumn, I tend to avoid just digging it into the surface because, if you get a dry spell, the compost just dries out and seems to lose most of it's life



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