How to: Improve your soil

Improve soil web Dec 14
Soil is the most important thing in a garden, so it’s well worth giving yours a bit of TLC. Plants need good soil to thrive, as they rely on it for all the nutrients they need – healthy soil means healthy plants and flowers, it’s a simple as that. Of course, not everyone’s soil is perfect – some of us have heavy clay that’s impossible to dig in the winter and rock hard in the summer, while others have earth that’s full of sand and holds onto very little water or nutrients.

But all is not lost – it’s possible to improve virtually any soil type with a bit of effort and a barrow full of compost, meaning you’ll be able to give your plants the growing conditions they need. 

What you’ll need:

  • Garden fork
  • Well-rotted manure
  • General fertiliser (like bonemeal - if applying in early autumn)
  • Horticultural grit 

Step 1
Rid your soil of any weeds and dig it over with a fork. It’s best to dig after rain, as this is when most soils are easiest to work. Don’t dig when soil is frozen or solid after prolonged dry spells.

Step 2
Spread a layer of well-rotted manure or garden compost over your soil surface. Spread it nice and thickly – the more you add the better your soil will become.

Step 3
Dig the manure into the ground, making sure it’s fully mixed with your soil. If you have heavy clay you can also work in horticultural grit as this stage – this will encourage it to break up.

Step 4
Finish off with a sprinkling of general-purpose fertiliser, and fork it into the soil surface – bonemeal or pelleted chicken manure is ideal. Repeat the whole process every spring and autumn.