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How to retain moisture in the soil

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Gareth Austin Gareth Austin | 09:12 UK time, Monday, 9 August 2010

Gareth Austin, gardening expert with BBC Radio Foyle, answers your questions about using manure to increase moisture in your soil, plus what you can do if your garden has poor drainage. If you have either of these problems, share your experiences in the comment section below.

Julia Jago from Old Basing asks: My husband built me a lovely brick veg plot. Last year we had new compost but now I need to add in food and something to retain moisture. I'm not sure what to do. Should I do green feed, whatever that is? How can I work around my plants, I always seem to be growing something.

Answer: Julia, sounds great, you're lucky to have a good man to help! Where possible prior to planting, or sowing, work in some well-rotted garden compost and some bone meal fertilizer at any opportunity. Regular mulching with garden compost between and around plants will help to retain moisture, this mulch will then rot down as time goes by.

Adam Lynch-Brown from Darlington, County Durham, asks: My garden is prone to retaining water, the overall drainage is poor. What, if anything, can I do to alleviate this and give my veg a better chance?

Answer: Eh, interesting Adam, It'll be easier (and cheaper) to come 'up' in the garden. Consider installing some raised veg beds, or growing your veg in large pots. By raising the veg, they will be above the high water table in your garden. Your raised beds should be a minimum of 6 inches deep, however, make them as high as you wish, line the bottom with gravel and then fill with enriched soil.

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