BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in February 2011We've left it here for reference.More information

14 July 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
how to be a gardener - The complete online guide

BBC Homepage
Lifestyle
Gardening
Part One
Part Two

Are you signed in?
Go here for more information





Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 

homeModule 1Module 2Module 3Module 4Module 5Module 6Module 7Module 8
4 - Preparing the ground
Print page

Improving your soil
© 
Improving your soil
With the ground preparation complete, it’s time to improve the soil. Improving the soil means making its texture and structure easier for roots to grow in and providing all the food a plant needs.
It’s a two-stage process:
  • Dig in lots of well-rotted, bulky organic matter, such as horse manure or garden compost, about half-a-wheelbarrow load per square metre
  • Apply fertiliser - a handful of a general organic fertiliser, such as blood, bone and fishmeal, per square metre
If you are starting afresh, do the digging and mucking preferably the winter before, especially if you are on soils that are clay dominant, but don’t worry if you’ve missed it. And fork in the fertiliser just before planting.
If the plants are already there, ‘mulch’ the beds with a 10cm (4in) layer of bulky organic and a scattering of fertiliser before the growing season begins – early spring.
Organic matter
Organic matter improves soil structure, as does the digging, and as it breaks down it releases small amounts of nutrients. That’s what organic gardeners mean by ‘feed the soil not the plant’.
Organic manure
You can buy a range of soil improvers in bags at the garden centre, but this is expensive. Much better is a ‘steaming pile’ delivered, and making your own with a compost heap.
Previous
page1of2next
4. Practical planting

Introduction
Preparing the ground
 Improving your soil
 Digging
 How to dig
Buying plants
Planting
Test your knowledge
Go further

Highlights
Plant lists Plant lists
View plant lists on:

Find thousands more plants in the BBC Gardening database.
Video Video
Watch video clips on:
Useful links


About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy