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Soil Preparation

The most important thing to do before planting up any border in the garden! We have covered the types of soils you may have in the previous section ‘SOIL TYPES’. This helps in order to understand the level of cultivation required and the amount of manure, compost, gritty sand and base fertiliser you will need to use.

Soil preparation only needs to be carried out once in order to obtain good quality soil.

Often the soil in new developments requires preparation as is it of a poor quality and this leads to poor plant growth and you find that most deep rooted shrubs can’t expand their root systems and in most cases the plants never receive any granular or liquid fertiliser to help.

So when planning your garden never over look the soil preparation and remember, you only have the once chance of improving the soil structure before you plant up.

Basic Preparation Guide

1. Hand Digging

Normally single digging but in heavy clay soil you may have to double dig and leave the border over winter to allow frost to break up heavy clods. This method of hand digging in small gardens is the best way. Working in a line back through the garden, remove any large debris and perennial weeds etc.

The levelling of cultivation should be at least 300-400mm deep for shrubs and herbaceous plants. However, trees will require tree pits, dug out to about 750mm deep. Add as much manure/compost etc, as possible and fork into the soil, along with a base fertiliser such as bone meal. This will also help to restore nutrients to the soil.

2. Rotavating

Rotavating the soil with a pedestrian rotavator is a mechanical method of digging for larger areas where single digging is too labour intensive. Follow the same methods as above.<
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