Simple ways to improve your soil
Look upon soil improvement as something ongoing rather than an emergency measure.
Pick up a handful of soil and feel it from time to time, to work out whether it would benefit from the addition of more organic matter or grit, depending on its nature.
Add bulky organic matter to the vegetable plot each winter if you’re digging.
Mulch beds and borders with organic matter in spring, where digging the soil over is undesirable and unnecessary. Mulching will help conserve moisture and keep down weeds.
Use organic fertilisers that are more beneficial to soil bacteria than inorganic compounds, and be sure to water them in.
Consider growing green manures on the veg patch – these are seedling crops that are dug back in to add enrichment.
Don’t underestimate the value of sharp grit and coarse sand in improving the drainage of heavy clay.
Never apply fresh manure to soil since it can reduce the amount of nitrogen available to your plants, because bacteria use nitrogen in the process of breaking down the manure.
Don’t dig heavy clay when it is too wet ( sticky) or too dry ( rock hard). Wait for that quarter of an hour in spring when it is somewhere between the two!
Don’t dig just for the sake of it. Once planted, the ground can be enriched by mulching and allowing worms to help incorporate it.
Don’t apply products whose value you are unsure about. Soil is a precious commodity and should be cherished.
Sow green manures in autumn, which are then dug back into the soil to enrich it