Feed the soil!
Use organic conditioners to enrich your borders
Before the weather turns nasty, spread a thick layer of nutritious organic matter over the soil surface in your beds and borders. As it rots down over winter it will release nutrients to enrich your soil, although for sandy soils it’s better to wait until January. Some of the best soil conditioners are natural products, and many are free! l Garden compost Turn garden clippings, annual weeds and kitchen waste into compost. Add slower-rotting cardboard, paper and straw to achieve a good mix, ready to use in six to 12 months. l Leaf mould Gather up autumn leaves and place in pierced black bin bags or a stake and chickenwire cage and leave for a year to rot down. l Chicken manure y m la Bought in pelleted form, A chicken manure can be sprinkled over the soil and raked in. Add fresh chicken droppings to your compost heap to enrich the mix and speed up decomposition. l Mushroom compost Spent mushroom compost is often available from mushroom growers. Spread over soil or add to compost bins. l Well-rotted manure In rural areas, look for free sacks of farmyard manure by the roadside. Spread around roses and other hungry plants. l Seaweed extract Use seaweed in a milled form, such as Chase Seaweed Meal, £8.45 for 2.5kg (The Organic Catalogue, 0844 967 0330; www.organiccatalogue.com).
Where there’s muck there’s brass!
Tidy up and make free conditioner with leaf mould
Compost is excellent recycling