Wet soil

by Jane Moore

We currently seem to be getting all possible November weather in one fell swoop. It's an ever-changing merry-go-round of rain, wind, sunshine and frost...

Hands holding soilWe seem to be getting all possible November weather at once. It's a constantly changing merry-go-round of rain, wind, sunshine and frost, all on the same day, if not in the same hour.

It’s all rather Wuthering Heights up here on the wind-blasted, rain-lashed hill, albeit without any Heathcliff. I’m desperate to keep toasty but I can’t dig anything as the soil is too wet.

I’m very lucky – my plot has a lovely, rich soil, well dug and manured by many a plot holder before me. But, like much of the area, it does have a high clay content and so it’s prone to being a bit sticky. It would be bad news to work the soil in very wet conditions, as it would ruin that all-too-delicate crumb structure I’ve been trying so hard to develop. It’s important to dig the soil when conditions are right, to avoid getting it stuck all over your boots, hands and spade.

What I need is a few sharp frosts to dry it all out and break up the lumps. I really hope we get a proper cold winter down here this year – it’s about time!

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Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2008 at 21:44

Hello, I urgently need expert advice. Christmas is fast approaching and my present this year from my mad keen gardening Dad will be a set of 1m square raised beds. I have to decide if I want to choose wood (not chemically treated as I dont want nasty toxic chemical preservatives in my veg)or recycled plastic. I am leaning towards plastic unless advised otherwise as we are renting at the moment and I want to take my 'presents' with me when we eventually leave. Most importantly, which is best for growing? Also if I go for plastic, is one colour better than another? I plan to have 2 out of my 4 raised beds double height for root veg. All advice welcomed. Many thanks. Maple de Well

Gardeners' World Web User 29/11/2008 at 17:12

My garden has a high water table and I want to plant climbing plants and flowers around the narrow patio border, which gets all the rain run off and doesn't seep away easily (boggy soil). Any ideas for suitable plants. Are there any that will drink up this excess water? By the way I am a novice so don't answer too technically.

Gardeners' World Web User 30/11/2008 at 19:55

for Maple de Well I started growing veg in the garden again this year using 15cm raised beds.I have two three meters long,one two meters,one at one-and-a-half(which houses the strawberries).these are all one meter wide.Along a fence I have a four meter run by half meter in which I have just planted Autumn Bliss rasberriies for next year.I filled all the beds with a generous amount of garden soil but mostly with bought compost specially mixed for vegetables.Before I filled with the compost I dug over the base to loosen the soil for good drainage,which is a must. I was late and it wasn,t till July before I planted brussel sprouts,sutton broad beans,minicole cabbages,purple sprouting brocole,carrots and tomatoes. I can tell you I was amazed at the speedy growth of everything!We had masses of strawberries and we,ve just had the last of the carrots and cabbagesand the brussel sprouts should be ready for Christmas. Two things to be wary of. 1.slugs 2.white butterflies. I use slug pellets and I,ve got some fine netting for next years crop. I,ve used green plastic raised beds to blend in with lawn and other plants. Good Luck!

Gardeners' World Web User 02/12/2008 at 16:43

Fuschias, Fuschias Fuschias! You can practically grow them in water...they love it. I'm not an expert and I'm sure there are many other plants out there to suit your garden. Have you thought about a soakaway? It involves a lot of digging, about 3ft in depth to be honest. Dig out the ground where you are growing, but dont forget to save the top 18inches of soil for backfilling. Once you have dug out the area place stone chippings in the bottom 18inches, then top up with the saved topsoil. This should help your drainage problems no end!

Gardeners' World Web User 04/12/2008 at 18:16

To print of the 'Wet Soil'article I ended up with 7(seven) pages. could you please revise your print article facility. Otherwise a great service.

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