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Please help. I have a raised bed and half is ericacious compost and half is "normal "compost. My ericacious has no worms at all and wonder if this is why it is difficult to fork as it seems full of roots. How would I improve the soil so its more malliable like normal soil is? Im growing Lillies in it but cant get my trowel in to plant them.


Sorry- but I don't get what you mean-ericaceous is a term for acid soil-why would you have 50% of that  and 50% "normal"-I am puzzled-then you say full of roots-how? where did it come from?

At the moment you problem is unclear and somewhat confusing-perhaps if you could explain a bit more???

Sorry sotongeoff Ill explain- my bed is rectandular split horizontal accross the middle. This allows me to grow normal plants at the back half but allows me to grow planrs in acidic(ericacious) soil like lillies and azalieas and a pieris. Roots probably from 2 camilias and a pieris.Hope that explains it more. But thanks for actually replying- its great. Thanks.

Jackie-gardener. Have you tested your "normal" soil for acidity? It would be difficult to keep your soil in 2 different states like this. If you are growing camellias pieros etc you must have acid soil. The soil you are trying to dig, full of roots, can you dig it thoroughly? I would say you prob have acid soil anyway. You won't have too many,worms in your acid soil anyway...? Why not mix the whole area together? So, you bought normal multipurpose compost for half and ericaceous compost for the rest...? What plants would you like to grow here?

It now makes sense and Christoper is right about the soil-I have never worried about what soil lillies have grown in by the way-they seem happy in anything.




Well Christopher2 - The idea Is to keep growing both  types of soil type plants- ericacious in the front half and normal plants in the back half. The two soils dont mix and havent had problems growing plants in their own areas. My question was how to and with what should I improve my ericacious half as at present i find not pliable like normal soil stopping me from digging a hole to plant a bulb. I thought this may be due to the fact that there doesnt seem to be any worms in the ericacious part so to imporove the soil was the ask. I dont want to mix the areas together- as this only allows one type of plants to be planted. Yes I bought both types of compost when I initally set up the beds 4 years ago. The re are lillies in the front acid soil and I am wanting to add to them.

Thanks Sotongeoff for your reply. I just wanted to know what to improve ericacious (acid) soil with. and would adding worms help the pliablity of the soil?

Ok jackie-gardener, to improve the acid part I would simply turn in acid bark chips and more ericaceous compost. I would use ericaceous John innes. Do you have your own garden compost too? Often that is acidic and with worms. Then dig it in to reasonable depth but spread it through the layers. Then when you use your trowel to plant a bulb the soil will be friable. Some lilies tolerate lime, others don't. I grow lilium regale too.....wonderful scent, best of the lot.

The worms will need something to feed on-I would invest in some well rotted horse manure add that to the soil- and work it in as best you can-the worms will move in and do the rest of the work for you

Then retest the soil at some point to see if you have still got the right balance

I get what you are trying to do now

Oh great. Thanks for that christopher2. I love love love lillies. I only found out from experts at shows like Harrogate and Southport that lillies are better in acid soil. I hadnt done that in previous years but I always do now- hence my acid bed for them. Yes I do have home made compost but didnt think it would be ok for acid soil but to use on normal soil. Shoudnt i use leaf mould for the acid beds?

Sotongeoff is it ok to put manure on an acid soil??? I thought again this was only for normal soil.? Only using leafmould for acid??


Horse manure shouldn't make much difference to the ph in the soil-in fact because of the urine content it slightly acidic so that should help you

Well I didnt know that sotongeoff. Thankyou for teaching me something new today, I will get some manure and place some on. Many thanks to you both for your kind help and advice.


One more thing your leaf-mould-it would depend on what tree the leaves come from-in most cases it would just be neutral unless it was from say a pine but they might take a while to turn into leaf-mould.

I also love lillies but grow them in pots and place them through the borders when a space appears.  This year at Harrogate I also discovered that some lillies prefer ericaceous compost, the large oriental ones I think.  Though I have grown some in normal compost, I am trying out the ericaceous compost this year with the new lillies I bought at the show.  I would also agree to adding well rotted manure to your bed as I have taken out some trees and had the same problems with roots left behind.  There certainly is a lot of worms in it but it also takes a lot of hard digging breaking up the soil.  Good luck.



We grow lilies of all sorts from one end of the garden to the other.  Many are in pots, others in the ground - all do prettty well.  I've never used ericaceous compost for them, and looking out of the window just now cannot se how they could be any better than they are at present - up to 20 heads per pot and plot, with a perfume to knock you down if you brought it indoors.   They get pelleted organic chicken manure in the spring along with everything else, and an occasional top dressing if I remember and have enough compost.  They have been known to freeze solid in their pots, and get waterlogged at times, but nothing seems to hold them back. 

thanks.will try adding some ericaeceous compost in planting hole.

Garden lady a handful of ericaceous compost in the planting hole is not going to make a difference to your soil.  What do you want to plant and where?

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