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John mcleod
I live on a new build property and have worked hard in the garden since the I moved in in 2012. I grow perennials and some annuals as well as shrubs. The soil is very poor and does not hold moisture at all. I am wanting to start to improve it for next year. Unsure what to use thought. Been reading a lot about using horse manure (would need to get this from b&q etc) or a fine bark mulch or a high grade top soil. Does anyone have any recommendations on which method would be best to us? I do not grow any acid loving plants

Your garden looks extremely neat and tidy! Would you have room for a compost heap if you disguised it? The best thing to hold moisture in the soil is compost from a compost heap. You just throw any kitchen waste (vegetarian), old paper, cardboard clipping from plant, lawn mower waste etc onto the heap. Then you can use it as a mulch or top dressing or you can dig it in. Either way, it will store moisture in the earth for you. And all for free.

Hi, for me its always well rotted horse poo, as far as i have found you cant put it down too thickly, just put it on the soil as a mulch in autumn, the worms will do the rest, if you want to, you can mix bark chips etc with it it certainly womt hurt, these things take time, ive been working on my garden for 8 years, it is only just getting where i want it as far as the soil goes.
If you have a few quid to spend, i can also reccomend the carbon gold range, its very good, but pricey
I use well-rotted organic farmyard manure in bags from the garden centre, along with whatever bags of pony poo I can get my hands on when driving around in the countryside (some places sell it bagged up at the gate).

I also compost all vegetable waste, lawn mowings etc and dig the compost into our garden.

In three years we've turned dry gritty sandy soil into a very healthy free-draining loam producing good plants and veg
John, i dont know where you live, but ive had muck delivered from a nature reserve by an adult education service, my local council put me in touch with them.
Ive also had some from ebay, i only had to pay for the chap to bring it round so its worth having a look at these things


Edd was waxing lyrical about comfrey for this purpouse too wasnt he? Ive seen it on tv but never done it myself, might try it next year

I think the comfrey provides lots of nutrients, a sort of natural Miraclegro, but it doesn't provide bulk or moisture retaining stuff.

I'm planing on trench/hole composting. My garden is small, smaller than the OP's by the looks of things, and I'm not sure i have space for a composter. But I want to get rid of kitchen and garden waste and improve my soil. This seems like an ideal way of doing it. Probably start in the autumn and begin digging it in to rot down over the winter months.

And cover crops/green manures are what I'm hoping to use too.

Comfrey and Nettle teas look like a good idea. Plan on getting some nettles from the countryside. Not sure of Comfrey grows in the wild?


Try the Green Gardener site they have compost wormer provide good healthy compost and liquid feed from your household waste looks really good although costs a little bit should work wonders methinks.


If your local authority collects green waste for composting, they may well sell it back to you in bags.  Variable quality depending on where you live (we were lucky, Castle Morpeth compost won awards!) but usually cheap, and good for spreading thickly on your soil to improve it.


Nothing other than well rotted horse muck for my garden.   My partner runs an equestrian centre and trains horses though.

We give tonnes of it away to gardeners too.  

Rather than going to Homebase and buying it, you'd be better off going to a riding centre and asking if you can have some if you take it away.   Just take some poly bags and a shovel and you'll find it's pretty typical for them to just let you have it.


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