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11 messages
26/02/2014 at 14:36

Hi guys, i have an allotment and am worried that the quality of the soil has deteriorated, we have rotavated in loads of well rotted horse poo and used chicken manure pellets and grown green fertiliser which we turned in to the soil.

The crops last year did okay but not as well as I had hoped.

Can anyone tell me what I could use to improve the nutrient levels in the soil, which is a mix of reasonable well draining loam and heavy, wet , claggy clay type stuff.

Has the recent deluge washed out what was there. I am not a big fan of chemicals but would compromise my principals on this occasion.

All advice great fully accepted. Thanks.

26/02/2014 at 14:37

Oh I forgot the horse pooh, chicken manure and green stuff was done over the past two years. 

26/02/2014 at 14:58

All that poo, manure and green manure will all have been quite high in nitrogen - maybe it's a bit low in other nutrients - perhaps a good sprinkling of Fish, Blood and Bone - which is a balanced slow release fertiliser - will help.

It might give us a better idea if you tell us what did well and what didn't do so well?  

Did green leafy veg do well, and things that flower/fruit/seed do not as well?

26/02/2014 at 16:41

Plenty of good,stuff for the soil.....Dove pinched my words.  I too would use fish blood amd bone.  

26/02/2014 at 18:02

Last summer, after the wet, cold spring was hot and dry. Did they get enough water?

26/02/2014 at 20:02

Our potatoes did well until we became aware of a bit of blight, delt with that harvested and they stored really well, beetroot amazing!! Just as well as I love it, chard, spinach dwarf beans did fine as did the courgettes. Surprisingly the swedes and turnips grew well in the claggy part of the allotment. Our peas went over but that was my fault as we were away so didn't get picked early enough. Oh yes and my onions very strong flavour and huge! 

I rotate my crops but don't think there can be much goodness in the soil after all of this rain, the allotment is northish facing and has been uncultivated and covered with really gruesome rotten old carpets which were a slug haven, (still battling them) for about 4years.

appreciate the comments. 

26/02/2014 at 20:18

What exactly didn't do well as everything you mentioned seems to have been fine.

Did you do a Ph test?

27/02/2014 at 16:03

Brassicas, carrots, celery and things in the poly tunnel but I guess they may have been late in and cold.

sorry I forgot to say what didn't do well.....I'm blonde!!!

27/02/2014 at 16:05

Oh yes no ph done is this essential?

27/02/2014 at 17:59

I think you're worrying unnecessarily.    Farmers who rely on heavy doses of nitrogen to increase intensive yields on light land may be worried about the leeching of soluble nutrients on flooded land.  

I don't think that farmers who practise a more holistic form of agriculture and have improved the structure of their soil with the application of manures will be too worried - and I'm from a farming family.  

As I said, some Fish Blood and Bone will provide a balance of nutrients not contained in the manures that you've used - I would use a good sprinkling before sowing/planting.

You can do a ph test - the kits are cheap enough at the garden centre, but it's not essential.  It might be helpful if you want to plant things that definitely prefer an acid or alkali soil, but otherwise not essential in my opinion. 

Oh, and I was blonde - but have now 'embraced the silver' 

27/02/2014 at 19:01

I find brassicas difficult and celery impossible!

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