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Morning, I have moved house and inherited a gravel garden!!!!! We have moved some of the gravel, all of the black weed suppressant, my husband has built some raised beds, using pretend railway sleepers, he has filled them in with top of my questions is should I improve the topsoil before planting anything. I have very basic knowledge of gardening.....very keen but no background of how to start from scratch! Any advice would be much appreciated.


Hi Barbara, yes, it's best to do it now before you start planting.  If you can lay your hands on (not literally of course!) some well-rotted manure and dig this in well to the topsoil it will provide many years of nutrients for your plants.  You can even buy this ready bagged from garden centres and online these days.  If you can't find any, then get some fish, blood and bone fertilizer and fork this in using the dosage recommended on the packet.  That also lasts a long time but you will need to sprinkle a bit over the top of the soil each spring to keep everything happy (in fact, do that even if you add the manure after the first year as plants in raised beds do tend to use up the available goodness pretty quickly.)  


Good morning Barbara and welcome - you may be a 'basic gardener' but you've obviously got the Under Gardener well trained  

Filling the raised beds with topsoil is good - forking in some well rotted farmyard manure (obtainable in bags from garden centres) will be even better - I'd put a layer of 3 to 4 inches of the aforesaid manure on the beds and fork it in - that and a sprinkling of Fish, Blood and Bone (also available from garden centres) and most plants will be very happy indeed. 

Many thanks Bob, I am glad I thought I would need something, especially after all the rain we've had! I live nr Manchester. We have not had as much as some poor people!! Looking forward to getting stuck in. Many thanks Barbara.


Thank you to garden center as I type.....x

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