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I am totally new to gardening so please bear with me.
After living in our current property for a little over four years now my wife and I decided that it was about time to create a nice welcoming area out in our back patio, which has been completely slabbed over since the house was built some twenty years ago.
I have lifted some of the slabs and cut others to create a nice shaped area and put in some edging at what will be the front of the bed.
Luckily on lifting the slabs I found that they where not mortared down but just laid on top of sand.
The soil below is rather clumpy and at one end seems more like clay.
We have been digging the soil over with a fork and this seems to be effective in slowly breaking up these clods.
Because we are raising the bed all over and actually making it quite high at the back, we need a little advice as to what to use to fill the bed.
We can get hold an unending supply of well rotted horse manure but guess that this on it's own would not be sufficient.
To bulk up the bed is it wise to incorporate the manure with compost and fork all this in with the current soil?
Any help would be appreciated.
I would use some good quality top soil (rather than compost) with your well rotted manure - depending on the amount you need you can buy topsoil in bags like compost from garden centres. I use a mix of about 50:50 in my vegetable raised beds. If you need several bags you might be able to negotiate a deal - it's always worth trying. If you need a lot you can buy topsoil in one tonne bags, like you get builders' sand in.
I think it might be an idea to dig some grit into the bottom, especially the end with the clay, before filling up the bed with topsoil and manure, to improve drainage and avoid any waterlogging in the future.
Work out how much topsoil you need - you may be surprised - and see if it would be worth buying it in bulk rather than in bags. You should be able to get a tonne of ordinary soil for £30 or a high quality sieved product for £60. Look at the product before you agree to buy it and don't accept the delivery if it doesn't match what you've seen.