Latest posts by BicesterTerrier

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Which tool to break soil the best

Posted: 19/10/2013 at 18:37

I decided to be impatient and get the first of the beds finished today, a large bag of farmyard manure and 1 1/2 of top soil went in, had a play with the tiller, made a right bloody mess, but got the bed down to a good consistency, very few "clay" pieces larger than 2-3cm, mostly less than 1cm. Had bought some onions and garlic earlier in the autumn so needed somewhere to put them, couldn't be bothered with tubs.

As for the second (larger) bed, if it is not raining tomorrow I am going to go out and dig it with a fork/spade, just turning the turf in and cover with topsoil, manure and organic compost, give it a little mix and leave nature to it over winter.


Which tool to break soil the best

Posted: 19/10/2013 at 09:52

There is still a product called clay breaker - - I had a read of the safety datasheet and it is just gypsum. Probably easier to buy this than gypsum though, someone has gone to the bother of pelletising it and giving useage rates.

Which tool to break soil the best

Posted: 18/10/2013 at 19:00

Thought I'd pop back with an update.

I bought the 800W tiller in the end. Now it is in no way intended to do the job I asked of it, but I managed to get reasonable results.

The tiller made a real mess, but scraped the turf off in no time, then whilst trying to wrestle it to keep it in one place decided there was no chance it was ever going to make it's own way through the clay soil. A quick dig with a fork to start to loosen the clay and give the tiller something to get it's teeth into and the results were surprising. Okay, there were a few (actually a lot) of stones in the ground which did make a racket and occasinally need me to stop and pick them out. Within no time at all (except the occasional bounce when it hit a stone) the tiller was throwing out small pea size lumps of soil. Unfortunately my Wife and 2yr old came home at that point so I decided it best to put it away, never got the chance to get it going on incorporating some topsoil or farmyard manure.

Sadly it's rained pretty much every day this week so the ground is a real mess, but I was out there earlier and a quick turn over with a fork returned a still loose although clay-y bed. If the weather stays dry overnight and into the morning I might see how we go at getting some topsoil and manure into it.

Then just the small matter of the larger bed, the one I dug last week is a triangle with 2m diagonals, this next one is larger.

I'll have a look at the YouTube link to the tips and see how I feel about trying that method.

The only downside to the tiller is that it does make a mess, throws the soil everywhere, decided to get some marine ply cut to the same width/length as the paths around and between the veg patch so I can cover them and just tip the soil back in once tilled.

Thanks again for all the advice, I'll try and get some pictures up.


Which tool to break soil the best

Posted: 10/10/2013 at 08:56

Thanks for all the advice. I was going thinking of leaving the veg patch until springh, but by the sound of things I could do alot worse than letting the winter at it. Might mean I have a bit more work to do over the weekend.

I am not afraid of a bit of hard work and appreciate the time it will take to get the garden up to a decent level, I am expecting this to be a yearly job, just wanted to find a way to avoid the acjing back and blisters from the fork. I have keyboard hands, not digging hands!

I might get out there and get it turned over with a fork and then look to get a tiller on it to brteak it, might look into hiring something.....

Thanks again!


Which tool to break soil the best

Posted: 09/10/2013 at 18:46

Waterbutts - thanks for the suggestion, you crazy, crazy person. Sadly the front garden bed is under the front window against the house, as much as I love a fire for no reason I think it would likely lead to divorce or at the very  least it would before the wife would speak to me (not all bad news then.......). Might have to rely on mechanical means.

I have so much clay I'd be as well spreading out a layer of charcoal over the garden and torching the lot!

Which tool to break soil the best

Posted: 09/10/2013 at 18:32

What would you consider large? I have a bed to finish of about 1m x 6m. I have a half finished bed that is probably 1.5m x 3.5m and then I have a yet to be determined veg patch. Although the area I have put aside for the veg patch (es) is a triangle - 12m wide at the base with 2 equal diagonals, distance from base to apex is around 5m. Was thinking a tool might help with the initial breaking up but would also come in handy year on year to get some nutrients etc well distributed.

Thanks for the link, I might have a look at that stuff for the smaller borders.

Which tool to break soil the best

Posted: 09/10/2013 at 11:35

I am looking at 2 very different tools to help me in the garden. I am in Bicester and on very heavy clay. I have partitioned the garden to give me some space for a veg patch in addition to the lawn. Currently the area is lawn, I plan to either lift or glyphosate the area to get rid of the lawn . I then plan on adding a lot of organic multi purpose, top-soil and farmyward manure to the area. I have dug 2 beds to date from the compacted garden and although turning with a fork and digging in the aove cocktail does break down the large clay clumps I am still left with golf ball (maybe tennis ball) size lumps with a nice mix of compost/topsil etc in and amongst.

Has anyone any experience of either of the tools below and whether they will help break down the clay further, or am I better getting on hands and knees and brekaing it by hand.

The front bed looks horrible tpo be honest with the large lumps on the top, but hopefully the wallflowers will hide the worst of it in the summer. Once I lift them next year I plan to go to work on the lumps.

I want to start to prepare the veg patch later this year into next year - I should add I have quite a lot of stone in the garden, not builders rubble, but from the farmers field the house is now on. Stones range from small 1/2"-1" up to 5-6", am I going to have problems with either.



palm has gone brown?

Posted: 15/04/2013 at 13:46

Eventually the leaves will go brown as the new growth comes, is it likely this is just the old leaves dying back. Do you have a photo you can add? How long since you "trimmed" the outer leaves back?

I had a couple of palms in the ground at an old house, sadly I did lose one to the winter. This went from the middle, the leaves as they grew did look healthy, but a quick tug at one in the middle and they whole heart cam out, it was rotten.

New build house, new build lawn - help to start off the right way.

Posted: 06/04/2013 at 13:35

After trying a couple of spots to get the aerator in I decided there is far too much stone under it, in fact there are patches browning already where I have discovered large stones close to the surface.

Plannign now to lift the lawn back and level using some top soil/John Innes 3 mix.

Upon rolling back the lawn in a few spots to see the stones I found a few little critters - see attached images - garden centre suggests the smaller ones are leather backs, anyone know how to treat them. What is the larger one?

Gonna be a long job rolling back all of the turf, but the amount of stone and crap from the 2-3 bits I have seen so far should make the effort worth it once I can have a nice lawn. Sorry knees!







New build house, new build lawn - help to start off the right way.

Posted: 29/03/2013 at 15:45

Bought a hollow tine aerator and plan to get out there as soon as the weather stands a chance of staying above freezing for a day or 2. Will buy some sand in the coming days, bought a hard wearing lawn seed to add into the mix to fill the gaps with.

Looks like there is quite a lot of stone under the lawn, tried to get the aerator into a couple of points and struck rock!

11 to 20 of 24

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