Posted: 22/04/2016 at 16:35
I have been doing more or less what Mike has suggested for the last 3yrs in a garden where I had a lot of clay that I dug up when I put in walls and other structures in the garden. I get it as it comes from the farmer and just put in on straight away in the autumn and leave it. Its gone by the spring.
This year I did something different and what a difference its made in a fairly short period of time too. The 3rd application of manure went on last Mid / Late October 2015 then I dug what little was left of the manure in with an application of Lime in mid February 2016. Very quickly noticed a huge improvement in the soil.
As far as I'm aware you should not put Lime and Manure on at the same time as I believe they cancel each other out and I think you then get little or no benefit.
You calculate how much lime you need by doing several PH tests spaced out evenly through the area your concerned with and take an average value. I downloaded a chart from the RHS website that then tells you how much lime you need per square metre to achieve the ideal PH value you want to achieve 6 months or so after application.
Adding the manure and pea gravel the first 2yrs made a big difference but then applying the Lime made an even bigger improvement afterwards, in my case in the 3rd year after the first application of manure and pea gravel.
If I had to do this again I would probably apply Lime a lot earlier, Manure in October then Lime in February each year. I would do a set of PH tests before I applied Lime, the soil may not need it.