Feeding the soil is the process of adding organic matter to improve its nutrient value, water retention and structure. Organic matter comes in many forms, from home-made compost to well-rotted manure (horse and pig and pelleted chicken manure are popular for feeding garden soils). You can also grow green manures, which you sow on bare patches of earth and then dig into the soil before they flower.
Oorganic matter is also available in the form of slow-release fertilisers or blood, fish and bone. Organic liquid fertilisers can work to feed the soil but they are mostly taken up immediately by plant roots, therefore giving little back to the soil. Lastly, the ‘chop and drop’ system of mulching soil with chopped up leaves or grass clippings can also work well, offering a natural, slow-release solution to dry, weedy, nutrient-poor soils.
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