New Year’s Groundwork

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Dear Organic Gardener,

Here we are at the start of a New Year and a new decade — a very good time to kick the credit crunch into touch and look at growing some of your own nutritious vegetables and beautiful flowers.

As with so many things, much depends on good groundwork and getting your soil into the right shape for the flowers and vegetables you want.  What type of soil do you have?  How can you improve its structure?  Your plants take up nourishment from the soil and they in turn nourish you and your family.  So it’s crucial to get your soil into good shape and then match your plants to its condition, position and texture.

Your soil test will reveal your starting point.  Chalky? Sandy? Clay? Acid? Alkaline?  Basically you are aiming for an open soil texture to promote good drainage, slightly acid.  As soon as temperatures will permit, dig over to get rid of weeds and in the process break up the soil.  Better water access encourages fertility and good drainage ensures that roots don’t rot.  Then add loads of organic goodies to the soil.  Dig in humus, compost and manure.  Home made is best but you can get excellent soil improvers in bulk bags from your local garden centres.  Then there’s all that wonderful good exercise from digging it all in!  Freeee!! Here’s where friends, parents and children can very usefully lend a hand too.  Every little helps as they say:  benefits every way … now for a nice cup of something!  What better start for a great New Year?  Happy organic gardening one and all.

Take it easy in all ways,

Arabella

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