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How much compost do I incorporate into my garden

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I have an area of 30 square metres of garden in which I grow vegetables (onions from sets, peas, runner beans, broad beans etc). I have grown on the same ground for over 40 years with quite good success. But in recent years the results have not been so good; in fact one could say that the crops have failed this year. They germinated then failed to grow further. The soil now seems to have lost its "body". I am thinking of digging in some compost from a bag of 75 litre size of the 'Levington' type. How much of such compost do you recommend that I dig in to give the soil sufficient 'body'? I was thinking of 2 bags per square metre. Is that too much or not enough? At what time of the year would such an exercise best be done? I live in the countryside in the midlands 20 miles north of Birmiingham and the ground has an open aspect - there is a 12 acre field adjoining my ground.



do you rotate your crops, or have you got in to the habit of puting the same things in the same place every season, and we have had a dry summer, I think that even so a well roted manure would be better at this point and I would give it alight covering now' then in the spring anothe dressing and dig it in, and if you dont allready think about moveing your crops around,

15 Oct, 2009


I agree with Cliffo about crop rotation and well rotted manure would help, perhaps even some top soil is needed. Also if your garden now has poor quality soil use a soil testing kit as you may find other problems that can be solved at the same time such as specific nutrients . Give it a rest and aim to put back rather than take out.

15 Oct, 2009


I agree with Cliffo and Drc - crop rotation is vital as is regularly adding compost to your soil. Compost everything of your own that you can - it will help to return the nutriments back to t he soil. You might want to consider giving the whole, or at least part, of your veg plot a complete rest next year. Sow with a green manure crop such as Phacelia and dig this in once it has flowered. As you live in the country do try to get hold of some well rotted (those being the operative words) farmyard manure that you can dig in too.
The soil is like ourselves if it isn't fed, or only poorly fed, eventually it gets sick. Farmers get away with this by using huge amounts of artificial fertilisers this do nothing for the actual soil quality simply allow them to continue to grow their mono culture crops.
This website gives a clear example of four year crop rotation
Good luck Peter

15 Oct, 2009


If you can't get manure and don't have garden compost then I would buy soil conditioner rather than compost. The soil conditioner is rather rougher than compost and has more humus. You can then feed the soil with bone meal or fish, blood and bone.
And, yes, rotation.

15 Oct, 2009

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