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Building raised beds - can I improve my heavy soil or just use compost?

(11 Posts)
TracyK Sun 24-Aug-08 12:55:31

I have an area about 3m wide by 10m long - with really heavy soil. Am going to slab it all and have raised beds. Is there anything I can do to improve the soil (being that there is loads of it!) - or just ditch it and use loads of compost?

nobodysfool Sun 24-Aug-08 16:41:20

I have an allotement and it has clay soil as well.
We dug in LOADS of well rotted horse manure a few months ago and now it's all crumbly and fine.

TracyK Mon 25-Aug-08 09:36:56

How much is loads? and do you have to do it every year?

nobodysfool Mon 25-Aug-08 10:06:32

This is the first year we have had the allotement but we used a bin bag full per 6ft x 4ft raised bed.
It has really made a difference.

missingtheaction Tue 26-Aug-08 16:49:58

are you going to put down slabs then raised beds on top with the old soil in them? why?

TracyK Tue 26-Aug-08 21:55:13

Put in raised beds - fill with the old soil (where else could I get rid of it?) then slab around the raised beds.

BigBadMousey Tue 26-Aug-08 22:04:11

No need to ditch it. If it is a heavy clay then add loads of well rotted manure and compost and you'll have the best soil ever grin.

What are you going to grow in them?

TracyK Tue 26-Aug-08 22:09:21

veggies/herbs/strawbs/rhubarb etc.

Will I need to renew with manure/compost every year?

Where would I get vast quantities of the stuff?

TracyK Tue 26-Aug-08 22:09:53

and what about sand - i've read somewhere that helps drainage?

BigBadMousey Tue 26-Aug-08 22:46:59

If it's heavy clay I wouldn't bother with sand. I'd just go for well rotted manure, compost and leafmould to improve the structure.

Once you've made the beds up them you can just top dress with manure / compost as neccessary - which is wha you would do with any kind of soil. The bulk of the work would be done when you make the beds.

If you haven't had a better reply, I'll get back to you tomorrow - have to take colic-monster to bed now.

TracyK Thu 28-Aug-08 21:13:21

Not really clay - just heavy soil iykwim. Hope colic monster is better soon.

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