Wednesday, 2 May 2012

turning sand into fertile soil (3)

Our sandy soil is being improved by the incorporation of well-rotted manure, leafmould and calcified seaweed.

We hope that this work improves the soil's ability to retain water, improves fertility and stimulates invertebrate and mycorhizal fungi.

'No-dig' methods should ensure that vital worm activity is encouraged and that this will allow the worms to bring extra fertility to the soil through the fertile gel they secrete as they pass through their undisturbed underground tunnels.

Growing plants in the newly-improved soil will allow the roots to create a good soil structure and prevent the leaching away of nutrients.

The final job will be to cover the soil with a thick mulch that will surpess weeds, add fertility and condition the soil ... and reduce water loss through evaporation.

This mulch is likely to be of home-produced compost .. and now it is time to build a big compost pile because the baby robins that were living in the pile of dried bracken have fledged and gone.

So, like a true professional I assembled my compostable material: dry bracken; leafy weeds; manure; grass cuttings; cardboard and paper; wood chippings; and wood ash.

I filled one section of our compost bins and will give this several weeks before moving it across into the next section so that air can speed the composting process.

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