‘The Good Life Part Two – Compost’

by Jo Tytherleigh

Depending on where you are gardening the soil can be either acid (soil over marshland or ancient woodland) or alkaline (soil over limestone or chalk). This is known as the soil PH.

It is easy to buy a simple kit to assess the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. This will help you to understand which plants will grow well in the soil type you have. However, most plants (apart from some really fussy ones) will grow and adapt to most soil types.

More important to look at is the soil texture. Plants thrive in a good loam with equal amounts of clay, sand and organic matter, that breaks down to form a rich humus.

To get such a loam our gardens need to have regular input of organic matter.

In nature this happens naturally. A hedgerow thrives because the leaves fall from the branches and rot down to feed the roots of all the plants that grow there throughout the year. The leaves gradually form a nutrient rich humus that builds up over time and the hedgerow remains fertile and vibrant year after year.

In our growing spaces we need to keep inputing if we want our plants to retain their vibrancy.

How do we do this?
The answer is compost. As much well rotted decomposed organic matter that we can get onto the earth as we can.

Compost will be full of the macro nutrients that we mentioned in the last post and many other trace minerals that are important for plants growth too.

Making your own compost is free food for the garden. On our September course we will be looking at various methods of making compost, including liquid feeds, green manures and various mulches that all add to the goodness in the earth. Remember the more vitality we put into the soil, the more vitality we can get out of it!

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