As the autumn months approach and we start to think about having a clear up of our garden space ready for winter months; it’s a great time to think about your soil.
"Soil?" you say! Well yes, soil, this simple (or so we think), garden medium needs to be cared for just as much as the plants we grow in it. The better the soil the better the quality of vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers and other plants we get out of it.
Soil is made up of many different elements, including nutrients, which over time get used up or leached out from the topsoil. We need to preserve and replenish the soils nutrients to help put back what we took out to produce amazingly healthy plants, we call this soil improving.
To look after soils (which are not being used to grow winter veg) and prepare them for the next growing season, think about covering the soil.
Try mulching the area with manure or compost or use a green manure such as Forage pea, winter tares, or field beans, which are fast growing plants that smother weeds returning valuable nutrients in to the soil whilst improving the structure of the soil. Clever little things!
Alternatively you can just mulch with bark, this wont add any nutrients but will keep soils warmer and prevent / reduce weed growth.
If you have a clay soil then digging over can be carried out in autumn, doing so will open up the soil to the winter frosts which will help break up the heavy clay into a finer tilth for next spring.
If you have light sandy soils then digging can be done in spring or autumn.