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Soil and Drainage

Some tips on soil, water and drainage

Erosion

If the garden is on a slope and you have a furrow for an edging, you may get erosion there after heavy rain. Placing a few rocks down the length of the furrow to interrupt the water flow will often fix the problem. Allowing creepers to wander out of the garden into the furrow helps too. Or grow them in the furrow and gently coax them back into the garden, as they grow longer.

Boggy Back Yards

If your back yard is boggy, it could well cost a small fortune to have it professionally drained. Why not go with nature and grow the type of plants that love boggy conditions? There are many beautiful and unusual plants that would be suitable. If you find the low spot and scrape it out even more, you may be able to create a natural pond. Stepping-stones placed throughout will help you to care for it without getting bogged yourself.
 
If you are getting boggy areas right through your block and under the house it’s not so good. Investigate to see where it is coming from. If it is run-off from other housing blocks or a park, you may be able to dig a trench on the topside of your block to drain the water away. You don’t leave the trench sitting there of course, but fill it in with pea gravel so that water will drain along it and out faster than it can soak through into your ground.

Before you Plant
 
Before you plant a garden, you need to find out what type of soil you have. Sandy soil is usually found in coastal areas. Water drains out of sandy soil quickly and often leaches out the nutrients, so add lots of mulch and manure. At least it is easy to work, unlike clay soil that is heavy to work and gluggy when wet. Clay soil needs lots of plant material added to it to help break it up. Horse manure is better than cow manure as it is more fibrous.

Soil Types

There are many soil types in between those two. You can have sandy loam, loam and clay loam; all can be used successfully in the garden. Nutrients are an important part of any soil structure. Without the proper nutrients plants will not thrive. Nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous are considered to be the three main nutrients essential for plant life, but of course there are many others that are required in varying amounts.

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