Food for the soil

Food for the soil
Hedgehog by Helen Ahpornsiri
                 Images courtesy of Helen Ahpornsiri

Give your soil generous amounts of organic matter, water content and aeration to support plant roots with the vital nutrients they need to thrive. Adding compost not only provides food for the soil, but also helps the soil to retain its moisture, improves its structure and allows air to circulate. You will also help the local hedgehogs who love nestling in compost heaps for shelter and natural food. Just take care when moving compost with forks and other equipment!

Dry soil can easily be blown away by strong winds and swept away by heavy rain. Bare soil is susceptible to erosion and nutrients being washed away. Adding mulch, such as leaves, grass clippings, and wood chips to the soil’s surface, will help protect the soil from winds, heavy rain, baking in the sunshine or frosting in the cold. Mulching also helps to lock in moisture by reducing water evaporation, plus it suppresses those niggling weeds. Adding a layer of green manure in the autumn will also help to protect against frost and heavy winter rains, whilst replenishing the soil with essential nutrients.

Create the perfect seedbed with a Winton Stone Burier (available in three sizes). A stone burier will break up the soil, bury stones and debris and make light work of grass and old vegetable stems.

Available in multiple sizes, our Winton Heavy Duty Rotovator and Rotary Tiller are perfect for cultivating compacted soil. They use a set of blades that twist and churn to allow air, water, and nutrients to nourish the earth, ready for seeding or re-planting. An alternative piece of equipment is a Deleks Cultivator, to stir and pulverise the topsoil in careful patterns, saving the crops but uprooting the weeds. Cultivators can also be used prior to planting to aerate the soil and prepare a smooth, loose seedbed.

Choose fruit trees and plants with larger roots to give your soil a more stable structure and help keep it in place during adverse weather conditions. Avoid planting on steep slopes, as keeping soil in place is difficult even with a regular amount of watering and weeding.

For an infusion of goodness, plant nitrogen-fixing lupines along your borders, peas and beans in the vegetable patch, and clovers in a flower-rich lawn – also a great source of nectar for insects.

Good water management is also essential for the soil. A Winton Pipe Layer is a useful piece of equipment for efficiently laying pipes to allow water to nourish soil and the root system of plants and trees.

Managing soil through the seasons and weather conditions can be complex and will also be affected by what you are growing.

For further information on any of the equipment featured in this article, please contact our friendly sales team Raj, Alexis, Tom or Jasmine on 01483 520510.

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