It might not be easy to get perfect soil but you can make your soil a little more useful.

By adding organic material and constantly working your soil, you will improve it but it can be a slow job that takes many seasons.

Plants need air for their roots, water and nutrients – the basic building blocks to grow. This generally means a nice fluffy soil that is stuffed with organic material and different sized particles – some larger to allow excess water to drain away, and some smaller ones that encourages some water to seep really close to root hairs.

Clay soil is wet but has no air and is very cold. Sandy soil is dry because the water drains away too much.  Adding compost or well rotted manure to both soil types will improve them.  On really heavy clay I tend to build raised beds and make new soil by mixing compost and brought in loam, and just let it sit on the surface. Over the years, the clay has provided plenty of water and you get great results.

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Melanie Hancill

Journalist at Mirror
Sugar-free, home & garden writer for the Mirror and Sunday People news outlets.