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By Melisa

United Kingdom Gb

Hello, my garden has become non productive over the last few years, I have tried many different fertillisers to try to re nourish the ground but nothing is helping. I also used to empty the grow bags that I used to grow tomatoes in on the garden, the soil is very light, but i cannot get anything to grow, can anyone advise me what else i can try, as this is very frustrating. do i need to get my soil tested if so how would i go about this. Many thanks.



Horse manure and lots of it can help. You are doing the right thing with putting spent compost on the ground and working it in. Anything like this to increase the organic content will help.

I think the problem may be drying out as much as anything too. What exactly are you trying to grow? Soil sounds ideal for some things, especially many root veg.

Are there gardens near yours? and what do they grow in theirs?

7 Aug, 2010


If by light, you mean sandy, more organic matter is the cure. If by light you mean like a coarse, fast-draining potting soil, it may have too much organic matter, and digging deeper to bring up a little of the subsoil may be in order. It would also be useful to know what kinds and how much fertilizers you have been using.

7 Aug, 2010


Hello, Thank you for your replies to my question, in order for you to help me further here is the other information that you require:- I have been trying to grow runner beans, beetroot, onions, shallots, leeks, radish lettuce and potatoes. The fertilisers that I have used are YARA NPK PRILLED, (16-16-16), GROWMORE, AND CHICKEN MANURE IN PELLET FORM. (not all at the same time!) I don't know exactly how much I use, I generously cover the ground, then dig it in, after setting I put growmore on top. The soil in my area has a high clay content, but after digging in spent compost over the years my vegetable patch has become very light. By light I mean it turns over very easily, but could not describe it as either sandy or like coarse compost! It holds the moisture reasonably well as it is neither sodden or arid. There are other gardens by me and they produce well. The flowers have fallen off my runner beans but there are no beans behind the flowers. I just don't know what else to do. Please help!! Many thanks.

8 Aug, 2010


If the bean vines have been healthy, but they're just not forming beans after flowering, Moon_grower says that there have been weather problems preventing setting of pods on beans in the UK, this year. Weather may also be the problem with beetroot, radish. onion, leek, shallot, and lettuce: all of these need ample water to produce well, and there has also been a drought in the south, from what I hear. I confess that I don't know enough about potatoes to help you, there.

Another possibility, if you haven't been rotating your crops, you may have various diseases building up in the soil. I would make a rotation plan, and let the garden go fallow at least a year--maybe even solarizing, if you get enough sun--before implementing it.

The fertilizer sounds good, as far as type goes, but it sounds a bit heavy. When you talk of generously covering the ground, I worry. I would shoot for getting the pellets about 5 cm apart before digging in, and we use a lot of fertilizer, here.

Enumerating specific symptoms might help our diagnoses, too. I.e., "the lettuce turns brown on the edges", "the radishes never plump up", "the shallots vanish", that sort of thing. Hope some of this helps!

10 Aug, 2010


Thank you, yes your advice does give me something to think about, it does seem like I have used too much fertiliser!! I do rotate my garden every year. The lettuce did just vanish! Beetroot had great leaves but no beetroot, potatoes 2 or 3 potatoes under each stalk, raddish will not plump up, I did get some shallots that were ok-ish. Onions and leeks are very small. We are not in the drought area, and I keep my garden well hydrated. I think I will have to take your advise and leave the garden go farrow for a year. Could you tell me if I should use lots of horse manure in that period as earlier advised please. Many thanks for your trouble.

12 Aug, 2010


Lettuce has to run the gauntlet, here. The crickets get it when it first sprouts. If it survives that, the birds get it. What survives the birds is attacked by rabbits. Rrrrgghh!! This winter, I'm growing it in a cage! Horse manure is good, as long as it's well rotted--the raw stuff is full of weeds.

12 Aug, 2010

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