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Taking care of your Soil using Manure, Compost, Crop Rotation & Natural or Artificial Fertilisers

North Bournemouth Allotment Society Limited

Cornelia Road, Wallisdown, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH10 4FG

There have been Allotments at the Priestley Road site since the early 1920.   Any soil used continuously to provide fruit and vegetables over a long period of time will needs continuous attention to ensure that it remains fertile.    As Plot holders we can help to maintain and improve the fertility of our soil in many ways.

1.   The addition of Farmyard Animal Manure or Garden Compost to the soil not only improves the nutrient content but also improves the soil texture by adding valuable humus to the soil.   Humus acts in two main ways to improve the soil, it acts partially as a sponge retaining and releasing water and opening up the structure of the soil, secondly it helps improve the base habitat for micro-fauna (microscopic animals which are essential for healthy soil).   See separate guide to manure and compost.

2.   By the addition of natural fertilisers like Bonemeal, Bloodmeal, Blood, Fish and Bone, Chicken Manure Pellets and Seaweed.  They tend to dissolve and release nutrients more slowly in the soil than artificial fertilisers.

3.   By adding straight artificial chemical fertilisers like Sulphate of Ammonia, Nitrate of Soda, Superphosphate, Sulphate of Potash, these fertilisers only add one of the NPK compounds to the soil.

4,   By adding compound artificial fertilisers. These compound artificial fertilisers are blended to add a combination of straight fertilisers to the soil.   They may be general purpose or balanced to suit a particular type of crop.   Growmore and Potato Fertilisers would be good examples.

5.   By using Liquid plant food.   These are either fairly specific in their use, such a Tomato Food or General such a liquid Growmore. They have the advantage that they are watered directly onto the soil and quickly absorbed by the plant roots.

6.   By using a Foliar Spray.   These have the advantage of speed, they are absorbed by the leaves in hours rather than days, but the effect is often fairly short lived.

7.   By practicing simple crop rotation (see crop rotation guide). Crop rotation helps to control pests and diseases as well as allowing a more balanced demand for nutrients loss and replacement in the soil.   

This is achieved by practicing 3, 4 or 5 year crop rotation plan, which would include planting legumes to improve Nitrogen content in the soil.  It also involves incorporating compost and/or farmyard manure to some parts of the plot each year.

8.   By using a more complex crop rotation system aimed at improving soil nutrition and condition, which involves all the items listed above but also includes, growing and incorporating Green Manure crops.

Click on

Care of the soil in the navigation bar and a selection of pages will be made available.

They include

Fertilisers & Manure

Making Compost

About NPK numbers

Individual Fertilisers NPK numbers.

The Guides are in the process of being added to and updated.

Roger Whitehead