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Lawsons are the largest independent timber, building & fencing merchants in London and the South East of England. Established in 1921 Lawsons now have a number of branches offering the complete range of building materials.

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How to Improve Your Garden Soil

Good soil is the foundation for any successful growing project, whether you want to improve your borders or even start growing your own food. Britain’s land is hugely varied, so it’s important to pay close attention to your soil before you start planting to ensure that it drains well, allows room to grow, and has the nutrients you need for your chosen plants to grow.

Use Good Topsoil

Topsoil is a simple fix in many cases. If your soil is very shallow or if you’d like to fill some planters, this is what you need on the top layer to give your plants the best start. Topsoil can be screened – which means it’s free from stones, roots, and weeds – which is ideal for projects where quality is more important than quantity. If you just need to fill large areas, economy topsoil is usually the best choice.

Using pre-bought top soil means that you won’t need to till it quite as much, can have a top layer that’s free from weeds or rocks, and don’t need to break up lumps of clay or worry that the soil is preventing growth. However, topsoil doesn’t necessarily have enough nutrients to properly sustain your plants and let them thrive, which is why it’s important to use compost in conjunction with it.

Create a Compost Heap

Composting is probably one of the best-known gardening practices, and it’s a fantastic way of increasing the amount of organic matter (and nutrients) in your soil without having to spend anything on your garden. Even better, you reduce waste in your home and be more environmentally-friendly in the process.

The aim of composting is to introduce more nitrogen and carbon back into your soil – you can do this by adding table scraps, fruit/vegetables, eggshells, leaves, grass clippings, wood ash, tea leaves, newspaper, and even dryer lint to your heap. It’s best to compost in a bin or container to stop the smell from seeping into the rest of the garden, but try to start your heap on bare earth to give worms and other organisms a way to aerate your compost heap.

Add Organic Matter Straight to the Garden

If you don’t have the room for a compost heap or just don’t want the ongoing work of maintaining one, you can add scraps straight to your garden if you approach it intelligently. You can add finely-cut banana skins, coffee grounds, and egg shells straight to your soil without waiting for them to break down first.

Egg shells improve drainage in your garden and the calcium promotes plant growth, as well as helping to prevent blossom end rot in tomatoes and squash plants. They even work as a deterrent for slugs and snails that might ruin your crop.

Coffee grounds act as a fertiliser and add nitrogen to your soil, as well as keeping earthworms happy, while banana skins add a cocktail of different nutrients to the soil including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium – all of which help to keep your plants healthy and boost growth.