have a property in Westport that we previously rented out.
The soil has been much improved by previous tennants who I can no
longer locate. It appears that the siol is a mix of horse
manure/grass clippings and sawdust. Can you please let me know
if this would be correct and at what ratios? Would I need to add
anything to the mix prior to adding to garden, such as lime, etc?
asked Ingrid Ennis, our resident soil expert for her advice. Ingrid
I would recommend a soil
test first to figure out nutrient status and pH of the soil. Then
a decision can be made about whether lime is needed or further nutrients.
The best thing to do is to get a soil test done by the local horticultural
or agricultural supplies merchant, rather than use garden centre
kits. Normally an organic mix such as the one described will
be slightly acidic.
If the soil is within
the optimal pH range for your plants then you are unlikely to need
lime. Most plants grow well in a pH range of 6-7. However,
it may pay to check what your plants require.
If I was going to add
sawdust, grass clippings and horse manure to a soil I would do it
in the following ratio:
Horse manure 60%
Grass clippings 20%
or 3:1:1 in the order
listed above and well mixed.
Then I would leave it
to settle for at least a month before I planted into it, with a
thin (0.5 cm) layer of grass clippings on top. This helps to protect
the organic matter in the horse manure from break-down by UV rays.
by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor
of Resource Management.
with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH