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Improving soil

We have recently moved house and I am in the process of replanting an old and very neglected vegetable garden. I have found a huge pile of 'rubbish' — tree prunings and heaps of old grass clippings, some of which has rotted down and is lovely and wormy — this has gone straight on the garden. My question is, while I am busy trying to increase the humous content of the garden, am I able to use such material as the silt that has gathered in our silt trap? It has been washed down the drive along with bits of soil and leaves.


Any well-rotted organic material can be used on the garden to improve the soil structure, silt from your silt trap is fine. Other materials that can be used are rotted lawn clippings, fallen autumn leaves, rotted animal manure (from chickens, cows, sheep and horses), old hay, straw (barley and pea straw are particularly good), silage (smelly but great for the garden), saw dust and wood peelings from untreated timber, bark, peat and compost. Newspaper or shredded paper can also be used. Make sure animal manure is rotted or composted first as fresh (green) manure burns plant roots.

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

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Last updated: August 25, 2005