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Improving soil quality

I am trying to improve the soil quality of one of my gardens — should I use a compost or another option? I have available to me, at a low cost, horse manure. The garden has a few young natives in it and I am wanting to plant flowering plants there as well.


Yes, horse manure is very good for the garden. Make sure it is well rotted, though, and not fresh. Fresh manure will burn plant roots. If the horse manure has sawdust with it, make sure the sawdust is from untreated timber.

Compost, peat, lawn clippings, straw, rotted hay and silage, to name a few, are all good for the garden to build up the soil. Sheep manure pellets and Garden Galore are also good additions to improve soil structure.

Horse manure (and other organic materials, like compost, etc) is high in nitrogen and good for plant growth.

You may like to add to the soil before planting an application of either a general garden, rose fertiliser, Magamp or Osmocote at the recommended rate.

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

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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Last updated: June 27, 2005