new built house garden - getting the soil ready for planting

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cstr
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new built house garden - getting the soil ready for planting

Postby cstr » Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:44 am

Hello

We have just moved in a new build house with a really nice size garden. We are very keen on planting some fruit trees by the fence (trained, probably fan), planting some spring bulbs (asap), installing a cedar wood green house and few vegetable beds.

Are there any tips you can give us to prep the soil before planting our trees? We are hoping to get them bare root as it is the right season but I am a bit worried we need to give the soil a bit of time before it is ready (if there is such thing).

The garden has been set with turf in the summer and the turf looks quite healthy but is a bit waterlogged. It did not stop raining since when we moved in in October. (North Yorkshire).

Also, any tips on prepping the soil for the spring bulbs (within the lawn) and vegetable beds (lift the lawn and make some trenches around it to avoid water logging). would be very much appreciated.

Thank you all
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Monika
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Re: new built house garden - getting the soil ready for planting

Postby Monika » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:14 pm

Welcome, Carmen, I hope you will get answers to your questions and all the help you need!

Is your new garden flat or on a slope? Which direction is it, N, S, E or W? If there is a slope, you might want to put in a pond in the lowest part to drain the water of the rest, before you do anything else.

Presumably, the site was a field before the houses were built? Builders tend to scrape off all the top soil, pile it up and then spread it out again after the building is finished (just over the compacted subsoil), so you won't really know what there is under the freshly lawned garden. I would first of all dig holes where you intend to plant the fruit trees, then wait what happens when it rains hard. If the holes fill with water, you might have to raise that area. If they are fit to plant, I would mix some potting compost into the dug soil together with some bonemeal.

Bulbs are pretty resilient and planting them now will give you flowers next spring, but if the conditions are not to their liking, they may not flower again.

For the vegetable beds, I would stake out the beds how and where you eventually want them, dig that area over and probably cover all the beds with a good layer of manure and black plastic for the winter. By next spring, you should have some decent soil to get going. If the soil is VERY claggy (being in Yorkshire, you will know what I mean), you may be restricted to growing things like potatoes, brassicas and broad next year rather than the more delicate veggies!

No doubt, there will be much cleverer people giving you lots of advice ........
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Re: new built house garden - getting the soil ready for planting

Postby Westi » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:53 pm

Welcome to the forum Carmen!

I'm not clever but many years ago I bought a new build - still my home. Every thing was fine for years, but wished I had a Monika to advise me as I have a big issue now with water pooling which was just puddle previously. I dug down last year to & found big bits of concrete & bits of bricks, obviously compacted now & slowing the drainage but way too many to clear. I haven't had any problems with the fruit trees & loads of bulbs but then their roots will go around to go down.

I'd do raised beds for the veg, looks neat & tidy & you can be creative with the design & give them soil they need. Good Luck!
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Re: new built house garden - getting the soil ready for planting

Postby Primrose » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:16 pm

Welcome to the forum. I hope your experience of creating a new garden in a new build house was better than ours !

Our experience was that we were left with a earth surface which had been levelled but nothing else, and actually there was still a huge amount of rubble left in the ground under the surface of the soil, including incidentally half of the remains of an old concrete air raid shelter from WW2, which had just been covered up. We hadn't realised it was there until a large area of lawn flooded every time it rained and we had no alternative in the end but to dig the turf up and remove the offending blocks of concrete !

So although you garden has been turfed, I would be wary of the surface over which it has been laid. It may well have been a "hurry up cover up job". If you have waterlogged areas, mark the areas with sticks and be prepared to dig up that area at a suitable dryer time, investigate what's underneath, removing any large pieces of rubble, and re-lay the grass. It will be a messy job but if you have regularly waterlogged areas. this is the only long term solution.

As regards your vegetable beds, be certain to see where the sun rests on the ground throughout the year and pick the sunniest spot. Building a veg plot in a shady area will mean that you have a lifetime of unsatisfactory crops for all your efforts. Be prepared to add plenty of manure and humus in the early stages as I doubt that after all the construction work, there will be little quality soil left.

Remember that if you plant bulbs in your lawn, especially bigger daffodil bulbs, you'll have to leave the leaves to die down until the middle of June before you can mow that area of grass, otherwise you will kill them so be sure you can live with an area of untidyness for that long in the season.

Good luck. I hope you have many years of pleasure from your new garden.
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Re: new built house garden - getting the soil ready for planting

Postby cstr » Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:02 pm

Oh wow!!

Thank you all ever so much!! Heavens, I did expect some of these issues with the new build (been watching Gardens World for ever, dreaming one day I will get to have my own) but it just became real hearing from all of you! No worries, best to be warned. So thank you ever so much for sharing yoru experience with me.

Brilliant advice with the slabs of concrete. I definetly did not think sof that. I expect some rubble underneeth the lovely grass.

I have been watching the garden quite closely since we moved (early Oct). It did not stop raining since (or definetly feels like that!). So I used that as a good opportunity to investigate the 'waterloginess' (!?). So far it looks pretty muddy/damp but no puddles.

The garden is flat (ish) and it has been build on what previously was a field. I might put a pond in anyway as I just love them and hopefully will get some wildlife in to help with the slugs. It is north facing but there is enough room between my house and the ones at the back so in the summer it did get a fair amount of sun. We visited at various times of day as the garden was my main criteria for the house. In my previous house I grew brasiccas and rhubard in a small patch in a north facing terraced house with much more shade so I am quite hopeful. But you are right and I have marked the sunniest spot for my greenhouse.

I shall get some manure for the veg beds (if this rain ever stops). I remember from my allotment days that I should not dig anything whilst the ground is soacked. And I shall have them raised. I liek a tidy garden. But not too tidy.

I have already warned my husband he will have to cope with not mowing the front garden patch whilst the dafs still have leaves. He is on board with it all. I will also plant some tullips to keep it nice. Really the plan is eventually to replace all lawn with lovely bed and plants but it will take time.

Oh this is so exciting, I have my homework, shopping list and off I go (as soon as it stops raining for 5 mins so I can start digging). I am fully prepared it will not be 100% succesful from the first attempt but I am not giving up. I have been waiting for this garden for way too long.

Again, thank you lovely people for your sound advice and encouragement!
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cstr
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Re: new built house garden - getting the soil ready for planting

Postby cstr » Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:36 pm

(I wrote a reply before and thought I posted it but can't see it here yet so just in case...)

Thank you all for the sound advice and encouragement!

The garden is flat, built on an old farm field, North facing but there is quite a bit of room between our house and the houses at the back. In my old house I managed to grow quite few brassicas, strawberries and a lovely rhubarb in a North facing front terraced yard so I am quietly optimistic. Also, we did come at various times of day in the summer and we do seem to get a fair amount of sun (if it is one of those days). I have already marked the sunniest spot for the greenhouse and the veg beds are going on the side of the garden with the most sun.

Thank you all for the advice on the potential surprises underneath the lovely turf. We moved Oct 1st and it seems like the rain did not stop since. So far the garden is soaked but there are no puddles. I am fully prepared that some sort of drainage will need to be put in place as I am expecting the ground not to be perfect for planting. But that is a brilliant idea with digging the holes and leaving it for a bit see how it copes.

I have already warned my husband that the front lawn is out of action whilst the daffs still have leaves and he is happy with it. He knows the drill from the old house. The plan is eventually we will have replaced all lawn with lovely beds, but that will take time.

I will have a think about the raised beds. Probably will go for it. I like the garden organised (but not too tidy) and also it sounds like I will be quite busy with uncovering surprises before planting the trees. Having said that, I really like the idea of a small pond.

We are super excited to finally get the garden space we dreamt off for years now. I had some reasonable success with an allotment years ago and, whilst I know that we will need to pace ourselves and expect there will be some casualties on the way, we are really keen to get started.

So thank you all ever so much for taking the time to share your experience and provide me with such useful advice.

I now have my To Do list and my shopping list. As soon as the rain stops for a refill, I'll get on it!

Thank you all
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Re: new built house garden - getting the soil ready for planting

Postby Colin2016 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:21 pm

For veg raised beds, lay cardboard then fill with manure & compost and leave over winter to let the worms do there work.

Check out Charles Dowding videos on how successful this is.

Good luck Carmen.
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cstr
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Re: new built house garden - getting the soil ready for planting

Postby cstr » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:01 am

Thank you Colin! Lunchtime activity, sorted ;-)

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Re: new built house garden - getting the soil ready for planting

Postby Stephen » Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:51 pm

Hi Carmen

Welcome. As you say you are north facing, you will get some shade.

My allotment rises to the south and has large trees on the other side of the border at that end (so I get lots of lovely leaf mould) I faced the challenge of finding things which accept shade and it is not neccesarily disappointing. In the shadier areas I grow rhubarb (which loves lots of manure), gooseberries and red currants.
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Re: new built house garden - getting the soil ready for planting

Postby Primrose » Sat Nov 09, 2019 3:39 pm

This is such an exciting time for you and i hope you have lot of fun. Making a garden
N is always work in progress and the good thing is that if something fails there's always another year and another chance to make a fresh start.
There's nothing like being a gardener for developing the art of patience. In a consumer world that now demands instant gratification, gardening and growing is still one factor that always insists on moving at its own pace and can't be hurried !
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Re: new built house garden - getting the soil ready for planting

Postby Stephen » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:56 pm

There's nothing like being a gardener for developing the art of patience. In a consumer world that now demands instant gratification, gardening and growing is still one factor that always insists on moving at its own pace and can't be hurried!

Absolutely right. The wonderful thing about gardening is that there is always something to do. The worst thing is that there is always something more to do.
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Re: new built house garden - getting the soil ready for planting

Postby Diane » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:12 am

Welcome Carmen - wishing you well with your garden. Always lots to do - just take your time and be flexible with your plans. And take care of your back.

Of course, you know we all expect progress pics :D
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