Top up beds with compost in February


If you didn’t do it in autumn, then this is a job well worth doing this month, ahead of spring. Simply spreading a layer of compost or well rotted manure over the top of empty beds will do wonders for the soil in the coming season. With cold weather still to come, there is still time for frost to do the work of breaking down lumps as well, giving you a better texture to work with at planting time.

If you have covered a bed with polythene for the winter, simply pull back the polythene and spread the compost/manure over the soil. There is no need to dig it in. After a few frosts, just rake over the top to help those lumps break down and you will be ready to plant.

If you haven’t covered a bed but would like to get it ready for spring, it’s best to do a little light weeding ahead of adding the compost. Wait for a day when the ground is not too hard, and you should be able to easily pull up any weeds that have appeared over the winter months. Once the soil is more or less clear, add the compost. If the bed is very weedy, you may find it easier to dig up tougher roots like brambles and docks. If you do this, you may decide to dig over the entire bed, pulling up weeds as you go, and working the compost in with a garden fork.

A final option is to lay cardboard on top of soil, and then add a really good, thick layer of compost over the top of that. 10-15cm is ideal. The cardboard will break down over time meaning that you can plant directly into the compost. If this sounds interesting to you, you may want to read up on some of our previous posts about no-dig gardening below.

There’s really no right or wrong way to do it – the idea is simply to create a weed-free bed with well nourished soil before it comes to spring.

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