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By Taurman

Cork, Ireland Ie

Hello folks,
Hope you all had a great Christmas and are excited about a new year and the lengthening days.
I have a soil query - I am in a very acidic soil area and all the local vegetation/foliage bear witness to this. I have had my garden turned over as had building work and moved half the garden soil around and brought in loads of top soil some of which was of poor quality. I have also had many kind relatives deliver loads of soil to enable me create slightly raised beds to aid drainage so in all a very mixed collection of top soil with a decidely acidic base.
Q. If I create the raised flower beds with the exisitng soil mix I am unsure what will grow on it as its of such diverse origins (I haven't mixed the all up yet as have it in fifferent piles under plastic covers around the yard) so wondered if I should just start anew, ignore the provided soils and order in one that I can have more control over or alternatively mix them all up and then test the pH to determine what I can grow or what are the other options? Has anybody been in a similar situation and what was the outcome? BW



Hi, I've never been in that situation, but if ever I was, I think the first thing I would do, would be to test the ph of all the different piles, you may find they're all very similar, in which case, just use whatever you need to use, to raise the beds, then check the end ph of each bed, or you could find that they're very varied, in which case you have the option of having beds of different ph, and therefore growing plants which will suit each bed, {which is what I think I would do} or you can mix them all together, check the final ph, and plant accordingly, Derek.

29 Dec, 2014


And the majority of plants are not that fussy about pH, as long as the soil is not massively acidic or alkaline. You may struggle with Dianthus which do like lime, but generally it does not seem to matter. The soil in my garden varies from an acidic peat to a highly contaminated with lime mortar silt and we can grow most things in most places.

29 Dec, 2014


Thank you all, Owdboggy, I went to a few garden classes over the summer on garden design and the tutor had a lovely phrase which was something like 'you can put a great deal of hard work into making a miserable garden and you can have a wonderful garedn with little effort if you work with your environment'. Hope I am not being too literal by trying to have either lime or acidic loving plants? Your shades of grey is comforting.

29 Dec, 2014


Invest in a cheap pH meter - probably no more than 10€ - and check what you have in the piles.
Do you have a particular passion for plants that are happier with alkaline soils? I would suggest that the underlying, acidic soil will be the important factor unless you are adding a good foot or more of top soil.
You will be able to adjust the pH to some extent but in the long run you will be spending a lot of time, effort and money in trying to turn acid soil alkaline and keeping it that way. Far better, if you want lime-lovers, to grow them in pots. You might get away with them in the raised beds if the beds are deep enough.

30 Dec, 2014


My soils neutra/alkaline snd as is always the way I'd love to be able to grow rhododendrons and azaleas. .....oh and the gorgeous dky blue hydrangeas. .....
I grow what suits your garden and enjoy other peoples .......

30 Dec, 2014


Thanks Pamg, great to know that I am not alone in gardening in the wind.

30 Dec, 2014


No Taurman you aren't. Lots of wind here too.

30 Dec, 2014


Nominated Question for GoYpedia Acid Soil Plants.

30 Dec, 2014


Welll Pamg, having been watching 'Garden Revival' BBC 2, I can wholehartedly agree with your suggestion above, the range and colour of the plants Chris Beardshaw was promoting for acidic soil was an inspiration. BW

10 Jan, 2015

How do I say thanks?

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