Gardening: Huw Richards' eight ways to enrich your soil on the cheap for winter
AUTUMN is when gardeners dig compost into their beds because the ground is still warm enough to work and the soil will be enriched over winter. Here are gardening YouTuber Huw Richards's eight ways for enriching your soil on a budget:
1. Hair: Visit a hair salon to get a bag of hair (but not dyed or bleached), which contains nitrogen. Give it a year to mature and then mix it into the compost with other materials.
2. Spent hops: If you have a local brewery, pick up some spent hops, which have been soaked for a long time. They are high in nitrogen.
3. Shredded paper: If you know of an office which shreds paper, pick some up to add to the mix. It contains carbon and also will help the soil retain moisture. Don't worry about the ink, which often contains micro-nutrients. However, don't use paper which has a gloss finish or is heavily inked, as this may contain toxins.
4. Coffee grounds: Ask a coffee shop for spent grounds. While fresh coffee grounds are acidic, used grounds are neutral. Spread handfuls around your plants like a mulch but not on soil around acid-loving plants such as rhododendrons, azaleas and blueberries.
5. Crushed eggshells: If you crush up eggshells to add to your compost, they provide a slow release of calcium, particularly beneficial for tomatoes.
6. Seaweed: Seaweed contains all the main elements to boost soil including nitrogen, potassium, phosphate, magnesium, iodine and calcium. Chop up it up and use it sparingly. Put it directly on to beds but don't place it in planting holes or directly on to plants as it is salty.
7. Wood ash: Don't use ash from a barbecue if you are using charcoal, but wood ash from hard woods is fine to add to compost. It tends to be a bit more acidic and is good for plants such as rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias.
8. Sheep's fleece: Lay sheep's wool down around perennial plants and add it to the compost bin. It contains nitrogen and, as an added bonus, deters slugs.