There are just two more weeks before the Royal Horticultural Society’s free soil sampling offer ends.
In order to grow plants that will truly thrive in the correct soil conditions, you need to know whether your soil is acid or alkaline and the RHS recommend testing every five years or when you originally design and plant your garden.
If you are starting off winter vegetables in your greenhouse, now is the time to be planting calabrese, French beans and parsley seedlings to mature indoors. Broad beans and peas can also be sown now to over-winter and be planted out once clay soils are more manageable in the spring – and once you have got the pH right! Don’t forget that if you have one of Gabriel Ash’s greenhouses with cold frames, you can harden off plants before introducing them to the outdoors.
To take advantage of the RHS offer, you should take five representative soil samples, six inches deep, from around your garden, mix them and bring a two-cupful sample to one of the four RHS Plant Centres. These are at Harlow Carr in Harrogate, Yorkshire, Wisley in Woking, Sussex, Rosemoor in Great Torrington, Devon and Hyde Hall in Chelmsford, Essex.
For details log on to http://www.rhs.org.uk/
Author: Robert Smith