li it can be so arranged, you should rotate crops in the borders; tor example, grow tomatoes in the cast border in year one, in the west border in year two, and in the north border in year three. If the benching is fitted down one side only, move it to the other side every other year.
The preparation ot the border soil is much the same tor almost all food Crops. It is important to appreciate that the border isa comparatively small area that is being intensively cultivated, so thorough preparation is essential, I >ig the soil one spit deep (the depth ot' the blade of the spade). Il the subsoil is compacted and therefore likely to impede drainage, break it up by forking, taking care not to bring subsoil to the surface, for roots go down a long way. ! Jig plenty of bulky organic matter such as rotted farmyard manure, compost, or peat into the topsoil, It the soii is very poor you should seriously consider replacing it. or working in John limes potting compost, or even growing your crops in containers. The majority ot plants do not like very acid soils and it may he necessary to add lime. The acidity/alkalinity level can be checked with an inexpensive soil pH testing kit; the optimum level tor most greenhouse crops (including flowering plants) is slightly acid, a />11 of 6,5.
During the course of ,1 season the border subsoil tends to dry out to some extent and winter 'flooding' is an essential part of border preparation. Using a hosepipe fitted with a rose, a garden sprinkler with a fine spray, or other types ot overhead irrigation, thoroughly soak the border, ensuring that the water gets down to the subsoil. Do this soon after digging is completed and allow several days tor the surface soil to dry out betore applying a base dressing ot general fertilizer. This will need to be worked into the top few inches ot soil at least three days before sowing or planting.
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