Allotment and Garden Guides

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The importance of Lime

Posted by Wartime Gardener

Lime is of great importance to the garden. Decaying vegetable matter and certain fertilizers tend to make soils acid or “sour”. This is bad for plant growth, so lime must be added to make the soil sweet. Do not add too much, for plants grow best in a neutral soil. Lime contains calcium and this is a plant food. Lime or chalk also improves the texture of clay soils, making it easier to get good tilth.

So do not neglect to lime your land if it needs it ; but do not overdo it. As a general rule the vegetable garden benefits from a dressing of lime every third or fourth year. Lime is particularly good for crops of the cabbage family and helps to control “club root”. So lime the part of the plot on which these crops are to be grown. In fact, it is a good plan to lime a third of the plot each year, so that the whole plot will be limed once in three years. Apply the lime after you have finished digging. Do not apply it at the same time as farmyard manure. Fork it in lightly or let it lie on the surface to be washed in by rain.

If you are uncertain whether or not your soil needs lime, ask some knowledgeable person to advise you – your local Parks Superintendent or the county Horticultural Officer at the County Council Offices in your county town.

Gardening societies, which bulk their orders so that they amount to not less than 2 tons, can get lime for food production at half-price under the Government’s Land Fertility Scheme, if the society is registered as an approved association under the scheme. You can get particulars from the Agricultural Lime Department (U.K.) of the Ministry at Hotel Majestic, St. Annes, Lytham St. Annes, Lancs.

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