Heavy or Sticky Clay Soil

To improve soil that is heavy and wet, the addition of gypsum will help but can take more time. A quicker additional response would be to add lots of organic matter such as compost and coarse sand. This needs to be forked well over, to mix and break up the heavy clay. The most effective material locally to Motueka is decomposed granite, readily available from house excavations around Kaiteriteri. A few barrow loads of the granite worked into the soil makes a radical improvement to drainage and workability of the soil. Use this in addition to the above. 


As far as we have seen, virtually all the soils in the region are short of the trace elements boron, sulphur and manganese. Sprinkling a handful of general fertilizer with added trace elements per square metre will help. Also, most soils around the region are acidic unless they have been farmed or gardened previously. Add a couple of handfuls of lime per square metre and mix in. Check your plants requirements before you add, as some plants prefer acid conditions.

Animal manure is nature's best fertilizer, though grazing animals manure is usually full of grass seeds and other weeds that might also introduce new weeds to your garden. So making it heat up by building a compost heap, can help sterilize it first, before adding to the soil.


Don't allow weeds to get past the small stage before either hoeing or pulling them by hand, they rob the nutrients and compete for light and water. By pulling them small before they seed you can add them to the compost heap, to rot down for next season's crops. 

Remember, allowing weeds to seed makes for lots more work next season. If you never allow weeds to seed in your veggie plot, after a couple of years you'll really notice less each year. It only takes a few minutes each week to keep your vegetable plot completely clear of weeds.