How to repair dry, tuckered out soil


oscillating sprinkler

Keeping soil moist through summer is not about litres and litres of water. It’s a team effort of grunty homemade compost, little and often watering, being weedfree, planting in guilds and at all times keeping the soil covered with mulch or a living mulch.

All these things come together so that even when it doesn’t rain for months, soil stays in good heart. Expect it to be a little tired and a little musty by Autumn for sure, but not completely knackered.

perfect beetroot sowing soil - friable and lush

Check soil moisture with this simple test. If its dry, the microbes will have migrated and you need to entice them back before you plant or sow. Begin by getting moisture levels back up. If you have enough water or there’s rain in the forecast, clear the bed and give the soil a good soak. If neither of these things is true for you choose the 3rd option in my list below.


trenching foodscraps

OM is as good for your soil as it is for your soul. OM is organic matter and it’s the answer to all your garden woes. Ideally added in a little and often way through the season via trenching of foodscraps, side dressings of rotten manure or seaweed for heavy feeders, and an often topped up, homemade mulch for all. This kind of equation holds the moisture like you wouldn’t believe! Make this your goal next summer.

3 ways to restore weary soil

Sow lupin seed generously


Saturate the soil with EM or milk and molasses or whatever liquid feed you have to hand.
Spread a fine layer of compost on top
Sow a life giving greencrop

Buckwheat, meadowsweet, yarrow homemade mulch
A nourishing herbal homegrown mulch of yarrow, buckwheat, dandelion and fennel


Saturate the soil with EM or milk and molasses or whatever liquid feed you have to hand.
Spread a fine layer of homemade compost on top
Trench food scraps/ fish waste/ seaweed up the centre of the bed if you are planting brassica.
If you’re sowing a root crop, skip the trenching and lightly mix the compost into the topsoil and sow direct.
Cover it all with a lovely deep, mixed mulch and leave for a few days to regroup before planting or sowing. For an added bonus, give each seedling a handful of vermicastings should you have them.



Saturate the soil with EM and whatever liquid feed you have to hand.
Build a compost pile or two on top
This is the styles to go for if you have dry soil and no available water to bring soil moisture levels back up.