This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
No doubt every observant gardener has seen spots of ground that by over-manuring for a succession of years had ceased to be productive. The only remedy to make them again useful, is to clear a good portion of the richest earth away. Generally speaking, there are but few places where an exchange may not be made for fresh earth, as this garden soil forms one of the most valuable dressings for pasture or meadow land which can be met with. It is not always possible to get turf, or even soil from pasture land; but failing this, that from arable land, if moderately fresh and loamy, will form no bad substitute. Next come old banks, the parings from roadsides, any scraps of fresh soil obtainable where alterations are making. When the rich topsoil has been removed, spread a good dressing of quicklime over the lowered surface and fork this in; if the lime is an inch in thickness it will do good. Afterwards road scrapings or old mortar may be added, when the soil is heavy; and marl, or a dressing of the scourings of ditches, when light. When this is well mixed with the lower spit, bring in the fresh earth and well incorporate the whole together.
Rather than do this imperfectly, I would recommend that a portion only be done at once, selecting those parts on which Peas, Cauliflowers, Cabbages, Onions, and Carrots are to be grown, and leaving the plots appropriated to Asparagus, Seakale, and Rhubarb for after consideration, as it is found the latter are not so particular to soil as the former. Above all, the fruit tree borders, if they cannot be entirely renovated, should have fully one-half of the old soil removed and replaced by fresh, draining the borders when necessary, and having a good rubble bottom one foot deep, over which two feet of the compost should be placed for trees. I may here add that many kinds of fruit trees may safely be lifted, if carefully done, and the roots laid in any spare piece of ground while the borders are being renewed, more particularly Pears, Plums, and Apricots; and that these kinds will grow on richer soils than the Peach and Cherry.
Where it is found impracticable to remove any portion of the over-rich soil of a garden, then the next best thing to do will be to employ only those materials which are found by practice to counteract soils containing a superabundance of organic manures. Lime is one of the best and the most readily procurable; I can strongly recommend newly slacked lime, mixed with a small quantity of salt, as a valuable compost for old garden soils. The proportion to use should be after the rate of sixty bushels of lime, and two cwt. of salt per acre. Superphosphate of lime, mixed with a small quantity of nitrate of soda, comes next, but is more expensive. Both these applications should be forked in immediately they are spread over the ground. Where new compost has been procurable, the subsequent use of manure should be guarded against. Let a dressing of hot lime be given every third year, adding phosphate and guano occasionally, in place of stable dung; and lose no opportunities of applying road scrapings and marl, or calcareous soil, where much manuring is necessary, as it will improve the staple of the soil and tend to promote fruitfulness in the crops.
Liquid manure is also a better material than stable manure for these gardens, as it is more easily taken up by plants; and with chalk or lime occasionally added, will tend to form a better and more productive soil, and one capable of keeping in good heart for years, without the danger of getting over-rich. - Florist, Fruitist, and Garden Miscellany.