This year’s conference has an excellent focus on practical issues that are linked to the soil. One of the reasons for this is the fact that without a soil that can deliver the required level of fertility and manageability year in and year out a business is unlikely to survive for the long term. Horticultural production places the greatest demands on soil integrity. Many experienced growers have shown and continue to show that it is possible to run successful horticultural businesses on soils that were not considered as entirely suitable when they started. The fundamental organic techniques of rotation, fertility crops, on-farm composting, careful cultivation, etc. are key to getting the best from soils considered to be marginal for horticulture. In these times of more unpredictable weather patterns however the borderline soil may not be able to support the continuation or establishment of a horticultural business. This session will attempt to set out some basic soil requirements for a business seeking to reliably supply crops of consistent quality. These will include the usual elements of texture and structure but other elements such as effective drainage and favourable topography will be proposed as being of increasing importance going forward.