It may just be "dirt" to us, but for your plants, the soil is home.
When it comes to flower gardening, good bed prep is your key to success.
The solution to improving your soil, be it sandy or heavy clay, is to improve it's structure by adding organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure.
Here's a couple of ways to get your flower beds ready - one involves digging or tilling, the other doesn't. It's not hard to guess which is easier!
Make a new bed by digging:
1. Remove grass or other exisiting vegetation with a flat spade or kill with a glyphosate herbicide such as Roundup.
It's very important to do this job well, making sure that you don't have grass or weeds growing where you want to plant.
If using and herbicide, wait one week before turning soil. The plants you sprayed should be turning yellow.
2. Spread two or three inches of organic matter, well-rotted manure, leaf mold (composted leaves) or organic compost over the bed.
3. With a garden spade, fork or roto-tiller, turn soil over to a depth of eight inches, breaking up heavy clods. Rake level.
Create an easy no-dig flower bed:
Try this if you are not in a hurry to plant, and if you don't mind looking at a pile of organic matter for a season (not a problem if the season in question is winter!)
Start this project in the fall or early spring, either way, you'll be ready to plant by the following spring.
1. Cut existing grass at your mower's lowest setting.
2. To smother roots, spread a layer of newspaper about a dozen sheets thick.
3. Over the newspaper, spread eight to twelve inches of organic matter (well-rotted manure, compost or a mix of compost and shredded leaves). Or use a triple mix - loam, manure and peat - available at most garden centers. Rake level.
4. If doing this in the fall, let mound settle until spring; in spring, give it a season. Worms and micro-organisms in the soil will do the mixing and enriching for you - then plant right into the area without doing any digging! The settling action will give you a bed that's just slightly raised.
Frey's Dahlias 12054 Brick Rd. SE, Turner, OR 97392
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