The Q&A Archives: Preparing Soil for A Flower Garden

Question: I am brand new to flower gardening. We moved into this house in July, 1998. There's a patch out back where I would love to see flowers grow. Right now, there's nothing but dead weeds.

Help! I want to get out there this weekend and begin preparing the soil.

Where do I begin?

Answer: The best place to begin is with some basic soil tests so you know what your soil already has and what it is lacking. Your County Extension (431-7260) can help you with the tests and interpreting the results.

Most flowers do best with a rich, deeply prepared soil which is moist yet well drained. Generally, no matter what type of soil you start with, it will be improved by adding copious amounts of organic matter such as compost, well rotted manure and bedding, chopped leaves, and so on. Once you have prepared the soil be sure to use a layer of organic mulch such as shredded bark to help maintain soil moisture and discourage weeds.

You might also wish to look at a book or two about flower gardening, two I particularly like are "Annuals for Dummies" by Bill Marken ISBN 0-7645-5056-X and "Perennials for Dummies" by Marcia Tatroe ISBN 0-7645-5030-6.

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