The Q&A Archives: Preparing Flower Beds

Question: I've been neglecting my flower beds for several years. Exactly how should I get them prepared? How do I know what kind of fertilizer, etc. I should use?

Answer: Established flower beds used for annuals can be turned lightly in the fall or early spring at the same as amendments are added. Flower beds for perennials are usually deeply prepared and well amended prior to planting the first time and then renewed periodically by removing the plants, reamending the soil and then replanting. This is a huge job and is usually delayed as long as possible.

For best results in both types of beds, generous amounts of organic matter should be added on a regular basis, meaning every year. This can be added as a top dressing in perennial beds and by digging it into annual beds in wither fall or spring. Your soil may also benefit from an initial addition of a small amount of sand if it is heavy.

The best way to check and see if any other amendments such as specific types of fertilizer or lime are needed is to run some basic soil tests. Your local Penn State county extension can help you with the tests and interpreting the results.

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