The Q&A Archives: starting from scratch

Question: I moved in to a house a year ago and have not planted any flowers yet. I wanted to put in a flower bed this weekend. Last year we planted some bermuta grass, but also have some costal that has come up. I wanted to put my flower bed around a tree in the back yard. Our ground is sandy. Wondering what I need to buy from A-Z. I have never done this before. I am not sure what to do about soil, what kind of plants, fertilizer?
I would love some advice. Thanks

Answer: Shanda,

I suggest starting by installing a barrier about 8 inches deep around the bed to keep the bermuda out as it will be a continual invader in your flower beds. Metal flashing works well. Spade the soil in the bed and remove any bermuda you find. Then spread bags of compost to a depth of about 2 inches and mix it in well. I suggest you add a turf type fertilizer such as 15-5-10 at a rate of one cup per 25 square feet and mix it in with the compost. Then plant your flowers and water them in with a solution of a soluble fertilizer such as Miracle Gro at the label rate. Use this soluble product weekly to keep them growing strong.

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