Answer: You could start by running some basic soil tests to check fertility and the soil pH. Add fertilizer and lime as indicated by the test results and loosen the soil down about a foot. Flower beds usually benefit from having additional organic matter such as compost, old rotted fall leaves, or well aged stable manure/bedding added to it. Use an organic mulch year round to help add organic matter on an ongoing basis as it breaks down over time. The pine needles are organic matter and could be composted or can be used as mulch around acid-loving plants such as azaleas or rhododendrons.
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