The Q&A Archives: preparing soil for planting

Question: We are having foundation work done around our house. We have some clay in the soil behind our home. When we replant the back what is the best way to prepare the soil for planting shrubs/flowers etc. The back of the house gets partial sun.

Answer: You're wise in preparing the soil prior to planting. This way your plants will get off to a good start. Foundation work generally includes concrete work so you'll want to remove any concrete debris before amending the soil. Once you have all the debris removed from the bed, spread 4-5" of organic matter over the top and dig it in to a depth of 8-10". You can use compost, aged manure, or whatever organic material that's readily available. After digging it in, level the soil and plant. Once you've finished planting, add another 3-4" of organic matter over the bare soil to help suppress weeds and slow evaporation. Once a year you can dig this organic mulch into the soil and place fresh mulch over the top of the soil. Doing this for several years will turn your planting bed from clay into rich garden loam and your plants will thrive.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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