The Q&A Archives: soil treatment & shade garden

Question: I just went out and dug up the area that I want to start my garden in. The soil is dark thick black on top but when I dig down I find red clay and yellow sand so I need to know how to treat the soil to start an all shade garden and what I can use for plants that will come back year after year. I planned to start with Hosta but I want some color too.

Answer: To improve your soil, spread 4-5" of compost over the planting area and dig it in to a depth of about 8". Plant your flowers and then mulch over the bare soil with additional compost. This will help suppress weeds and slow evaporation. At the end of the season dig the mulch into the soil and add new mulch. After a few years of enriching the soil in this manner you'll have wonderful garden loam and your plants will thrive.

Hostas are great in a shade garden. You can also plant Dicentra (bleeding heart), Helleborus (lenten rose), Columbine, Campanula, Primrose, some daylilies are shade tolerant, and Astilbe. There are lots and lots of other choices - just visit your garden center. Enjoy your garden!

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