The Q&A Archives: New Garden

Question: We are moving to a new house and the flower beds are under the windows all around the house. They have been covered with small gravel. Should I remove it before planting or turn the ground over? How and when can I plant bulbs in there?

Answer: It's probably best to rake the gravel out of the area so you can prepare the soil for planting. After the bed is re-established, you can put weed-barrier and gravel back down if you like. After removing the gravel, spread 4-6 inches of compost, aged-manure, or leaf mold over the top of each bed and dig it in to a depth of 6-8 inches. This will help loosen compacted soils and add nutrients for the plant's roots. It will also help the soil drain quickly. After you've prepared the planting bed, dig out a large area and scatter your bulbs. Then dig them in to the proper planting depth (usually 2-3 times the diameter of the bulb), and cover with soil. Then place a layer of organic matter over the newly planted bulb area. As it decomposes, the organic mulch will supply nutrients to the roots of your plants. Good luck in your new home!

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