Poor Soil - Knowledgebase Question

Stamford, CT
Question by lynnsutherl
January 19, 1999
What can I do to help out poor soil (has alot of moss) on the right side of our house which is in constant shade. I try to plant flowers which do well in the shade but the soil is so hard and hard to work with when planting. How can a change the type of soil and keep it from getting all cruddy and mossy?


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Answer from NGA
January 19, 1999

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Before you plant this spring, dig the bed up, remove the plants you want to keep, and spread a layer of organic matter over the top of the bed. Use 4-5 inches of aged compost, leaf mold, peat moss or aged manure over the top and dig it in to a depth of 6-8 inches. This will loosen the compacted soil, aerate it, improve the drainage, add nutrients and make it more hospitable to your new plants. Moss usually indicates too much shade (not much you can do there!), compacted soil, poor drainage and poor fertility. By amending your soil with lots of organic matter you'll restore its health and give it new life. Replant any saved plants, and fill the bed with bright colored annuals, perennials and attractive foliaged plants. Try ferns, hosta, pansies, Trillium, Forget-Me-Not, Primrose, Begonia, Coleus, and Lobelia. You'll be glad you spent time renovating the bed once the plants begin to flower!

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