new garden - Knowledgebase Question

Baltimore, Ma
Question by silkscreen00
February 26, 2011
we have a bare dirt plot. How do we prepare it for a flower bed? Which fertilizers or soil prep do we buy?


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Answer from NGA
February 26, 2011

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Most plants are happy in a nearly neutral soil pH - from 6.5 to 7 which is just about where soils in your region usually register. Your soil will need to be amended with compost or other organic matter to help loosen it and help it drain well. You can enrich your soil over a period of years and end up with rich garden loam if you add organic matter. Start by spreading 4-5 inches of organic matter over the vegetable bed. You can use compost, aged manure (fresh manure can be too hot and might contain weed seeds), shredded leaves or whatever organic matter is readily available in your local area. Dig or till this organic matter into the soil - 8-10 inches deep. Plant your flowers and mulch over the bare soil between the plants with additional organic matter. A 2-3 inch layer will help suppress weeds and slow water evaporation. At the end of the season dig the organic matter into the soil and add a fresh layer. Repeat this process annually and you'll end up with rich garden loam - and a spectacular flower garden.

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