Prepare soil - Knowledgebase Question

Ashland, Oh
Question by bvolpe1
March 12, 2010
I have a shady spot from which I have removed the grass in order to plant perennials. The existing soil is hard--maybe has a lot of clay. The area is about 375 square feet and is poorly drained. I was planning on putting down a new 1

Answer from NGA
March 12, 2010


Rather than invest in topsoil, I'd recommend amending the soil with organic matter. It will be some work, but once you've done it, the results will be long-lasting. Now that you've removed all the vegetation, spread 4-5 inches of organic matter over the 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 perennials 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 well draining garden bed. Enjoy your project!

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