Daylilies forum: What to add into my new Daylily bed

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Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Cat Lover Daylilies Roses Lilies Irises
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Sempervivums
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javaMom
Apr 20, 2016 8:14 AM CST
Good morning,
I am getting ready to ammend my new flower beds for my Daylily order and gift from Kay. Bought a bag of Alfalfa Pellets.. should I mix this pellets, dry, soaked it in water first or scattered on the top of the bed ? I am going to ammend my flower beds with raised bed/potting soil mixed, compost, mushroom compost, coarse/all purpose sand and black Kow/composted manure.... I also see that some people like to use Milorganite for their Daylily, considering what it was made from, I am a little concerned, so please my gardening friends, I need your advice and appreciate your help.... Have a wonderful day !
Name: Stan
Florida Panhandle (Defuniak Sp (Zone 8b)
Region: Gulf Coast Enjoys or suffers hot summers Daylilies Lilies Keeps Horses Dog Lover
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GaNinFl
Apr 20, 2016 10:58 AM CST
Hi javaMom,

I usually add the alfalfa pellets dry when turning the soil. I did notice that they will absorb water and swell. If it's close to the surface it will look like something has been burrowing under the soil. I have also used the pellets as a top dressing and watered it immediately after. Again, this allows the pellets to swell and start to breakdown. otherwise, I envision peter and his pals visiting frequently which brings me to the Milorganite. The smell is a deterrent for the fuzzy bunnies and I haven't noticed anything adverse using it. Milorganite has iron in it so the foliage is healthy and dark green...

Edited to add that I only sprinkle the milorganite on the surface after planting. Someone in a local club said that it will burn the roots, not sure how true that is and its only 5-2-0 if memory serves me correctly. Maybe others will lend some insight soon.

Stan
(Georgia Native in Florida)
http://garden.org/blogs/view/GaNinFl/
[Last edited by GaNinFl - Apr 20, 2016 11:03 AM (+)]
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Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Cat Lover Daylilies Roses Lilies Irises
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Sempervivums
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javaMom
Apr 20, 2016 3:34 PM CST
Thank you Stan,
I hope I can get this bed ready soon, since first part of my order is here...
Oregon (Zone 6b)
Encourage Life Always
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Sif
Apr 25, 2016 1:50 AM CST
Hi JavaMom,
I've never heard of using alfalfa pellets or the Milorganite before, therefore I'm at a loss to comment on either. Typically I only amend my soil organically with manure that is at least one year old, so it isn't too 'hot', and/or sand, bone meal, blood meal, finally adding plenty of earth worms for aeration of the soil and that's about it. Once everything is planted I'll mulch the soil well to keep the weeds down, this of course also helps the soil retain the water and stay cool on those hot summer days. Hope that helps. I live and garden in Southern Oregon near Crater Lake National Park. My area is classified as a zone 6 but as I type away it is 28 degrees outside and it's April 25 12:42. AM
Sif I tip my hat to you.

PS. There is a fabulous product known as SuperThrive that I swear by. It is a hormone supplement liquid that is added to water when transplanting, normal watering, etc. if you can't find it at your local garden center, you can order it from Amazon. A little goes a long way and there will be NO transplant shock when it's used properly!
Name: Stan
Florida Panhandle (Defuniak Sp (Zone 8b)
Region: Gulf Coast Enjoys or suffers hot summers Daylilies Lilies Keeps Horses Dog Lover
Garden Photography Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Dragonflies
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GaNinFl
Apr 25, 2016 4:47 AM CST
Welcome! Sif
Stan
(Georgia Native in Florida)
http://garden.org/blogs/view/GaNinFl/
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Daylilies Hummingbirder Heucheras
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Hemlady
Apr 25, 2016 5:36 AM CST
Welcome! Sif!!!
Lighthouse Gardens
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Apr 25, 2016 5:48 AM CST
@Sif Welcome! to NGA
Donald
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Irises Roses Peonies Butterflies Birds
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touchofsky
Apr 25, 2016 6:28 AM CST
Welcome! Sif!
Name: Liz Quinn
Huntersville,NC (Zone 7a)
Region: North Carolina Cat Lover Dog Lover Daylilies Bee Lover Birds
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Emquinn
Apr 25, 2016 6:43 AM CST
JavaMom,

I use Milorganite as a top dressing to assist in keeping deer and rabbits away from Daylilies and hosta. Haven't used alpha pellets but one of our area hybridizers recommends to use it in the hole or pot when planting. Hope this helps.
Liz
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger .
Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Apr 25, 2016 7:58 AM CST
All of those sound great, with the exception of sand, the main reason being that once you add it, it can't be removed, and depending on your soil makeup, it can do things such as pack together and exclude air, bind with clay to become brick-like, and settle to the lower reaches of your regular tilling to form a layer.

There's some science on this if you search, but unfortunately, little of it tends to be found in widely-disseminated, general garden writing.

Soil building is a very long-term process, so don't add a huge amount of organic matter unless it's very well broken-down. Top-dressings are where the action is, so once the soil warms, keep a good layer of material on top for earthworms and other organisms to work on.
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 7a)
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Barbalee
Apr 25, 2016 8:08 AM CST
Wow, this is a great thread, JavaMom! I sure wish I'd seen it before I "built" my new bed as I obviously haven't amended it as well as I should have. Another bed will be coming soon, I hope, so now I have the right skinny on what I need to do. Thanks to all!
Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Apr 25, 2016 11:18 AM CST
Here's a link to a paper which will help to get you started in the right direction. It's somewhat regionally oriented, but contains the basic tenets of soil amendment.

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/agecon/WECO/documents/NCSU.ame...

You could probably find some similar references which are a little more applicable to your area if you check out the ag universities in your region.

I would only take issue with one of their suggestions, which is the use of gravel to assist drainage. My personal feeling is that gravel is simply large sand, and I once spent a few days removing gravel from a planter bed which had become dank and waterlogged due to the gravel added lby the previous owner. Gravel has been shown to actually inhibit soil percolation.

I've used potting soil as a soil amendment, but some of them are very peat-heavy, and also tend to contain a lot of sand, (in addition to being very expensive), so now I use what is referred to as "planting mix".

Ground, composted bark is an excellent product, and used to be a staple of the soil amendment trade, however in recent years it has become either scarce or relatively expensive, at least here in my area.

Bark is designed to protect the tree, and breaks down more slowly, retaining its structure. Wood breaks down fairly quickly and seems to foster the growth of various fungi which can form a water repellent network of mycelium in your soil.

Today most bagged mixes seem to contain a high proportion of ground recycled wood from "regional recycling/composting" operations.(the local landfill). The label might read, "Composted forest products", but that's a clever, "green-sounding" euphemism for scrap wood. The problem with these landfill composting operations is that in many instances, the people doing the work are not properly trained or knowledgable in what constitutes a proper raw material for composting. I've seen things such as telephone poles, railroad ties, plywood, MDF, particle board, painted and pressure-treated wood in those composting areas. Before I was aware of this, I bought a few bags of this stuff, and when I opened them, they did not have the earthy, pleasant aroma of a healthy soil amendment, they smelled like the dump. I think maybe the loader might have taken too deep of a cut when scooping it up.

Mushroom compost used to be an excellent soil amendment, but again, economics has made its use tricky. Mushroom growers sterilize their beds prior to use, and some of the chemicals they use are pretty nasty. Years ago, I bought a cubic yard of "organic" container soil mix containing mushroom compost, and used it to pot up daylilies. They started out OK, but quickly took on the appearance of being stressed. By the end of the summer, every one of them had declined, and when I repotted them, their roots were rust-colored, and the rootball smelled like Clorox. I talked to the people at the soil yard, and they said that they had a lot of complaints about that batch, and that they had traced it to a mushroom grower who had used bleach to sterilize the beds prior to use. Mushrooms will grow on practically anything, it turns out, and you'll probably find a lot of raw, or nearly raw wood products in mushroom compost today.

The situation isn't hopeless, and good clean products can still be found, just be cautious.
[Last edited by CaliFlowers - Apr 25, 2016 3:15 PM (+)]
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Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Cat Lover Daylilies Roses Lilies Irises
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Sempervivums
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javaMom
Apr 25, 2016 5:47 PM CST
THANK YOU everyone !!! Appreciate all your help and great informations...
My native soil is very poor (probably 1 out of 1-10 rank) it's like white clay/chalk with lots of limestone rocks, so I can only plant either in the pots of raised bed...I have my raised beds since we moved to our house 11 years ago. So far I have been using garden soil, raised bed mixed, different kinds of compost, composted cow manure (blackkow) and sometime adding potting soil mixed.
This is the first time I add coarse (very coarse) sand into my new flower beds. When the lawn guy enlarged my flower bed around my red bud tree, he used this sand to use with retaining wall blocks, and whatever left he mixed it with the raised bed soil and it seems work really well, so I thought I try it with daylilies bed.
If anybody has the same kind of soil and get the great soil mixed for daylilies, would love to hear from you...
Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Cat Lover Daylilies Roses Lilies Irises
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Sempervivums
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javaMom
Apr 25, 2016 6:31 PM CST
Welcome! Sif !!! Group hug
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Apr 27, 2016 8:10 PM CST
I use a lot of pine fines mixed with a little bit of dirt, compost, and alfalfa pellets. And slow-release fertilizer in Spring and Milorganite afterwards. I think the alfalfa pellets help to attract earthworms which are the best thing you can have in your garden soil!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Cat Lover Daylilies Roses Lilies Irises
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Sempervivums
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javaMom
Apr 27, 2016 8:51 PM CST
Becky actually I bought three bags of this compost that turn out to be pine fines mix, and add it to my new daylily bed, I haven't open the bag of my alfalfa pellets since I haven't completely finished planted all the daylilies, I thought I may scattered some on the top with mulch, I know different people use it differently and as a newbie, I probably tried everything... What do you think about fresh alfalfa, did yo ever use it (Russell Feed store, near me sold the alfalfa as Horse food, and the guy told me I can sweep and take any amount of the alfalfa that fell and scattered around and put it in plastic bag, I haven't done it yet since I don't know if I can use it like the pellets of the meal)... I have to say I got lots of worms here, when I mix the ammendment I have to be careful not to cut them...
Thanks again Becky and love your Avatar...

Nanette
[Last edited by javaMom - Apr 27, 2016 8:52 PM (+)]
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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Apr 27, 2016 8:59 PM CST
Nanette - Thank you.

If you used fresh alfalfa, there might be seeds in it. I don't know if I would add it to the daylily beds, but I would absolutely use it in a compost pile that you could start (if you haven't already). Thumbs up
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Apr 28, 2016 8:35 AM CST
I have read, no real experience with it, that alfalfa hay is normally cut before it puts out seeds. Therefore it makes a great mulch and I would take the guy up on the offer of all the stray alfalfa hay left laying around. Might be a good idea to confirm that the hay does not have seeds in it though.
Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Cat Lover Daylilies Roses Lilies Irises
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Sempervivums
Image
javaMom
Apr 28, 2016 8:46 AM CST
Thanks Larry & Becky !!!

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