Nothing says home like flower gardens. Whether you prefer roses, wild-flowers, or ornamental grasses, flower beds pull a property’s appearance together and add that special touch of home. However, many individuals make a mistake by rushing into a flower garden. The key to a garden that will be around for years to come is to do research on your area, and to learn what kind of growing soil you have on your property.
The type of soil you have is a very important factor on how you will go about preparing your gardening beds for planting. Soils in different regions do vary. Some soils are very dry. Others are nutrient poor, sandy, have heavy clay, and some are even rocky. Thankfully, most soils fall somewhere within this wide range. Still, no soil is perfect and much can be done to improve it.
Before you start digging and planting your flower beds, the first order of business is to have your soil tested. This is the only way to know the true composition of your soil. You can have your soil tested at a lab that does soil testing in your area. They can be located by doing a search on the Internet, or looking in your local telephone book.
Proper soil samples should be taken from where you will have the center of the bed, and from both ends of the bed. You will want to acquire a tablespoon size sample from each area. The samples should be taken from a depth of five to six inches from the soil’s surface. Once you have all three samples, you should thoroughly mix them together in a container.
You will want to ask to have a complete soil test performed on your sample. This will include a pH test. This will read the alkalinity and acidity of your soil. You will want a result somewhere in the range of 6.0 and 7.0. If you have a reading that is lower than 6.0, this means your soil has too much acid. To correct this problem, you can add ground limestone to the bed soil. A reading of more than 7.0 indicates that your soil is too alkaline. This can be corrected by adding powdered sulphur to your soil.
Your soil test will also tell you if there is a deficiency of nutrients in your soil. If the test result comes back that there is a deficiency in a particular nutrient, simply take the necessary steps to add this nutrient back to the soil. Along with information about your soil’s pH and nutrient value, you will be given information on how much organic matter is in your soil. This is important information. This will let you know if your soil needs an organic matter supplement.
You should keep in mind that adjusting the pH, nutrient value and organic matter in your growing soil will do little to change its consistency. To improve the texture of your growing soil, you will need to add soil conditioners to the growing area. Many individuals are familiar with conditioners, yet they may have never thought of them as conditioners. Soil conditioners can include manure, peat moss, sand, vermiculite, and compost.
Once your soil is in proper condition, you are ready for the two-week waiting period. This is key, as during this time is when you should turn your soil’s top surface every three days. This works any weed seedlings to the surface and gives them a chance to sprout. Once they sprout, your turning of the dirt’s surface will expose their roots and dry them out. Between ten and fourteen days, the top layer of your soil should be free from weed seedlings, however keep in mind that they may make their way to the surface once you start your actual planting. Be mindful of the weed sprouts, and pull them out by hand if you want. However, don’t spray them with any chemicals until your seedlings are firmly rooted and are at least three to four inches tall.
Many individuals simply do not have any soil to work with. These individuals may live in a very rocky, sandy or barren environment. For individuals who have virtually no growing soil on their properties, they may want to consider making raised beds. These beds can be filled in with soil that is brought to the site from elsewhere. If that is not an option, home owners can simply do container gardening. A container garden is fast becoming the choice of many who live in dry, sandy regions.
No matter where you live, you can incorporate flower beds into your landscape with a little forethought and research. Make sure your soil is healthy, choose plants and flowers that work for your region and get on the offense with weeds. Those three tips will keep your garden growing for years to come.
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