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Flower/Bush Plant Beds

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Post  donnainzone5 6/3/2013, 7:43 pm

I don't think I can afford Mel's Mix for all my flower beds!

The conventional wisdom is to mix 50-50 native soil with amendments. My "native soil" is a blend of sand and clay, which has been amended to a certain extent.

So far, I see that clay + sand = concrete, as I previously knew. I fear that one recently-transplanted clematis is about to expire. The other two are hanging in there (after one day), as is a mini bridal wreath spirea. I've been mixing the native soil with 50% Kellogg's Patio Plus, and/or Gardner & Bloome's Soil-Building Compost.

And then there's the matter of the 40+ gladiolus bulbs.... and the peonies, and the dahlias, and the delphinia, and the digitalis.....

Does anyone have suggestions as to what I should use for this purpose? This matter is somewhat urgent, since I must transplant some perennials, rhodies, and roses soon, like this week!

Thanks in advance for any ideas.

Josh.... Are you listening?

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Post  camprn 6/3/2013, 8:35 pm

Donna, to amend your soil, just omit the vermiculite, and some peat and lots of good compost. You could also toss in a bit of bone meal (for root growth) and a slight amount of dried blood (nitrogen for foliage growth) and maybe a bit of limestone (for pH) then mix it all together, level and plant. This can be/is backbreaking work, but worth the effort for new perennial beds.

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Post  donnainzone5 6/3/2013, 10:02 pm

Camprn,

For roses, too?

By "good compost," do you mean a combination? My homemade compost is far from ready.

Thanks for your speedy reply.

Also, I must say that I'm constantly in awe of your extensive knowledge.
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Post  walshevak 6/4/2013, 5:33 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:Camprn,

For roses, too?

By "good compost," do you mean a combination? My homemade compost is far from ready.

Thanks for your speedy reply.

Also, I must say that I'm constantly in awe of your extensive knowledge.

Just bought 6 rose bushes 2 weeks ago so I'm hoping this will work. I plan to get my lawn guy to bring his rototiller. I do have some finished compost to get started with.

Kay

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Post  mschaef 6/4/2013, 10:28 pm

I agree with Camp how to amend the soil. You mention that the soil is sandy. Vermiculite is to help drainage sorta like sand so definitely don't add it. Peat moss would be good to help the soil retain some moisture. Lots of compost is always a good thing to help give the soil the nutrients that your plant will need to grow. Not to sure about the rest, don't have any experience with them. Hope this helps!
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Post  donnainzone5 6/5/2013, 11:48 am

Camprn, et al.,

Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions!

One question: Do I mix these amendments with the native soil? Or just fill my existing trenches with these components?
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Post  camprn 6/5/2013, 12:01 pm

I would break up the soil as much as possible then layer all the ingredients and mix, either by hand or tiller, as deep as you can (8"12"). If you only do it in the trench, this will limit any expansion of your plant's roots.

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Post  donnainzone5 6/5/2013, 12:25 pm

Camprn,

My flower beds are approximately 2' - 4' wide. A couple of them were partially dug out to get rid of the river rock in the soil. I can't do much, if any, heavy digging to clear out the remaining widths.

However, I may have located a young nursery employee who will work for $10 per hour. I certainly hope he doesn't mind digging! And has a tiller....

So, would you say equal parts of native soil, peat moss, and compost? Plus the other ingredients? Should I use a blend of different composts, or could I get by with just one good one, such as rose planting mix, Harvest Supreme, etc?

I'm fortunate to have two neighbors fighting over the river rock; all we need to do is toss the rocks into a wheelbarrow and take them to one house or the other and dump them, as per instructions.

There are two things that grow reliably in Central Oregon: rocks and weeds!
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Post  camprn 6/5/2013, 1:57 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:

So, would you say equal parts of native soil, peat moss, and compost?
Yes and then add an extra bag or two of compost; do not go heavy on the peat.

donnainzone10 wrote: Plus the other ingredients? Should I use a blend of different composts, or could I get by with just one good one, such as rose planting mix, Harvest Supreme, etc?
You must use a variety of composts, unless you want to redo the bed in 2 years instead of 7 years.


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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Post  donnainzone5 6/5/2013, 4:11 pm

Thanks, Camprn!

I was wondering what I was going to do with all the extra compost I have in the garage! Still have two SFG beds to fill, but there will be leftovers. Should I do 5+ for the flower beds?
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Post  camprn 6/5/2013, 4:54 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:Thanks, Camprn!

I was wondering what I was going to do with all the extra compost I have in the garage! Still have two SFG beds to fill, but there will be leftovers. Should I do 5+ for the flower beds?
As much as you can, it will make a beautiful flower bed. Be careful to not plant your flower plant too tightly. They will spread out by next year and by the 3rd year you may need to divide some of them. Oh! then it will be time to make more flower beds. Wink What a Face

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