Spring is officially here and it is beginning to look like it too! Visions of luscious flower beds may be running through your mind. But, before you get ahead of yourself, you may have some work to do. In order to have healthy flower plants, you need to first have healthy soil.
Take a few minutes to think about your flower beds last year. Did the plants perform well? If not, you may want to check the pH & nutrient levels of your soil. Testing your soil allows you to select the right plants for your soil or remedy your soil problems. Acidic soil can be remedied with lime, and alkaline soil requires sulfur. You may also need to condition soil with fertilizer or organic matter. Soil test kits are available at any Garden Center. Local Cooperative Extension offices will also test your soil. You need to plan for this however, since it usually takes a couple weeks to get results.
When you got a hard rain last summer, did the water drain well? If you answered ‘no,’ your soil may contain too much clay. Sand can be added to the soil to help with drainage. However, if there is too much sand in your soil, it may drain too quickly and take away nutrients with it.
Once you’ve determined if any conditioners or amendments need to be added to your garden, prepare to get some dirt under your fingernails. Carefully, break up the soil around existing plants. Turn the soil about 3 inches deep. Add the conditioners or amendments you have chosen for your soil and use a garden rake to mix them into the soil.
Did you have any plants that became scorched from the sun or became leggy because they didn’t get enough sun? You may want to consider transplanting these plants or choosing different plants for these areas.
Put in a little extra work to get your soil healthy this spring may bring a big return. Who doesn’t want healthy, thriving flower beds?