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CATALOG Available In Print
| A BIT ABOUT SOILS TO HELP GROW OUR PLANTS
Every plant in this catalog is eventually grown in our native soil here at the plant farm. Our soil is basically clay on a rock base. Clay is usually a fertile soil and holds moisture in times of drought, but needs the addition of compost and/or sand to make it more friable and drain better in wet seasons. The compost also adds richness. Most plants will grow in any soil that is enriched with compost. If they prefer acid soils as our Hollies and Rhododendrons do, use the addition of pine needles and/or a commercial acid fertilizer that can be purchased at any garden store using the amount recommended on the package. We fertilize our delphinium with lime, but this is almost as much to control the slugs that love to eat the young tender foliage as for the delphinium.
Compost (humus - any organic matter that can be added to soil to loosen or aerate, when decayed is called compost) is essential to any garden soil. Do Not add purchased potting soil to outdoor garden soil, it belongs in flower pots. It was not made for out of doors growing. If no compost is available, purchase a bale of compressed spaghnum moss. It is sterile (no weed seeds or disease), spread a couple of inches and work thoroughly into the soil. If it is left on top it repels water, in the ground it retains water. Many gardeners place in the garbage the very things they need to enrich their soil, ie. leaves, weeds pulled with bits of soil clinging to the roots, sod from edging the walks or borders, shrub trimmings and grass clippings. Do not use grass clippings alone, mix with above materials. If you do not have a compost bin, try our system. Pack all of the above in heavy duty garbage bags, tie shut when full to force moisture and heat for decomposing. Stack them somewhere out of sight till ready for use, approx. a year. If when raking leaves in the fall and you do not have space for compost, work the leaves directly into the soil and they will compost the way nature intended.
Commercial fertilizers are just one of many cultural details, and should not be considered a cure all for all gardening problems. When properly used, it can give good gardening results, but fertilizers alone can not correct or improve heavy soil that does not allow sufficient aeration or drainage, or light soils that allow water to escape too rapidly. Both soils can be remedied by the addition of compost and/or sand.
For plants to grow well in shade (and there are many, noted by the "), they need plenty of organic matter, compost, etc., to be added to the soil to loosen and help hold moisture. The shade is usually created by trees and shrubs whose roots take up a lot of moisture, the ground is also usually compacted and most of the water runs off. Few shade plants will grow in compacted, dry soil no matter how fertile. With compost added to loosen the soil, moisture is absorbed more readily and conserved for later use. We have printed an article on degrees of shade and what will grow in these areas, available upon request with a S.A.S.E.
, 2000, 2001, 2002.
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Last updated 2001 February 8.
See A Woodland Rose Garden for Kent Krugh's garden.