How do you replenish your beds with existing perennials?

ladyrose65March 10, 2014

I usually did not have any returning perennials in my little garden spot. Now that I do. How do I recondition the soil? My soil looks terrible. But, If I start double digging Alfafa and bone meal; I know I will damage or uproot my new perennials. I've got lots of Penstomen and Campunula's.

How do I work around this?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Top dressing/applying compost works just fine.

It takes a little while, but in most areas water/worms/microbes/animals/gravity/etc does it's thing and works what you put on top down a few inches in the existing soil. In many areas you can see a difference in the top few inches of soil in just a season or year.

While it's busy working it's way deeper into the existing soil improving it's physical properties, the water/rainfall from the top leeches nutrients down into the existing soil keeping it around in the root zone a while...added benefit.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 2:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Side dressing, carefully placing compost, or what ever, next to or near to the existing plants but not on top of them will work. You would not want to cover the growth crowns of the existing plants.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 6:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Alfalfa tea is a great fertilizer for perennials. I also bury raw kitchen scraps between my perennials. Both of those methods encourage earthworms who leave the best fertilizer there is - worm castings.

Always use an organic mulch such as shredded bark which will gradually break down and improve the soil. If you have grass clippings they work really well as the worms like them.

Here's a pic of my garden after 3 weeks of neglect last summer. Fortunately it rained but I hadn't done any fertilizing or any care. Just years of regular application of alfalfa tea, compost, and mulch.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 11:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank You NC-Crn, Kimmsr, and Luckygal. I will take all of you advice into considertion.

Luckygal, your garden is beautiful.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 9:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Natures_Nature(5 OH)

I'm a big believer in mulch... Aside that, just top dress with compost.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 9:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Top dressing may smother the plants, especially if they are growing when top dressing is applied. Side dressing, putting the compost or other material along side the plant, is a better choice since that will not cover the plant.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 6:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Every spring I cover the beds with 4 inches of composted leaves. In July I add 2 inches of shredded limb mulch. Then in October I add two more inches of shreeded limbs. The soil in my beds had changed from haed red clay to porous, black, rich soil as a result. In the spring I usualy clear away the mulch from directly touching the plants, creating a depression around the plant.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 6:55AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Interpreting soil test results (for my rose garden)
Soil pH (1:1, H2O) 7.1 Macronutrients Phosphorus...
Composting gone cold
I've been composting for decades, but this winter,...
Clay addition to dry sand soil help
I have sugar-fine, sandy soil amended with compost....
how would one add / help mycorrhizae
On another thread (very long and informative - why...
starting a new nursery/retail landscape supply business
lots of good reading here. I am looking at starting...
Sponsored Products
Sleepy Sofa
Dot & Bo
Classy Traditional Shag Multi Area Rug (7'10" x 9'10")
Malibu Path & Landscape Lights 2-Piece LED Solar Outdoor Spot Light Kit
$34.97 | Home Depot
Euro Style Eric Sofa Bed White - 05002WHT
$834.00 | Hayneedle
Prince Aha Stool
$198.00 | Horchow
Nautical Stripe Pet Crate Cover - Small
$129.00 | FRONTGATE
Navy Hotel New York Flower Sheet Set
$21.99 | zulily
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™