Thursday, July 1, 2010


Having good SOIL is not just important, but is essential to being successful in your flower beds.  Soil is more than just 'dirt.'  Good soil is a mixture of organic matter, both plant and animal, minerals, air and water.  These ingredients are necessary in releasing nutrients that promote plant growth.  Good soil is 'alive' and makes the difference in a plant growing or not, and the difference in its thriving or just growing.  Our area isn't really rich and fertile naturally.  We need to amend the soil in order to make it look dark, rich, and well-drained.  I amend my soil every fall and spring, with a product from Miller's--TOP SOIL PLUS.  Many local places have the bags, or you can have anywhere from 1/2 yard to 5 yards delivered to your home from Lomond View Nursery  There are three types of soil:  Sandy, Clay and Loamy.  If you know about your soil, and which you have, you'll be able to adjust  things so you will have a perfect blend.  You can get a soil test from the Utah State Extension Service for a fee.  I have a soil tester and would be glad to share it if anyone is interested in testing their soil. Testing your soil gives you a good starting point in determining what to plant and where.  A good soil will provide these things:  it will hold sufficient water, nutrients, and oxygen for plant roots, it will hold the plant up, it insures good flowering if the plant blooms, and it helps in keeping it healthy for the whole growing season.   If you don't have good soil, it's time to whip it into shape and improve its quality.   You can do this by digging in organic matter, mulching to conserve moisture, composting, using fertilizers, and nutrients, like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.  There are other trace nutrients that are important, as well.  Utah has alkaline soils, and our soils are high in calcium, which contributes to iron chlorosis in plants, which usually shows up in July or August.  Leaves will start to turn yellow with this problem.  Sometimes people think they need to water more to green up the leaves, but over-watering actually kills absorbing roots.  So, we need to make sure that what we are doing is really going to solve our problem.  In the  long run, what we need to keep in mind is a regular schedule of fertilizing, deep, infrequent watering (preferably watering the soil, not the plant), and keeping the weeds down.  If you see a problem, a quick response is always the best action to take, before the problem gets out of control.  Use amendments that are fully composted, which has been treated to kill pests and weed seeds.  I think the use of herbicides should be kept to a minimum--only in the case of extreme infestations, etc.   Well, that's the 'dirt' on soil--the essential element in successful gardening!
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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