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Flower Beds, bulbs and Mel's Mix

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Flower Beds, bulbs and Mel's Mix

Post  The Cat's Other Mother on 2/22/2011, 6:44 pm

I am getting ready to dig up the poor, neglected flower beds in front of my house and fix them so they won't turn into a mass of weeds and briars along with the flowers this year. Right now there are gladiolas and some other kind of bulb flower that blooms in the summer in there, and I want to dig them out, divide them and replant them after I put down weed barrier and a new bed.

The beds are about 5'x10' and I would like to use mainly the compost from my county that I can get for free. It seems to be made from yard waste, mostly. What's the cheapest way to improve it? I don't really want to use the full Mel's Mix, if possible. I'd rather spend money on growing veggies. Also, I wanted to mulch to prevent weeds. Will the flowers still come up?

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Re: Flower Beds, bulbs and Mel's Mix

Post  Megan on 2/26/2011, 5:32 pm

Hi Cat's Mother,

I'm not sure I have a great answer to this, but I'll try. I am a little dubious about our county compost because it probably has a ton of weed seeds in it. But for cost, it's a deal. You could try using it and them mulching to help keep the weeds down.

Remember, too, that some flowers don't like rich soil. Read up on the needs of what you'd like to plant or re-plant, that may help. I tried growing nasturtiums last year and while I got a sprout, it was almost all greens and very few flowers. I realized later that nasturtiums prefer poorer soil and my Mix was apparently too rich for it.

Regardless, try it! Flowers, especially bulbs, are pretty resilient. You will learn as you go. Let us know how it works out!
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Re: Flower Beds, bulbs and Mel's Mix

Post  The Cat's Other Mother on 2/26/2011, 11:20 pm

I settled on a mix of about half free county compost about a quarter vermiculite, and a quarter mixed compost and topsoil from a local landscape company. The real work is digging out the heavy, dense clay that is in there now. It is a mystery to me how the American South every developed an agrarian economy, with this dense red clay to grow in.


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Re: Flower Beds, bulbs and Mel's Mix

Post  acara on 2/27/2011, 8:07 am

Kinda funny to see this .....

I just completed my first "wierd SFG-science experiment of 2011" ..... Bulbs in recycled MM;

Lillys;



Glads (1 week in recycled MM and already sprouting);



I'm convinced MM makes ANYTHING grow better (more on that later, in another post Very Happy )
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Re: Flower Beds, bulbs and Mel's Mix

Post  FarmerValerie on 2/27/2011, 8:52 am

Part of the reason for the poor soil quality in the south, is over use, no rotation, and no replenishing or rest. While the clay has always been there some plants do fine and even very well in it, but decades/centuries of cotton, tobacco, and other cash crops depleted any nutritional value it had. So, cowpeas and sweet potatoes to the rescue, they can replenish, however I personally believe the clay would better serve me made into tile to lay on my floor in my house so I can go longer between sweeping because I cannot see the dirt.
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Re: Flower Beds, bulbs and Mel's Mix

Post  elliephant on 2/27/2011, 12:40 pm

I wouldn't worry about the county compost having weed seeds. They do it on such a large scale basis that it gets good and hot. I use our city compost, which is also largely made up of yard/park debris, so I looked into that. But I pay a little more for their "premium" blend that has all the produce waste from the two major grocery chains added to the the yard trimmings. This gives a better balance of nutrients. Anyway, no weed seed problems!

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