Soil preparation

How to Prepare Soil before Planting Flowers

March 23, 2022 0

Stable and healthy roots are the foremost factor that warrants the well-being of a plant because of the crucial functions it carries out, for example, water and nutrient absorption and holding the plant to the ground. For the roots to execute these functions, the soil must be well prepared and all necessary action to enrich it taken. So, planting your flowers should not be just plopping them in any type of soil. It needs to be pampered with all the care or else no plant will survive in it. Preparing is a step by step process and quiet laboring sometimes but it sure pays off when the flowers do really well.

Before preparing the soil, you will need to equip yourself with the right information on how to test contents in the soil, the nature of the soil and how well you can maintain and manage it before and after planting your flowers to keep them in good shape. Random dirt may not contain the nutrients and required characteristics for the flowers to grow in and that is why it needs to be examined and adjusted where necessary. Some of the basic exercises you need to carry out include the following;

Determining the Soil pH

To test soil pH, you can either hire a professional to do it for you or you can do it yourself using simple soil test kits that you can get from the nearest source. Ensure that you select flowers that are compatible with the pH of your soil and if they are not, it is important to adjust the pH levels to suit them or, you can go for the flowers that can survive in that soil. Altering with the pH will demand some keen considerations:

- When the soil is acidic, lime is added to neutralize it. Pouring the lime randomly might result to overuse, making the soil harmful or might end up using less than what is required, which ends up not completely doing away with the acidity so make sure you follow the given instructions on usage. The amount of lime you will use will be determined by the acid levels in the soil and the size of your piece of land.

- When the soil has high alkalinity levels, it is neutralized by:

+ Organic fertilizers like sulfur or pine needles and barks etc.

+ Other inorganic fertilizers that contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K fertilizers).

+ Compost, that has multiple functions i.e. fertilizing and adding nutrients to the soil.

If you don’t plan on planting immediately, mulching the piece of land will help protect the soil from extreme weather conditions, hold weeds in check and using organic mulch keeps the soil rich.

Note: Annual frequent checkups will be necessary if the soil pH levels are okay and therefore, there will be no need of making any immediate adjustments to it.

Carrying out a Soil TestCarrying out a Soil Test

The importance of a soil test is to know the type of soil you are dealing with and how productive it is. Acquire or procure a soil test kit, and follow the guide given for perfect results. Only use what is necessary and avoid adding an excess of anything to the soil to avoid weakening or making the soil toxic.

Examine the Soil Texture

Determining the texture of the soil helps to know how clayey, sandy or even loamy the soil is. This helps to know how quickly or slowly the soil will drain water and predict the nutrient level in the soil. Soils with relatively high sand volumes tend to be well aerated. On the other hand, since they lack ample nutrients and drain water very fast, they need frequent watering and lots of fertilizing to supply nutrients and moisture.

Clayey soils are highly fertile, contain enough nutrients and retain water for longer periods than sandy soils. They, therefore, don’t need frequent watering or fertilizing.

Soils with equal or almost equal amounts of both the clay and the sand have a very good drainage system and enough nutrients.

Testing the Soil DrainageTesting the Soil Drainage

Carrying out a soil drainage test will help you know how frequent watering will be needed and if you will need to make adjustments to the draining system in case it is poor. To test the drainage, carry out a simple test by digging up a hole, filling it with water then wait to see how long the water takes to drain in the soil. 12 to 30 minutes means that the soil has an ideal drainage, below 12 minutes means that the soil is likely to dry quickly and above 30 minutes means that the soil is soggy.

Bed Preparation

After learning about the soil and making all necessary amendments to it, you need to prepare a bed. The bed can be a raised bed that should be at least 6 inches high to allow for proper penetration of roots or a double-dig bed - usually tilled twice - for flowers with deep roots like roses. The size of the bed should be determined by the number of flowers you wish to plant. Attach strings to pegs or use a hosepipe to measure and mark boundaries and to ensure straight or curved edges.

To prepare the bed, you will need to:

- Dig the marked place to remove sod and stones if it is a new bed, but if it was planted before and there is no sod or stones, no digging will be required. Optionally, place no less than three layers of newspapers, proceed to cover them with 3-inch compost and wait for at least 3 weeks for them to decay and for the area to be ready for planting.

- The next step will be tilling the bed(s). This aims at smoothing out the soil by loosening huge impenetrable lumps. Moist soil is the best to work with, so always avoid working with soil that is either wet or dry. Doing it more than once will rather tighten the soil so one round of tilling is enough.

As a gardener, watching your flowers bloom and become a beautiful garden can be exciting and quite satisfying but for it to be so, you need to do the first things first and do them correctly by properly preparing the soil, which is home to the flowers i.e. from carrying out all soil tests to digging and tilling it. The fruits of all the hard work, of course, come later so when they do, be strict and disciplined when it comes to taking care of the flowers in that you water, fertilize at the right time and even trim them if need be. It sure is a lot of handiwork but totally worth it.

Fertilizers for Flower Garden

Choosing the Most Appropriate Fertilizers for a New Flower Garden

March 23, 2022 0

The reason as to why we use fertilizers when planting flowers is to add nutrients to the soil because some soils are not rich enough to fully support growth. Also, as a flower grows, it uses up the available nutrients in the soil and thus fertilizing the soil or the flower as it grows will boost its nutrient content. It is necessary to change fertilizers for flowers at different stages of growth because there are different fertilizers that work differently for the flowers as they grow.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfKgIV47FIs[/embed]

Before applying fertilizer, it is important to test the soil for nutrients and lime levels. Carrying out a soil test will help ascertain the amount of fertilizer and/or lime to be used on the soil before planting. Also, these amounts will be determined by the size of the piece of land you plan on planting your flowers.

Best Flower Fertilizers

Complete FertilizersComplete Fertilizers

Flowers mainly use these types of fertilizers because they consist of three important elements that are;

  • Nitrogen - which endorses healthy foliage by stimulating the production of chlorophyll. A fertilizer highly rich in nitrogen will best suit flower plants that are leafy.
  • Phosphorus - A phosphorus-rich fertilizer is important for blooming of flowers and the development of healthy roots and fruits.
  • Potassium - This element acts as a boost for healthy stems and is also necessary for food manufacturing for the flowers.

Normally, complete fertilizers contain nitrogen contents either less than or equal to the phosphorus content because it is higher, it slows down flower production and encourages foliage.

Chemical Fertilizers

These are the artificial fertilizers like ammonium nitrate compounds that are obtained by combining different inorganic chemicals. They are less expensive and their nutrients are quickly absorbed in especially by the annual plants. One limitation is that they need frequent re-application since they are quickly absorbed by the plant and this results in burning. Another drawback is that they don’t enrich the soil.

Organic Fertilizers

Bagged humus and animal wastes are good examples of organic matters used as fertilizer. Using organic fertilizers improves the soil’s holding capacity for both water and nutrients and adds necessary nutrients to the flower. The downsides, however, are that;

They are slowly absorbed into plants and due to this reason, there is need to apply on a frequent basis.

Due to their slow absorption, they are not suitable when immediate attention is needed.

Care and keenness should be taken when preparing the soil for planting to avoid excesses and imbalances on different parts.

Controlled Release Fertilizers

Also known as time-release fertilizers, they are designed to release little amounts of fertilizers over a certain period of time and are applied twice in a single season. They are packed in small round or capsule-shaped shells and are most appropriate for container flower gardens. These are the best choice for you if you might forget to fertilize the flowers.

On the downside, it is difficult to know when the content is finished because the shell remains the same even after the plant has used up all the fertilizer. Therefore, close monitoring to see negative changes in the plant will be required so as to know when they are used up.

Non-controlled Granular Fertilizers

The time release fertilizers are the controlled granular formulations but there are also the non-controlled ones that stay up to a maximum of 8 weeks. They work similar to the controlled ones but the only difference is the plant feeding mode.

They have to be reapplied on a regular basis because they are prone to leaching when the plant is watered or when it rains.

Water-Soluble FertilizersWater-Soluble Fertilizers

These fertilizers come in both liquid or powder form and are ready to use since they are directly absorbed in the soil or plant. The application can be done on the soil or on both the leaves and the soil: they can also be mixed with water and used to water the flower. One advantage of the water-soluble fertilizers is that they are cheap.

A disadvantage is that they require frequent application when compared to other fertilizers like the controlled-release and non-controlled release granular fertilizers.

Foliar Fertilizers

When your flowers begin turning yellow, foliar fertilizers will be the best type of fertilizer to address the problem since they are readily absorbed in the leaves. However, some leaves don’t absorb nutrients through their leaves but for plants that allow for nutrient intake through the leaves, use this fertilizer. All potassium-related problems can be attended to by use of foliar fertilizers because it is a quick way to feed the leaves with potassium.

DIY All-purpose FertilizersDIY All-purpose Fertilizers

Instead of incurring costs procuring fertilizers, you can easily make your own using the available resources in your homestead. This is a good go to because you make the amount you will need, and the fertilizer works perfectly in boosting the general growth and blooming of flowers. Examples include fish emulsion which is made out of water and fish waste and compost tea which is a mixture of water and sack-filled compost.

Homemade fertilizers on the downside will take longer to prepare because you have to let the mixtures sit for several weeks for the fertilizer to be ready for use and to work effectively.

Bottom Line

Choosing the most appropriate fertilizer for your flower garden might be a tricky task because you first need to know how efficient the fertilizer(s) is. This is because you have to balance their application-know how to apply a certain fertilizer and when to apply it so that you don’t end up overfeeding or underfeeding the plant. It is also crucial to carry out a soil test because it provides a way forward for how to prepare it, that is, the kind and amount of fertilizer to use and if you will need to spread lime over the soil. Most cases flowers should be fertilized frequently but with weak solutions. Don’t go for very expensive fertilizers when you have a cheaper option that works the same.