Build up a healthy soil?

Old 07-05-01, 10:07 AM
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Another new house question.

What is the best way to build up soil in a new house that has been stripped away for building and a couple of inches replaced with mulch on top? There is sandy/clay under mulch. Can I start putting some kind of fertilizer on top of mulch? I used to use bone meal but that was when I had a good base of topsoil. I have never had ANY experience with mulch. ....La_Wench... with more questions to follow. This is the best site I have found yet for helpful ideas ...thanks to all of you!
Old 07-05-01, 01:09 PM
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That's one of the biggest problems with newly contructed homes. The builders remove(sell?) all te good topsoil and we are left with rock and clay. It's been going on for years. Gypsum is the conditioner for clay soil, and peat would be a good conditioner for sandy soil. There is nothing worse than to try to plant bulbs, or anything, in clay soil riddled with rock. It has taken me several years, but I dig down and remove the junk soil and replace it with rich topsoil, down eight inches or so. The mulch you have will help maintain moisture and keep the weeds down, but it takes several years of mulch replenishment to do the soil much good. If you keep what you have, fertilizing with an all purpose 10-10-10 will help any plants you add.
Old 07-05-01, 03:01 PM
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Thank you for the soil hints. Although I had hoped for an easier solution than pulling away the mulch and digging out the clay/sand. Really tho...I should have known better. I was spoiled from years on a farm and now into a controlled home site where life gets easier...Ha! Off to work I go. Happy gardening ....La_Wench
Old 07-05-01, 05:07 PM
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Amending soil for flower beds

You will need to dig down 8-10 inches. Then, you work in 3-4" of organic material such as peat moss, leaf humus, of manure. The organic material will need to be thoroughly worked in. If clay is heavy, such as red clay, you will need to also work in 1-2" of coarse sand. Check your drainage. If your bed is in an area where water does not readily drain away, you may want to raise the level of the bed. You will want to add some fertilizer to your bed. For 100 SF use one to two pounds of 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 fertilizer. Work fertilizer thoroughly into soil. If you use manure as your organic material, skip the fertilizer as part of bed preparation.

For additional information about soil preparation and gardening, contact your local Dept. of Agriculture Extension Agent. You can also find out from the Agent how to go about getting a soil test for your lawn so you will know what you need to do to maintain a healthy turf.

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