Soil amendments

Mary Sue Ittner
Sat, 07 Sep 2002 18:03:18 PDT
Dear Jane,

This information came in from Randy Holbert who lives in the area where you 
will be planting the bed. You may already be there and doing the work and 
not on-line, but since he went to the trouble of responding, I am including 
his answer anyway.

"Jane is correct, the soil here is very difficult to work with. I just
finished planting some shrubs and small trees in my year. A painful reminder
to my back of just how hard this soil is. OUCH!!  However after living here 8
years and consistently adding organics to my flower beds I have made some
head way. It is much easier to work in these areas but you have to keep at it.

I was fortunate enough to have access to peat based soils from a local
nursery so I have been adding this every time I replant. I also have used
other sources such as she mentioned and have not had any problems as long as
it was properly decomposed.

There are several options depending upon how much she wants to spend

1. Make a raised bed by building a border around the intended planting area.
This would provide excellent drainage and she could the purchase a well
drained nursery mix for her planting. This would be expensive but again would
be an option

2. Rent a roto tiller, I did this when we planted our yard. They have very
powerful models that can handle the soil. The one I rented was a pneumatic
model and crunched right through the soil. It was very easy to operate. After
the initial plowing then add the compost, lots of it and till it in. One
secret is that she should really soak the area with water 24 hours in
advance. It is much easier that way. I have not had any problems with disease
just do use any compost with manure and she should be ok.

If you have any more questions do not hesitate to let me know.



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