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Thread: Redoing bed

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Western Michigan near Muskegon

    Redoing bed

    Hi All,
    I have been redoing the bed along the side of my driveway. This is the first 'bed' I put in 4 yrs. ago. My first planting was wildflower seed w/mulch. I gots lots of nice purple confeflowers and some nasty white yarrow. I've planted gaillardia grandiflora (blanket flower), coreopsis, siberian iris, phlox (tall), a few other things in there too.
    The white common yarrow is considered an invasive weed here. Boy has it laid down a layer of roots 3"-4" deep! So I have been digging up the plants and tearing it out. I'm trying to get all the white roots of it & wondering if it will come back from little chunks of the root?
    What a job!!!
    Another question, I started out with a nice layer of seed free topsoil, peatmoss, some perilite, sand (that was already there) and some vermiculite. Topped with 'black beauty' mulch (compost mixed with small hardwood mulch they claimed it biodegrades faster). It is now a nice rich black looking soil, but it doesn't want to absorb the water. Should I put a wetting agent on it along with the compost I want to add? The compost is a really nice crumbly 3 yrs. old.
    Also should I add any other fertilizerr and if yes what kind?
    I've never added or used chemical fertilizer to this bed.

    Any insight or advice would be very helpful and much appreciated.
    Happy Growing,
    Vicki in West. Mich.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Blog Entries
    Vicki- OK I'll try here like I know what I'm talking about ! Just wondering what 'doesn't want to absorb water' means..what physically happens ? Could it be that it is already wet enough from the water held by the perlite and vermiculite ? You could have a surface tension thing going on with all those ammendments. IMHO
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Central Indiana Zone 5a
    Blog Entries

    You can try adding a wetting agent, but you may be better off to thoroughly till this bed and then soak it several times. Some of this "top soil" and other amendments are little more than enhanced clays and once they dry out they are next to impossible to get them wet! The tilling isn't going to help them absorb water, but it will mix in into the soil and aid the drainage so all the other amendments can absorb water and not stay too wet.

    When some of these "top soils" are baked to kill any weed seeds it's also like firing clay in a kiln, and it looses it porosity, this may be what has happened to your top layer. The bark will (if it hasn't already) decompose and be okay, but I doubt the other will ever be anything more than black sand.

    You can use something as simply as Ivory Dish Soap as the wetting agent. Mix it in a proportioner and spray it on. It shouldn't take very much, you don't want suds, you want to make the water, wetter. You could check with your County Extension Agent to see what the mixing rate would be. I use just a couple of drops in a gallon of water for treating aphids. You must use "SOAP", not a detergent.

    Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.
    - R. Buckminster Fuller

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