DESERT GARDENING

We've just moved to the Southwest.
Like many, I used to think of desert as rocks, and sand. I'm amazed at the variety of flowering plants that grow in this environment....
We'd like to plant our garden area with native plants. ( Shrubs, flowering bushes, sagebrush, etc....) The soil is somewhat sandy, and gets "clay-ey" about a foot down.
My ( backEast ) instincts are to mix a bunch of mulch, and peat with the soil..... then a slow release fertilizer.
My spouse opines that this may be a mix that's foreign to the plants we're trying to grow.
???? <rj>
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Listen to your spouse :-)) Desert and xeriscape plants generally prefer lean soil with minimal amendments.
pam - gardengal
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 28 Oct 2004 02:51:12 GMT, "Pam - gardengal"

lot of biological diversity. Generally constructed neighborhood soils have NONE of the natural diversity. Do use some quality compost and some organic fertilizers to begin with!!!!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

All soils have some degree of biological diversity regardless of composition unless they have beeen sterilized through chemical dumping. Regardless of the current state of the soils, desert and or xeriscape plants are NOT helped by adding amendments or fertilizers - less indigenous ornamentals, perhaps. And regardless where one is located and what soils you are working with, it is not favored horticultural practice to fertilize any newly planted material.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Pam, I think what he might be implying is that the soil at this site might have been brought in by the construction firm, or that the desert topsoil, such as it is, has been completely bulldozed away before construction - or else, compacted by heavy machinery, which might cause native caliches (cement-like clay) to be permanently unusable by native plants. I'm not sure what would be needed to bring such soils to the point of supporting native flora - if not traditional amendments (and I agree that I can't really see a role for peat moss in a desert setting), perhaps some sort of aeration, or distribution of sand and gravel into the mix.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 29 Oct 2004 14:54:45 GMT, "Pam - gardengal"

of biological testing.... MOST CONSTRUCTED SOILS USED IN DESERT SW DEVELOPMENTS ARE NOT TOPSOILS AND ARE MINED! Find me a silt pit with biology and I'll shut up!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.