New flower bed advise

I am wanting to create a new flower bed in our garden. I need to do some big improvements to the soil in this area as it is - like the rest of our yard- heavy clay and very alkaline. I do not have room for a compost heap and was wondering if digging grass clipping into the soil would work as a sort of compost heap in situ and improve the soil for planting next year? I am in the Texas Panhandle in zone 6 I would welcome any suggestions Sarah
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On Sat, 05 Jun 2004 12:39:30 -0500, welsh dragon wrote:

I'd work in a lot of chopped up leaves in in the fall. That's what I do.
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big
yard-
was
Landscape supply yards can supply you with compost and other soil amendments like pine soil improver, gypsum, sand, and so on. Since you don't have room for a compost pile, I assume that you don't have a very large yard. Therefore, the amount of grass clipping would be negligible. I would just call and have several yards of compost delivered. I would buy enough to cover the area with 4 - 6 inches and till it or double dig it into the bed. I would probably repeat this again in the fall or next spring if possible before planting perennials.
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Have a look here to see if "green manure" is a technique that would be useful to you:
http://www.gardenguides.com/TipsandTechniques/greenmanure.htm
Regards.
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the Texas Panhandle in zone 6
I'd start now: lay out the shape of your bed, and do a heavy mulching with newspapers or cardboard to kill the grass. Start piling whatever organic debris you can find on the mulch (manure, grass clippings, weeds that haven't flowered yet, spoiled hay (can often be gotten cheaply), etc., etc. Leave out woody debris like rose prunings... takes quite a long time to decay). If all you've got is wood and paper, add some high N fertilizer to the pile.
Keep your pile watered so it rots (it should be about as wet as a wrung-out kitchen sponge), and give it a turn or at least some forking through to let in air once a week or so). In the fall, till in the mulch and pile, and probably some gypsum (not lime), and keep adding as much organic material to it as you can. Next spring, it should be reasonably ready to plant.
Google for "lasagna gardening" or "sheet mulching" for a low-dig method of improving heavy soils once you've got the initial bed created.
Kay
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