We recently moved into a new house and just finished redesigning our
small backyard. We have paved most of it, but left two 1 yard wide
strips for flowerbeds. We now need to add soil to the flowerbeds to
raise the ground's level and create an environment our plants can
flourish in. I need some help figuring out what to fill the flowerbeds
with. I've done a tiny bit of research and looks like the best option
is to use a mix of non-organic and organic matter. I need some advice
on how to go about the selection of both. For non-organic, I am
thinking about ordering "screened topsoil" from a local landscaping
shop. Is that usually good enough for flowers, herbs and bushes (which
is what we intend to grow)? Another option is buying some type of
potting mix from Lowes, but it seems much more expensive (I need a
good 2 cubic yards). As for organic matter, compost and peat moss are
mentioned most. Do I need both? In what proportions should I mix them?
Any other advice relevant to the subject would be highly appreciated.
Don't order any topsoil until you go check it out. Pick some up and spit
into your fingers and rub the soil, if it sticks, like clay, don't buy
it, if it feels sandy, depending on how much, not like a beach, decide
then. The best thing is to start your own compost pile, grass
clippings, kitchen scraps, coffee grinds, etc. or purchase some
composted cow manure and mix that into the soil if you want to get
started right away. Some manure has a lot of filler so just buy a
couple of bags at first. Different stores sell different manufacturer's
and they are not all the same. They do have mushroom compost that smells
and is expensive. You don't have to rush you can add compost year after
On Thu, 21 May 2009 13:00:22 -0700 (PDT), Andrei Outkine
Good topsoil and compost is what I would use, and till it in. Peat
moss is okay, but compost is better as it provides more
micronutrients. It may be cheaper to have a truckload delivered than
to buy bags. Get a soil test done to find out what fertilizers you
may need. Peat moss may lower the pH, so you may need some lime.
Compost tends to neutralize acidic or alkaline soil. Adding other
ammendments may be good depending on the specific plants you intend to
grow. It is difficult to add too much compost but easy to add too
much of other things. Unless you have lots of extra money forget the
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