South Texas Gardening with Bob Webster

Flower Bed Preparation

To prepare a great bed for most all your flowers. The secret is to create a healthy, living soil. When your soil is alive and active it will in turn grow healthy, beautiful plants.

Good bed preparation as well as the selection of well adapted plants is the single most important secret to having a successful gardening adventure.
To build your beds, start with the existing native soil and improve it. Improve it by adding lots of organic matter—compost should be the main ingredient—about 4" to 6" across the entire bed.
Add generous amounts of lava sand and Texas Greensand. A good alternative, if you can find it is Volcanite, which is a mixture of several volcanic rock materials originally mixed by Malcolm Beck.

Next, add a little whole ground cornmeal-10 to 15 pounds per 1,000 sq ft should do it. In addition, you will need some organic fertilizer. Texas-Tee or one of the Alfalfa based products such as Bradfields fertilizer will do.

Mix all of these amendments into the top 4 to 6
inches of your garden area. Now settle your garden amendments by watering the whole area with a mixture ratio of one ounce of seaweed and one ounce of Molasses to a gallon of water.
I don't usually recommend hose end sprayers, because they are notoriously inaccurate but, since the mixture being sprayed is safe and there is little danger of overuse, a hose end sprayer will help with this particular job.

Dry molasses would be a good alternative but is many times difficult to find, at least in my part of the country, and does not have the "bang for the buck" liquid Molasses does.

After planting, cover the whole
area with 3 inches of a native mulch. (Cedar is best in our area). These amendments should be added on a regular basis for the first few years. Afterward, lava sand, greensand and volcanite are only necessary every few years. Decayed granite rock and other rock dust are also good amendments to add to your soil at least once.

("Organic Matter" -- Bruce lee Deuley)

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