My wife asked me to plant a small flower bed in the front yard. I was feeling tired and lazy on a Sunday afternoon. The dirt in the front yard is brick hard and I really didn’t feel like digging any holes—plus, I knew that the flowers wouldn’t do well there anyway. The only good part was that she had already bought the flowers so I wouldn’t have to go to the store.
I looked around at all my “yard stuff” leftovers and grinned. I took the rake out front and raked the pine straw back to the shape I wanted for two beds, one larger than the other. The larger bed looked like this.
I had been grinning earlier because I realized that I had four bags of this garden soil. It had been on special at four for ten bucks at the box stores the week before. This is really some pretty good stuff—it seems to be a mix of decomposed wood products and it stays where you put it. I’m sure that it needs fertilizer and lime, but I’ll get to that shortly.
I had enough of the garden soil to pile it up to a depth of about five inches. I have found that if I do this, the earthworms will work under it and till it into the bad dirt for me. At any rate, the plants will grow in these mounds of manufactured garden soil.
I used the back side of the rake to smooth the top of the mound. I want to maintain a four or five inch thick pile of soil. I’ll bet I use the back side of the rake as much as I use the tines. It is a versatile tool.
I like to use a time release plant food when I install a flower bed. This gives us months of steady feeding and is really a time saver. There are many different kinds of time release food, but remember, I was into just using what I had on hand.
A lot of people ask me how much fertilizer to use. With the time release I find it easier to just point at a picture and say, “It should look like this.”
Now I was ready to plant. It had taken exactly six minutes to get the planting beds ready. I now had to plant about sixteen three-inch pots of begonias. I pulled the plants out of their containers and pinched the tops out before laying them into a carrying tray. (If you want to know why I pinched the tops out, Click Here to read my very popular article on the basics of pruning.) Anyway, here’s the picture of pinching a tip from a begonia.
I have the plants ready to put into the soil. I can now dig a hole with my fingers—It’s more “forming” a hole because I promised “no digging.”
I put the plant into the hole and pack the soil firmly around and over the root ball. Note—try to have the plant in the soil at the same depth as it was growing in the pot. There are some exceptions to this rule but it is usually not good to plant too deep.
With two minutes to go I quickly scatter the straw back over the planting area. Sometimes I will spread the straw first and then plant through it but I liked the way the pictures looked without doing it that way.
It is no trouble at all to call Sweetie out to take a look at the flower bed as I turn on our special sprinkler to water the area. These plants will be grown in and be beautiful in just a few short weeks. (If you like my home-made sprinkler, Click Here to get the assembly instructions. It is the best sprinkler ever.) I always try to heed the advice of my father-in-law, Bob Hicks, who said, “John, always remember—‘Happy Wife, Happy Life.”’
Good Luck with your flower bed.
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Sweetie Drives On Chemo Days, Click Here
Requiem For a Redneck, Click Here