Preparing bed for bulbs

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by whitenack, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. whitenack

    whitenack LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    I plan to plant a bunch of bulbs (tulips, daffodils, muscari, etc.) this fall. I am told that these bulbs like well drained soil. My soil is heavy clay.

    I have access to plenty of free composted manure, and I thought I would bring some out to help enrich the soil.

    I also heard that coarse sand would help with the drainage, but wondered if chopped leaves would do just as good. I have a bunch of leaves left over from last fall where there were too many leaves to mulch (thinning out the grass too much). I didn't want to just throw them away, so I kept them in a pile behind the house. My wife is getting on me to do something with them, and I was wondering if they would do good in the flower bed.

  2. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Get a product called Ammend from Home Depo, it will be in the garden section with all the potting soil and mulch. Mix it with the clay to a depth of 10"-12". Use the bag recommendations, it works great. Stay away from the sand. The composted manure is OK if you are sure its fully composted. Add Bone meal in the planting hole at the time of planting. I would find another use for the leaves. The manure should provide plenty of nitrogen. If you are in the South west or know you have a high PH mix in some peat as well.
  3. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    I actually put sand in the bottom of my holes for bulbs.I have planted thousands of bulbs in this manner...never had a problem with them rotting.
  4. whitenack

    whitenack LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    I have a little over 100 sq ft to amend. I wonder about the cost effectiveness of buying a couple bags of soil ammenment as opposed to buying a bulk scoop of sand, or some other ammendment.
  5. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Well if you are looking to improve soil structur and drainage in clay AZ Gardener is don't want to add sand to clay because that will make cement.You can add it to individual bulb holes though and be OK.I would use the compost it won't cost that much and be well worth the $$ spent..Don't work clay when it is wet.
  6. upidstay

    upidstay LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,584

    If you have access to well composted manure, use that. Get a roto tiller and add a crap load (pun intended) of the stuff. In my opinion, there ain't nuthin' better than good old fashioned composted poop. My grandfather could grow just about anything anywhere, and all he ever used was compoted manure or composted yard waste. I had a customer who had horses, and a competitor used to maintain her beds. She had bad soil, but were kept going with synthetic ferts. She had some construction done, so we moved the shrubs temporarily. Before we put them back, we tilled in a good portion of her &^&$ pile, and man did those shrubs take off!! And she had mostly clay too, if I recall...
  7. whitenack

    whitenack LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    What about this:

    I am currently re-working the old landscape in the front of the house. Pulling up the ground cover, laying down mulch.

    Under the ground cover, are stones/pebbles. I don't want to just cover up the pebbles with mulch, so would they be good to mix into the mulch bed?

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