Victory Garden Contest garden tips – Group Seven

These gardening tips from the Victory garden contest deal with composting and soil.

1. Mix your compost into potting soil. Compost can be up to 1/3 of a potting soil mix in planters or seed-starting flats.(Michele Davis, Oklahoma)

2. Late fall is the best time to spread compost over the garden bed. Just spread it on top and cover it with winter mulch, such as chopped leaves or straw. By spring, soil organisms will have worked the compost into the soil for you. (Mike Young, Denver Co.)

3. The best organic matter for bed preparation is compost made from anything that was once alive, for example leaves, kitchen waste, and grass clippings. Add dry material such as straw, hay and leaves so that the compost pile will work well. (David Armstrong, Ga.)

4. Soil pH determines flower color in garden hydrangeas. In acid soils, pink and red garden hydrangeas often turn blue or purple, while in neutral or alkaline soils, blue hydrangeas turn pink. (Beth Cummings, Chicago, Ill.)

5. Plants benefit most from compost when it is mixed thoroughly with the soil 6-8″ deep. Plants growing in a layer of pure compost have difficulty sending roots down below the compost into the soil. (A.M. Piper, Toledo, Ohio)

6. Side-dressing around your plants is best done in late spring and early summer so that the rapidly growing plants can derive the maximum benefit from the compost. Start it about an inch away from the stem and spread it out to the drip line, scratching into the soil gently. (Phil Hanner, Salamanca, NY.)

7. Gardeners in warm climates may find they need lots of compost because their growing season is long. Crops growing in rainy climates and sandy soils also benefit from additional amounts of compost to replenish the nutrients that are constantly leached away. (Tammy Briggs, Seattle Wa,)

8.  Garden soil that has been well mulched and amended periodically requires only about a 1″ layer of compost yearly to maintain its quality. (Sean Davis, Olean NY)

Thank you to the participants of the Victory garden contest for sending in your gardening tips. Happy gardening Denise

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