What's the Key to Healthy Soil?


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I truly love flower gardening, but I can't say that I'm the best at it. When planting in the ground and pots, is it a good rule of thumb to use Peat Moss and Vermiculite together? What about Perlite? What's a good fertilizer to use?

I want a garden that's full of lush and vibrant flowers but I need to know how to enrich the soil in an effort to produce lovely babies. Any tips and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 
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I have the most barren, sandy soil that anyone can have; my secret was to heavily mulch with yard waste (mostly leaves) other people placed on the curb for city pick-up. And I compost in place and at times I do go to coffee shops and collect coffee grounds to put under the mulch.

And now I can grow anything in my yard without the use of any soil amendments. I buy nothing, but seeds.

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BTW, the soil that has been created by simply heavy mulching ^^^^now supports tons of soil organisms, whereas before it was totally barren...nothing but sand grains and Bermuda Grass (barely surviving), much like what you find on the beach that in no way could allow an earthworm to live in. It is now full of worms and the soil is truly Black Gold.

Don't let anyone tell you that you need to spend one cent on soil amendments/fertilizer. Nor do I spend any money on x-icides.
 
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Peat is a waste of time besides being environmentally damaging in its collection. It has no food value in it. As said humus, humus and more humus. Or as my Grandad always said Muck, muck and more muck. Except he did not say 'muck.'
 
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Peat moss is a wonderful soil amendment to lower the pH in alkaline soils. If you have a heavy clay soil then peat moss will loosen it and lower the pH, which will make unavailable nutrients, available. In alkaline clay soils, the nutrients are there, but not available because the nutrients are not soluble due to the pH. By adding peat moss you lower the pH in the acidic range, by adding Hydrogen ions that's in the moss. The acid or extra (H) ions dissolves the nutrients just enough to make them useful so plant can absorb them. Peat moss is a super soil-less potting mix that is the most Wonderful soilless mix anyone could ask for too. With out peat moss the horticulture and the container culture wouldn't be where and what it is today.
 
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Thank you all for your responses to my question. Roadrunner your plants are absolutely lovely. It's no doubt they're getting what they need. I'd love to have an array of lush plants like that.

Owdboggy, too funny.
 

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