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Sandy loam!?

8 years ago

Starting 2 flower beds this year, goal is a "crammed full" mix of perennials and annuals. Decided to get a soil test - 1 evergreen shrub grew well in the area, 3 roses not so well.

CSU says I have sandy loam, deficient in Nitrates and Organic Material, low in lime. Phosphorous and Potassium are high. They recc compost for 3 years, apply .3lb N per 100 sq ft, and beware of quick draining.

I'd planned to use mulch around perennials and Alyssum as a goundcover all through the annuals this year, accepting a need for a lot of handwatering and caring. I really wanted to avoid a whole year of plants standing anti-socially amidst mulch that's turning more unattrractive by the day. Now it sounds as if I need to mulch the whole beds to retain water, blocking the groundcover idea - Alyssum isn't going to grow over mulch, is it?

I thought clay soil was norm around here; I've been busily reading up on how to grow in it, improve it - and now I don't have a clue what to expect from this soil. Searched "Sandy Loam" on GW - lots of stuff about trying to get it clay-ey, lots of folks pissing and moaning about it.

Anyone with experience with this soil in this area? Is an inch a week a bad estimate for watering in it? Anything else you might recommend adding, this year or down the road? Any plants I can expect to be more difficult than normal?

I Wintersowed (Springsowed?) a lot of alyssum this morning along with some tender annuals, just before getting the e-mail from CSU. Sorta spinning in place now, seeking reassurance.

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