Fertilizing Established Gardens
I have an established perennial garden. How do I add organic matter and fertilizer to improve the soil without redoing the garden?
I hear this question a lot. If the soil was properly prepared, you only need maintenance upkeep. Spread a 1- to 2-inch layer of compost over the soil surface every other year. Recent research shows this also fulfills the fertilizer needs for most perennials. Use organic mulches such as shredded leaves, cocoa bean shells and pine needles. As the mulch breaks down, earthworms and insects more the organic matter into the root zone.
Struggling perennials growing in poor soil may benefit from a total overhaul. Dig out the perennials, kill weeds and prepare the soil. It sounds like a lot of work, but it will save you time and headaches in the long run.