Saturday, 30 April 2005

People think it rains all the time in western Oregon, but in reality that's not true. Just don't tell anyone, it's our little secret - We just tell people it always rains so they'll leave us alone. While it can rain quite a bit in the winter months at times, we tend to get long, sunny and relatively dry summers here.

Add to that the fact that a lot of the soil in the area is clay (mine is a reddish clay), and plants have a hard time getting water in the summertime. It's a soil that's got lots of nutrients, but the plants tend to have difficulty absorbing the nutrients and the clay tends to keep the water from effectively reaching the plants. A plant that is set directly in clay is likely to have a hard time without some help at planting time. I've found from my own experience that a little extra work when the hole is dug makes for a much healthier plant. 

So, proper soil prep is important, and when it's done well, you can't hardly keep plants from growing in the Pacific Northwest.

Amending clay soil:

  • Dig your hole, make it generous in size
  • Put a liberal amount of Doctor Earth organic starter fertilizer in the hole first (organic fertilizer is great because it can go next to the roots and it's almost impossible to burn a plant with a good organic starter fertilizer)
  • Mix the native clay soil 50-50 with a quality amendment bagged soil before putting it into the hole
  • Place the plant and back-fill with your local/amended soil

Just a few plants that can work very well in dry and clay soil (and there are hundreds of others):

  • Phormium
  • California Lilac (shiny, evergreen, nice and tight, blooms, 4-5')
  • Rugosa (wild) or Juniper Roses (low-lying)
  • Pampas Grass (grows big)

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Saturday, 30 April 2005 19:25:51 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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