Allow me to introduce the third member of the Organic Mechanics family, our Planting Mix! Organic Mechanics Planting Mix (PM) is made for amending soil whenever planting a tree, shrub, bulb, perennial, annual...basically anything planted in the ground! We also recommend mixing Planting Mix with topsoil for building raised beds using a 50% / 50% blend of Planting Mix and topsoil for best results. Use your existing topsoil, or go get some at your local, independent garden center.
Our Planting Mix contains compost, aged pine bark, worm castings, and coconut husk fiber. Its the perfect blend of organic matter to help hold moisture in the root zone, giving plants a leg up during dry spells and helping reduce watering requirements. For every 1% increase in organic matter in soils, over one acre, the soil can hold an additional 16,000 gallons of water! Most garden soils have between 1% and 5% organic matter...less if your home is new construction...more if the soil was previously landscaped.
The other big benefit to using Organic Mechanics Planting Mix is the beneficial biology inside every bag. The microbes in compost and worm castings help to make a healthier plant by occuping the real estate around the root zone. Once present, beneficial microbes help to exclude or fight off potential diseases, and help break down organic matter into plant available nutrients.
Always wondering how to plant that tree or shrub correctly? No worries, there is a step by step guide on the back of each bag of Planting Mix. Most important thing is to plant at the same soil level as the existing soil line present in the container you brought home from the local garden center. Hopefully the "root flare" is showing on any trees you buy, and if not you can gently scrape away soil until exposing the root flare. The flare is the classic part of a tree trunk that flares out at ground level, away from the truck itself. An exposed root flare makes for a healthier tree. Ever see trees mulched with what looks like a mulch volcano? Ouch. Too much organic matter next to a tree truck only encourages fungi to attack the tree at its base...something all of us want to avoid on a newly planted tree!
If you're planting a raised bed for vegetables or herbs, remember to use untreated lumber so you dont have chemicals leaching into your veggie garden! Once you build your beds, a cheap trick to exclude weeds and block out grass is to put down cardboard or newspaper before adding your 50% / 50% mix of Planting Mix and topsoil. No real trick to placing the topsoil and PM in the beds, just add a bag of PM, then a bag of topsoil, and repeat until you have about half the bed full, then mix the two together with your shovel or digging fork, then repeat for the top half. Adding fertilizer at planting time to ensure banner harvests? Mix it into the planting hole just before you plant.
Want to read more about how to save water in the garden? Check out www.epa.gov/watersense/outdoor/landscaping_tips.html for helpful tips!
Getting planting fever from all this talk of planting? Get out there and get your hands dirty!