HAVE made a garden with just rotted lawn clippings and have planted
alstromerias. It is a very dry garden beneath trees. The alstroemerias
didn't do very well. Can you advise whether I need to add something
to the soil, considering it is only rotted grass?
alstroemerias can tolerate relatively dry conditions, they grow
better given reasonable moisture during spring and summer, and especially
while they're becoming established. And rotted grass on its own
is not a very good soil conditioner.
I suggest you first
sprinkle a dressing of general fertiliser over the area. Follow
the label for application rates, but usually 50g per square metre
is a reasonable amount. Then apply a liberal layer (10cm or so deep)
of compost, garden mix or similar mulch all over the area. Doing
this in late winter will allow the soil to build up a reserve of
moisture that should carry it through some of the dry times ahead.
But it still might pay to water during the worst of summer droughts,
at least until the alstroemerias are well established.
Gardener, Issue 174, 2005, Page 28
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.