Good soil is the foundation of every successful garden. Unfortunately most gardens don’t come with nutrient-rich, well-draining, perfectly crumbly soil. The good news is, you can improve your soil. We have a huge range of nutrient-rich potting mix for every type of container-grown plant. From manure and compost to sand, we also stock a great range of soil additives, to ensure your soil is perfectly balanced. Plus, we’ve got everything you need to top it all off and ensure great water retention, including mulch, pebbles and gravel.
Mulch, manure and more: everything you need for a healthy garden
Good soil is the foundation of every successful garden. Unfortunately most gardens don’t come with nutrient-rich, well-draining, perfectly crumbly soil. The good news is, you can improve your soil with a little help from Flower Power.
We have a huge range of nutrient-rich potting mix for every type of container-grown plant, and a great range of soil additives, from manure and compost to sand, to ensure the soil in your garden beds is perfectly balanced. Plus, we’ve got everything you need to top it all off, including mulch, pebbles and gravel.
Gardening with potting mix
One of the benefits of gardening into containers is that you have complete control over the soil conditions of the container. By choosing the perfect potting mix for your plants, you give them the best chance at growing big and strong.
Remember that once the plant has consumed all the nutrients in its potting mix – usually every year or two, depending on the size of the pot – you’ll need to repot it into fresh potting mix, or add a slow release fertiliser to top it up.
Never reuse potting mix, as it may contain seeds or disease from the last plant, and there will be no nutrients in it.
The benefits of manure for your garden and how to choose the right one
For adding nutrients to your soil, there’s nothing quite as good as natural manure. It’s a cost effective way to improve soil structure and aeration, increase micro organism activity, adjust the makeup of sandy or clay soils, and provide a slow release fertiliser.
Never use fresh manure, as it can contain undigested seeds that can germinate in your garden, and the nitrogen levels can be too high, so you risk burning your plants. If you’re using fresh manure from a farm, make sure to compost it for three to six months before adding it to your garden. Alternatively, you can add it to garden beds you don’t plan to plant for three months, and just pull the weeds out as they arise.
If you can’t collect it yourself from the source, come and pick up a bag of manure from your nearest Flower Power. Bagged manures have the additional benefit of having already been aged, ready for you to use straight away, and some varieties are already blended to create the perfect mix of nutrients.
If you aren’t sure what manure is best for your garden, ask one of our friendly horticulturalists for advice, or check out our quick guide below.
Any animal with a plant based diet will produce manure with a beneficial nutrient balance for your plants.The three most commonly available manures for your garden are cow manure, horse manure and chicken manure. Don’t go chucking dog or cat poo on your vegie patch, because they can actually be harmful to you.
When using manure, it’s important to dig it into the soil straight away. If you leave it sitting on the surface, the nitrogen can be lost as gas into the air. Fork it into the top layer of soil so the nitrogen is available to your plants. Longer term, it will also break down to increase the nutrient and water holding capacity in the soil.
How to apply cow manure to plants
Cow manure has a lower nutrient analysis because it comes from animals that have grazed on grass. This makes it a great general-purpose manure, especially for phosphorus-sensitive plants.
You’ll need about 15kg of cow manure for every 8 square metres of garden bed, slightly more than for other types of manure. Add the composted cow manure to your garden beds about a month before you plant them, spreading evenly over the surface of your garden beds, before forking it at least 10 centimetres into the topsoil.
What plants like chicken manure?
Chicken manure usually has the highest nutrient content because of the higher variety in their diet. Plus, chicken manure often comes mixed with their bedding, such as sawdust or straw, which makes their manure particularly good to break up clay soils.
Chicken manure has particularly high nitrogen levels, which makes it great on your vegetable gardens, but it’s balanced with high phosphorus, so it’s also fine to use on native plants, including flowering ones.
What is mulch?
Mulch is any material you use to cover the soil around plants. It helps to keep moisture and nutrients in, maintain an even soil temperature and prevent weeds growing beside your plants.
Organic mulches decompose over time, adding nutrients to the soil as they do so, but that does mean they need topping up regularly. Organic mulches include straw, sugar cane, pine bark, coconut husk (also called coir) wood chips, lucerne (also called alfalfa) and grass clippings.
Inorganic mulches last much longer, but don’t add any benefit to the soil. Popular inorganic mulches include gravel, pebbles, weedmat, thick plastic, landscaping fabrics and old newspaper.
How much mulch do I need?
It’s hard to estimate how much mulch you need just by eyeballing it, so use this simple equation.
Assuming your garden bed is 3m wide and 3m long (for irregular garden beds, divide them into rough rectangles), multiply 3 by 3, which give you 9sqm.
Then take the depth of mulch you want, probably around 10cm (0.1m), and multiply 9 by 0.1. That gives you 0.9 cubic metres. So, how much mulch do I need? About 900l of mulch. Easy!
For pre-bagged mulch, manure, compost and more, come into one of our 10 convenient Sydney locations and let one of our expert horticulturalists pick out the right product for you.