Soli Recipe for a Victoria Native Plant Garden?

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by mcroteau1969, Nov 5, 2004.

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  1. mcroteau1969

    mcroteau1969 Active Member 10 Years

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    I'm renovating a large bed (30' x 10') on the west side of my new house in Royal Oak (Victoria) . It is slightly sloped (~10 degrees) with a 12" mortar-less rockwall at the bottom. I plan to design a native plant garden similar to our area which is defined, by BC Min of Env report, as: Inner Coastal Region, "Coastal Grand Fir-Western Red Cedar Zone."

    Can anyone suggest a soil recipe that might be suitable for this zone which also allow us to include trees such as Arbutus menziesii, Quercus garryana and Acer macrophyllum and associated shrubs?

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. angilbas

    angilbas Active Member

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    A moderately acidic, well-drained soil is needed, especially for Arbutus menziesii. Arbutus usually grows in nitrogen-poor soils, so 'brown' compost is preferred. A spongy old stump or log is an ideal source. Mature arbutus trees mulch themselves generously, so it might not be out of line to take litter from around an older specimen. Otherwise, go for sawdust and wood shavings.

    Quercus garryana likes to grow where topsoils are thick and dark with organic matter. This species prefers nitrogen-rich sites, as produced from 'green' compost such as grass clippings (most appropriate, since this oak often grows in prairie-like settings). Coffee grounds, despite their color, behave more like 'green' than 'brown.' Alfalfa meal is definitely 'green,' as is seaweed.


    -Tony
     
  3. mcroteau1969

    mcroteau1969 Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks

    Thanks Tony, for the acidic well drained part - could that mean adding something if my soil is basic (I haven't yet check pH though). And for drainage - I guess that means adding non-sharp sand to the mixture?

    Mike
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    UBC handbook INDICATOR PLANTS OF COASTAL BC gives soil conditions for local native plants. You can also find profiles of wild plants online that describe their environmental parameters. Search using the botanical name.
     
  5. angilbas

    angilbas Active Member

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    Basic soils in Greater Victoria occur naturally only on shoreline Native American middens, which are full of clam shells. Otherwise, soils tend to be acidic except where lime has been applied. Mike, your drainage is probably good enough thanks to that slope.


    -Tony
     
  6. mcroteau1969

    mcroteau1969 Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks again!

    Thank you both for the advice and help - I just bought the before-mentioned book which appears at a glance to be an amazing resource.

    M.
     
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