My mother loved cosmos. She always said they looked happy and bright, bobbing and dancing in the summer light. They now affect me in the same way!
A corner of our white-picket fence was the perfect place for her annual flower bed. It was a triangular feast of color and insects, like big-as-a-loaf-of bread, orb-weaver spiders. Slight breezes made the bright yellow and black females look like they were doing push-ups in the middle of their trampoline webs.
Soil preparation for annual flowers is important. Take time to properly prepare your soil before you start planting your sunflowers, petunias, geraniums, or impatiens. A bed depth of 1 1/2 to 2 feet of good, organic-rich soil will be necessary to produce happy, bright flowers. There are many fertilizers available to mix into the soil along with additional organic matter (good compost, animal manures, or straw leaves). Good drainage is a must, but not to the point that the soil will dry out too quickly.
A good organic fertilizer—used as a substitute for synthetic fertilizers—should have a well-balanced NPK and be made with dehydrated chicken manure, seaweed, and meat and bone meal. Add a dash of liquid humic acid (an organic acid derived from organic matter) to help set the table for the flower’s microbial community living in its roots to “go forth and multiply.”
One of the two most important organic acids found in organic matter is humic acid. Humic acid is responsible for bonding with nutrient minerals bound to clay particles, removing them and allowing the nutrients to integrate with the soil.
It’s important to feed the soil organisms that in turn feed the plants, which provide the “poles” to which the orb-weaver attaches its silken trampoline lines. And don’t forget to feed the flowers, produced as a part of the plant’s response to the microbiologically enhanced banquet.
Other plant food nutrients you might need for different soil types include:
The best way to determine what you need is to find a soil laboratory in your area and send a one-pound soil sample. The lab will help you find out if there are deficiencies and if so, what you can add to alleviate them. You may also have to address excessive levels of some minerals (e.g., sodium and/or cadmium).
Revisiting the organic acid, humic acid, I recommend using a liquid product rather than a dry humate (which contains both humic and fulvic acid). Dry humates require an extended period of time—possibly as long as two years—to achieve the same soil benefits that a liquid product can achieve in only two to eight weeks. This is because microorganisms use an inordinate amount of energy to process dry humates into a form that’s amenable for microbial absorption.
When you use these types of products in your lawn and garden, Mom’s cosmos will say “thank you for that treat, it was tasty!”
Soil Source works to reverse damage and return soils back to their natural, optimum state. This product is a unique, biologically-enhanced humic acid, with a diverse spectrum of naturally occurring, beneficial microorganisms that help rebuild and restore soils. At BioFlora we utilize a proprietary extraction process, which maximizes the amounts of humic acid we are able to procure. Our product is also comprised of many different characteristics that are not found in other organic acid products, such as soil carbon, carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients.
Dry Crumbles 6-10-1 + 10% Ca is a dry, granular fertilizer that is easy to broadcast and well-suited for broad-area coverage. BioFlora formulated this product to provide an excellent source of high quality, organic nutrients for all types of plants, trees, and lawns. With this idea in mind, Dry Crumbles was developed to be a balanced blend of not just nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, but to also contain high levels of calcium and other minor and trace minerals.