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What kind, how much? The easiest method is to incorporate a slow release fertilizer into the soil when planting or top-dress soil if you are working with a store bought plant. You can add fertilizer as directed while watering. Slow release or controlled release fertilizers will generally provide nutrition for 2 to 3 months.


Mulch composed of dead leaves and branches, wood chips, and bark on top of the soil around plants maintains moisture. Add organic matter saved from leftovers such as coffee grounds, corn stalks, vegetable peelings and you have compost. Layering a few inches over the topsoil adds nutrients to perennials during the growing season. Additional layers protect root system during the winter months insulating younger plants from ice and snow. Remove all mulch and compost in Spring to thaw the soil rapidly.

* Free compost is available at the Central Park Compost center located at the end of the 102nd St transverse (east side of the through road). Take a shopping cart, a box and shovel or trowel and bring some home for yourself and neighbors. The Parks Department makes it up by working over leaves, branches and other materials.

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