KC Gardens

Was it bad garden soil?


I purchased a garden soil mix for my gardens from a place that was highly recommended to me and none of my gardens grew. I watered as needed and understand that the heat had something to do with it but my shade garden was stunted nothing grew over 4 in tall. I have never had impatients be stunted. What can I do to improve this soil. I also added compost to it prior to planting. - Lita -


  1. 1 year, 6 months ago

    Lita, There is not quite enough information to answer your question. But here are some things to consider:

    1. Have the soil tested to make sure the pH is compatible with what you want to grow. This will also tell you if there are adequate levels of phosphorus and potassium, plus the amount of nitrogen that you may need.

    2. Organic matter is great. Was it fully composted, when you added it? If not, it would rob Nitrogen from the soil until it was composted.

    3. Even shade gardens that were watered suffered this year. It was just too hot for the plants to replace the amount of water they transpired.

    4. Were the transplants healthy when you bought them? Good root systems, and no blackened areas where the stem meets the potting mix?

    5. If this is a shade garden, are the plants competing with tree roots? Tree roots will always win.

    Just some things to consider.

    Regards, Carole Johnson County Extension Master Gardener

  2. 1 year, 6 months ago

    If this is a new garden area and none of the plants grew over 4 feet tall, is there a problem? Carole is right we do not have enough information. Four feet of growth for new plantings is challenge even in good years. So your description does not match? You might need to call our gardening hotline, 913-715-7050 or maybe post a few pictures to see the growth. My established shade areas did not come close to four feet this year!

    Dennis - Johnson County Extension

  3. 1 year, 6 months ago

    It says 4 in tall not 4 ft.
    Inpatients don’t normally grow over 1 ft tall, although I have had beautiful tall ones in other gardens I have put together.

    I just dropped off the soil so we will see. Thanks all.

Sign in with Facebook to comment.

Copyright 2014 The Kansas City Star.  All  rights  reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten  or redistributed.