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Wisconsin State Horticultural Society / Annual report of the Wisconsin State Horticultural Society for the year ending July 1, 1921
Vol. LI (1921)

Koch, H. F.
Outdoor rose growing,   pp. 157-168 PDF (3.0 MB)

Page 158

First, with reference to the preparation of the bed. My place
is about half an acre in extent, and by continuously. changing
around I found certain spots where the roses did better than
other places, which, of course, was somewhat important to know.
Then in making the bed I like to do the work myself. I could
have it done for me, but it is a great pleasure to me to do it
myself, even though it is hard at times; and the pleasure of doing
it, and the improvement in health that such outdoor work always
brings about, make a great incentive. When I make a new bed,
which I will do again this fall, I excavate at least twenty-four
inches, putting the top or surface soil on one pile, and the subsoil
on another. Of course, on my place it is not necessary to make
a trench; my place, fortunately, is well drained. That is im-
portant to consider, for the experience of some friends of mine,
who made their beds in a place that was too low, was that they
usually lost their plants during the winter. A rose does not like
wet soil. After digging, I return the soil, first mixing it with
at least fifty per cent good fertilizer, cow manure being preferred.
There is no question about its being the best. I mix about fifty
per cent with the subsoil and the surface soil, and I usually like
to get a good clay loam. The clay seems to give the roses better
color, and keeps the roots cooler in summer, and in that way
gives much better results. Then I fill the bed up two or three
inches above the level of where it is supposed to be, and eight
inches below that I have no fertilizer of any kind, the idea being
to force the roots to go down deep for their sustenance. Having
too much nourishment at the upper part seems to tend to make
the roots grow more toward the surface. That is a very bad
thing, when it comes to keeping them through the winter. That
is an important matter to bear in mind, and you should pay
particular attention to it. Then finally, I take powdered bone-
meal, some very fine, some a little coarser, and some very coarse,
and see that it is well sprinkled throughout the soil; not too
heavy, but just sufficient so there is plenty of nourishment for
some time to come.
In this connection, do not forget the lime. That is very im-
portant. It sweetens the soil and improves it, and you can very
readily tell the difference between a plant where there has been
no lime, and a plant which has had lime. I prepare the lime in
this way: I put it in a basin, pour water on it, and let it disin-
-tegrate, so that takes on a very finely powdered form. Then I
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