Most of the problems gardeners have in their gardens can be attributed to problems with the soil. Weeds, pests and diseases can often be traced right back to poor soil. Choosing your gardening site and picking out what you will plant are just the first steps toward the new garden. Creating a healthy foundation for the plants is the next, and most important, step you will take on your way to growing the best flowering plants.
Conduct a soil test. Take a sample of your soil to your local cooperative extension office. Some garden centers will also conduct soil tests. Once you have the analysis of your soil you will be better able to purchase the proper amendments necessary to grow the best flowering plants.
Spray the planting area with a glyphosate herbicide to get rid of any unwanted plants or weeds.
Dig into the soil at least 12 inches using the gardening fork. Make sure the roots of your new flowering plants have lots of room to grow downward without hitting unimproved soil. As you dig, turn the soil and break up any large clods of dirt. Remove any old roots, rocks or other debris you may unearth. Level the soil.
Pour a 2-inch layer of compost onto the flower bed and work it in well with the existing soil.
Add any fertilizers or other amendments, such as lime or sulfur, that are recommended from the soil test results. Mix those into the soil/compost.
Water the planting bed well.
Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch over the entire area. You can open up planting holes through the mulch, or plant first and then add the mulch.