The weather this past weekend was perfect for outdoor gardening activities! Unfortunately we are still a good six weeks away from safe outdoor planting and many of the tasks on my long term spring agenda need to wait until the frosts are done, but there is always something that can be done! Garden preparation!
By far the biggest job my garden requires in mulching. It's essential. Mulch keeps the weeds at bay, keeps the water from evaporating from the soil too quickly, breaks down and feeds the soil, and looks pretty spiffy too! On Saturday I picked up two yards of mulch and began the cleanup and mulch process. Each ornamental garden bed was weeded, edged (I did that prior to this weekend), and mulched with a fresh layer of hardwood mulch. You can use stone mulch if you like but I always prefer the organic mulches that feed the soil. It's more work since you need to add more each year but as the mulch breaks down the soil quality improves. When you have heavy clay soil that extra organic matter is a major asset.
Two yards of mulch and 6 garden beds later - not to mention one sore back - my front gardens were prepared for growing. The front porch garden is ready. The daffodils are springing up fast. I still need one more 'Otto Luyken' Cherry laurel to complete the evergreen backdrop. The crape myrtle on the left will be gorgeous this year - it has no choice... ;) One problem with this bed is the natural stone border. I love the natural look but the stones tend to sink quickly into the grass once the growing season starts and they become hard to see, even after trimming. We may have a solution: I'll buy some cheap concrete cap stones about 4 inches thick as a bottom layer to raise up the natural stones. No one will see the concrete and the natural stones will remain above grade to give us that natural stone border look.
The front sidewalk is cleaned up now. The scraggly sprigs of stuff on the right are the leftover stalks of the salvia. To the left is my winter jasmine just barely making the shot. I still need to trim the yews - I just ran out of time.
One newer bed that received a mulching is the one under this Bradford pear tree. The pear tree is slated for removal soon but we thought we would give it one more bloom before cutting it down. This bed already had irises, agastache, penstemon, and a viburnum.
My goal is to get all this mulching stuff done way before warm weather comes. That way I can simply enjoy the garden and maintain it rather than work myself to exhaustion - but most likely I'll end up getting myself into some other project!
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Monday, February 21, 2011
Over the Weekend
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Dave is the author of Growing The Home Garden and runs a small nursery business growing vegetables and herbs for local customers in Spring Hill, TN. (Blue Shed Gardens or FB page). He has written for gardening publications, Troy-Bilt and Lowe's and is available for edible garden consulting. Dave gardens organically and when he isn't writing, collecting seeds, or propagating plants he's parenting his 4 children as a stay at home dad.