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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

You Can Say I'm a Fan of The Ginkgo Tree (Picture Post)

The fan shaped leaves of the ginkgo are one of my favorite trees to watch in the fall. The leaves turn a bright gold that really is quite magical to see! You know what though? The summer leaves look pretty awesome too!

Ginkgo biloba backlit with the sun.

Corner Shade Garden Then (2008) and Now (2011)

Three years ago I redid a corner spot along our house and turned it into a shade garden. Two plants were present when I started to install the shade garden: a privet (ligustrum) and a cedar tree. I removed the privet mostly because I didn't like it and removed the cedar due to a bagworm infestation I had early last spring. I replaced the privet with an oak leaf hydrangea and plants a 'Constellation' dogwood tree near where the cedar tree was. The dogwood isn't an evergreen tree and isn't as selectable to bagworms. Let's take a look back.

In 2008:

Here is what the Corner Shade Garden looked like three years ago. The hostas and heucheras were very young, coleus was planted in a few locations (a great annual to add a little color to a shady area), and the oak leaf hydrangea was small, very small.  I tend to plant smaller plants because of the value and because the smaller root system can better adapt as it grows to the conditions of the area.  I've always liked hostas but because I knew rabbits and deer lived nearby I planted the heucheras interspersed with the hostas.  Deer and rabbits don't ever touch our heucheras and mixing things up a little seems to have helped the hostas. The only deer damage our hostas have seen appeared after the tall flowering stalks appeared. The flowers were nibbled off that first year but have been fine ever since.

In 2011:

Here is the shade garden now in late May. The oak leaf hydrangea is in full bloom and actually needs trimming to allow access to the gas meter. Some of the heucheras and hostas have been divided not just to spread them out but also because they were getting large. There's even a stone border now that wasn't present in the 2008 Corner Shade Garden. It's amazing how things change over time! See below for a list of plants that currently reside in the Corner Shade Garden.

Here are a few past posts about the Corner Shade Garden:

List of Shade Plants in the Corner Shade Garden:

  • Hosta 'Ginkgo Craig'
  • Hosta 'Patriot'
  • A few unnamed Hostas
  • Japanese Painted Fern
  • Astilbe
  • Variegated Solomon's Seal
  • Ajuga

Monday, May 30, 2011

On Memorial Day

To our veterans and their families who have made the ultimate sacrifice, thank you. Without your sacrifice our country and our world would not be as it is today. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the rights accorded to us through the Declaration of Independence, were what you fought for, what you protected, and continue to be protected by those who serve our country. On this day let us remember your sacrifice and appreciate the country that our fallen soldiers have defended with their lives.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

-John McCrae

More on Memorial Day.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cool Combos: Achillea and Asiatic Lily

Sometimes I plan really well and gardens come together perfectly, sometimes I don't, --- and sometimes I get lucky! Luck is the case with the combination of Achillea and Asiatic Lily that I'm about to show you. Maybe I was thinking that because both plants started with the letter 'A' that they would go well together...I don't think so. It was more likely I was going through the discount plant shove in any open spot strategy (DPSIAOSS for short). Whatever the case this happy combination of pink achillea and red Asiatic lilies seem to make an attractive and somewhat bold companion planting!

Asiatic Lilies and Achillea

The soft pink and deep red work well together. 

Asiatic Lilies and Achillea

The glossy foliage of the lilies is a contrast to the feathery foliage of the achillea.

Asiatic Lilies and Achillea
These are the first Asiatic lilies to bloom in our yard this year. I'm hoping to hybridize a few of them when the other Asiatics bloom to see what the resulting lilies might look like. I've propagated the Asiatic lilies from the leaves before but I've never tried hybridizing them. 

Asiatic Lilies and Achillea

What unexpected combinations of perennials has your garden displayed?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mystery Plant or Mystery Weed, Which Is It?

Maybe you can help us figure something out. Jaime sent me this picture of a plant growing where she wanted to plant zinnias. If the plant growing there is something good then she'd like to see it grow to flower but if it's a weed well, you know what she'll do to that weed! I've checked out several weed pictures and can't seem to match one up with the plant in her picture so I figured that someone reading this blog might have a good guess that will help Jaime out.  Here's the picture of the mystery plant:

What do you think? What plant is this mystery plant?

More Fun With Seedlings!

I'm still playing in the dirt with seedlings! Aren't you? This week I was excited to see some of my recent plantings begin to emerge from the soil. What is really cool about seed starting is the variety of plants you could potentially grow. Almost anything is possible! It's also very cool when the plants are shared from another gardener.

A couple months ago Nancy Ondra sent me these seeds which are doing great so far!

Black-leaved cotton (Gossypium herbaceum ‘Nigrum’)

This ornamental cotton sports pinkish colored flowers and dark, almost black foliage. I love to see plants with interesting foliage and since most of my garden tends to be in shades of green the dark foliage of this cotton is very welcome! I may have to pair it with some lime green ornamental sweet potatoes. The kids will have fun collecting the cotton in the fall!

Here's a close-up of the cotton cotyledons (say that five times fast!). You can already see the coloration in the first leaves.

Ornamental Corn 'Tiger Cub'

Nancy also sent me a few seeds for this ornamental corn called 'Tiger Cub'. I tried growing this once before with seed I bought from a big time seed company but didn't see any germination in the 5 seeds of the packet. The seedlings from Nan's garden are doing very well so far! When mature it has a beautiful striped variegation.

Oryza sativa ‘Red Dragon’

'Red Dragon' is an ornamental rice with a dark burgundy colored foliage. The challenge for me will be keeping these rice plants moist enough to thrive. I have a couple locations that might be suitable with higher moisture and mostly full sun. They are an annual but easily grow from collected seed as you can see!

Lemon Basil

This little seedling decided that it wanted to grow again in my garden this year. Basil is one of those herbs I can't get enough of and some of them germinate all on their own each year. I don't discourage this of course because if Mother Nature starts the seeds...I don't have to!  Honestly, I can't say as I'm a big fan of the lemon basils. I really prefer the dark colored foliage of the purple basils or the delicious taste of the Italian basils. The original lemon basil plant came from a garden club member two years ago. It just keeps coming back!

What seeds are coming up in your garden?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Little Bit of Yellow in My Garden

Yellow is a color that just seems to brighten things up. It's like bringing  a little sunshine to the earth and into the garden. Most of my yellow plants love soaking up the sun which is great since shade in my garden is extremely limited.

This yellow achillea is just outside my vegetable garden. It attracts all kinds of pollinators and has never been nibbled on by any deer or rabbits.

Another yellow flowering perennial is this coreopsis. I have no idea what the variety is since it self-sowed in this location next to the 'Husker's Red' Penstemon. I suspect it's related to a 'Jethro Tull' coreopsis I once had. Sadly 'Jethro' is no longer with us, but maybe 'Jethro Jr.' lives on...

One of my favorite yellow flowering perennials is this gaillardia, 'Oranges and Lemons'. It doesn't seem to enjoy locations that are too wet in the winter but otherwise is pretty easy to grow. It's offspring will not return true but can be quite attractive anyway. My first 'Oranges and Lemons' gaillardia that died left behind seeds that became a really nice replacement. Gaillardias bloom profusely and never seem to quit until the weather changes in late fall. 'Oranges and Lemons' is patented so no illegal plant propagation for this one!

What yellow flowering plants do you use in your garden?

Sounds of the Cicadas

In case you happen to not be in cicada territory and don't have the joy of listening to their "soothing music" here's a video of our backyard with our local cicadas from brood 2011 blaring in the background. The sound in the trees is deafening and after 45 minutes of being outside your head begins to throb. Turn up your computer's volume to get as much of the effect as possible or to creep out your co-workers! It's not the same as being here, but you'll get the idea!

And here's a close-up picture of the cicadas if you can't get enough of these noisy insects!

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Variegated Caryopteris Cutting

Yesterday day I mentioned how quickly and easily my Snow Fairy caryopteris (Caryopteris divaricata) rooted. Today I went out and potted my little cutting up into a small 4" pot for it to grow a stronger root system before I plant it in the yard. I took a picture to show you about what size and kind of cutting I made.

The caryopteris cutting is about 3 nodes long but will root along the stem so internodal cuttings are possible, at least they have been for Caryopteris clandonensis and its cultivars.

I also potted up several other cuttings like Russian sage, 'Autumn Joy' Sedum, Sedum 'Matrona', and Veronica.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Caryopteris Snow Fairy

It's always fun to plant new plants in the garden! I'm sure you agree! Caryopteris has been one of my favorite perennials for a couple years now and I've gradually developed a hedge of caryopteris along one side of our yard. The hedge row was inspired by a picture I once saw of a caryopteris row at Longview Gardens. This year I found a new caryopteris to add into my garden: 'Snow Fairy' (Caryopteris divaricata).  It's a Japanese variety with variegated foliage and blue flowers in the fall. I know from my other caryopteris plants that pollinators love caryopteris.

Since I planted it about a month ago it's already tripled in size. Two weeks ago I took a caryopteris cutting and a few days ago I noticed roots. Other caryopteris plants (Caryopteris clandonensis) are very easy to root as well. Take a look at this post if you're interested in propagating caryopteris.

Have you tried growing 'Snow Fairy in your garden yet?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Propagating Chamaecyparis!

I'm always excited to learn how to propagate something new. Recently I've managed to get a few cuttings of a dwarf chamaecyparis to successfully root. I started the cuttings back in the fall and kept them overwintered in the garden shed. I didn't have any bottom heat even though I'm sure that would have sped the rooting process up significantly. We all like it warmer don't we? Plants do too. I kept the cuttings moist in the typical sand medium I like to use and covered them with a plastic lid. Essentially it was like a greenhouse in a greenhouse. About 6 weeks ago (End of March/beginning of April) I discovered the first two cuttings had roots. I still had 4 more cuttings waiting to root and I found just a couple days ago that the next one had rooted. Sometimes patience really pays off. Here's a picture of the rooted chamaecyparis. The tiny white nub is the beginning of will be the new root system of a really cool chamaecyparis.

I took the cuttings from a garden club member's chamaecyparis but I've forgotten the cultivar. I know it's a dwarf and it's extremely slow growing. It might be 2 years before this little cutting is suitable for planting in the garden. Most likely it will never go above 18 inches tall. I need to check and see which variety it is. The branches have a neat twisting habit that combined with the scale-like leaves makes the chamaecyparis appear almost fluffy.

With the warm weather beginning to stabilize I'm looking forward to propagating a while lot more for the garden! Have you propagated anything lately?

Here's A Few Posts on Plant Propagation from The Home Garden

Just a Poppy Picture!

Due to mowing last evening a more detailed post about plant propagation was not possible - coming soon though! For now enjoy the poppy! For more poppy pictures look here: Performance of the Poppies!

And check out Nell Jean's Poppy post at Secrets of a seed Scatterer!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Performance of the Poppies!

Every year one of the great performances in my garden is the performance of the poppies. These simple red flowers came in a free packet of seed several years ago and still keep on putting on powerful displays of red paper-like petals. With as easy as poppies are to grow and maintain (I do nothing other than spread the seeds every now and then) it makes me wonder why they aren't in every garden? Poppy seeds planted in the fall bloom the following spring and produce seed pods with lots of little tiny poppy seeds. I think I should add a few additional colors of poppies to the self-sowing garden for some variety.

Do you plant poppy seeds in your garden? Or are they just in your muffins? ;)

Harvesting The Vegetable Garden in Mid May

The most exciting time in the garden is the harvest time! It's the time when you get to go to the vegetable garden and taste the goodies the garden has grown. All the hard work that you put into the garden shows up at the harvest stage. It's also where you can measure how good your garden really is! I've been pretty pleased with our garden this year so far. It has a long way to go and many more harvests will come but already this spring we've had quite a few meals at least partially from the garden. Salads have been plentiful with a blend of lettuce, spinach, pak choi, and arugula. The strawberries have been great despite their smallish size and just this week the sugar snap peas have really come along.

Take a look and see!

This container is about 32 oz. and is about half full. So in total we gathered about a pint of delicious strawberries with many more to gather still out in the garden. This is the third strawberry harvest for us this season.

More snap peas are on the way and lots of flowers still forming. Snap peas are enjoyable right out of the garden!

What are you harvesting from your garden?

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Few Blooming May Flowers!

It's a good thing I took several pictures toward the end of last week since the rain and dreary weather has dampened much of the garden. Sunny days are ahead but until then all we have are a few photos of flowers from the gardens. That will just have to do!

Up first we have some achillea. Also called yarrow it is an extremely useful filler plant with pretty much no maintenance. It attracts pollinators and look great almost all the time.

Catmint and salvia are two of my favorite perennials. Catmint grows easy, blooms prolifically, propagates easily, smells great, and attracts pollinators! Pretty good huh? The salvia (this one is 'Caradonna') needs a trimming after bloom to refresh its flowers but other than that it's extremely low maintenance.

Penstemon is another plant that is pretty cool. The bell shaped flowers attract hummingbirds and pollinators. I have this one planted next to a viburnum but it will need moved eventually. Hopefully it will seed well this year and I can spread the seed in the self sowing garden. If not propagation is always a fun way to make more plants!

Our rose campion has really bloomed out well this year. The red flowers self-sow prolifically which is fin by me since it puts on such a great show. These are in our rain garden which has been overrun with coneflowers this year. I can't wait to see it flowering this summer! 

How's your garden blooming?

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cicadas are Here and Humming

OK perhaps humming isn't the proper word...buzzing...droning...that's more like it! The cicadas are here and in action making a cacophony of sound all around. I noticed their cast off shells hanging on the tall grass foliage in the backyard while mowing the other evening but didn't see any actual cicadas until Thursday. My daughter and I went exploring in the backyard and we found this cicada hanging onto a leaf. It's one slightly bent wing makes it look a little like it may have just molted.

I know some gardeners have expressed concern over cicadas eating their vegetable gardens but I don't think there is anything to worry about - or if there is not much. So far there haven't been any encroachments into my garden and the cicadas have stayed mostly in the trees singing their songs. From what I know about cicadas (and I am no entomologist) they pretty much stick to those tree for their nesting and egg laying. Damage tends to be restricted to young branches where they lay their eggs. But if you do happen to see cicadas nibbling on your vegetables try covering the vegetables with a fine mesh netting - where the mesh is smaller than the cicadas. That should do the trick without any harmful sprays. Although I suspect you're more likely to see other regular garden insect pests munching on your maters than cicadas!

Cicada Shell After Molting

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Winner is...

First of all let me apologize for the delay. I had hoped to announce this this morning but Blogger (the blogging platform I use for The Home Garden) has been down since Thursday evening. I was unable to write anything about the drawing for the Dupont Weed Fabric and Lowe's Gift Card until now. I mentioned the delay on The Home Garden Facebook Page which is a good place to visit if something like this happens in the future!

To participate in the drawing all that was necessary was commenting and sharing your favorite weed prevention tips!

Here's what you shared about weeding and who shared it:

Use newspapers or cardboard to prevent weeds (with mulch)
Laura, Anonymous, karenleigh, Tina, Megan, Danielle B., Michael, Sylvia, Denise, Lola, Melody, KayzKreationz, Anne, Randy, Rowena__, Gloria, Tessa, Dena, Mysterious OpenID Person (sorry you didn't leave a name ;) )

lisa, lorraine, Kevin, Ginger, Brenda, 

The old hand weed by hand technique!
Alison, Alan, My Kids' Mom, Kristine M., Brandi Mills, Carmen, C.A.Marshall, Junk Loving Girl

Rolling up landscape fabric at the end of the season.

Landscape Fabric

Weed and sod removal

Covering with grass clippings.

Flame Weeders (Some Like it Hot)!

Till it and kill it! (Catchy!)

Now for what you've been waiting for - the drawing and who wins the landscape fabric along with a $100 gift card to Lowe's. By using the random number generator set to pick the number between 1 and 43 (for all the great comments) and counting down in order from the first comment we will come up with our winner.

Drumroll please!

are you drumming yet?

It's OK if you are in your office just grab two pencils and drum with the erasers...

No one in your office will mind...

They might think you're a little crazy though...but it is Friday after all....

...paradiddle ... paradiddle....roll...

and the winner is.....

Comment number 40! Which means our winner today is Ginger! Congratulations Ginger!

And thanks for everyone for commenting and visiting The Home Garden!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Vegetable Garden Video Update!

Since I bought my new toy (a Sony Handycam HDR-CX130) I've been playing around with filming my garden in different areas. I have to admit - talking to a camera by oneself while wandering around your garden is a weird sensation. I'm convinced that my neighbors already think I'm crazy and I doubt video recording my garden is going to change that! My most recent video is a short tour of my vegetable garden. Enjoy!

My Vegetable Garden As of May 11, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Greenland Gardener Raised Beds - Part 2

A few weeks ago I told you about the Greenland Gardener raised bed system. It consisted of several composite boards that could be put together using specially made corners also made from composite lumber. With composite materials you don't have to worry about the materials breaking down which is a huge advantage over typical lumber. If you read my previous post on the Greenland Gardener raised beds you probably remember the basics of the raised bed kit. Overall the system was OK and the idea good but I had some issues with boards that were not properly routed out. Something that I think is really good about the system they've devised - there is a simple way to plan and plant the vegetable garden. They've devised a clever seed planting kit (that retails for 14.99 at Amazon) that may be just the thing for new gardeners.

The planting kit comes with two pieces of fabric with appropriately spaces holes for planting certain kinds of seeds. Pictures on the fabric make planting the seeds that come with the kit very easy. It also instructs you to plant a certain number of seeds per hole (which I find unnecessary in my seed planting, I'll just replant later if I need to fill in a space.) and instructs the gardener to plant the seeds to the proper depth. The seed planting kit pretty much takes all the guess work out of the garden. The hole spacing is what makes this system extremely useful. All the seed planting holes are spaced out just right to fill up the bed.

The kit came with two garden plans, one a regular vegetable garden and the other a salsa garden. I went ahead and planted both gardens as the instructions instructed. I made one adjustment to the salsa garden and planted an extra tomatillo seed where the red tomato seed was supposed to be. With over 16 other tomato plants already planted in my garden I really didn't need all three plants the kit would have produced.

I think this would be a good first step garden to teach young gardeners (kids) and even beginning adult gardeners. My first of three criticisms is that the plants may not all work at the same time. Take the cilantro for example. I planted it to see how it would do but all my other cilantro plants are bolting this time of year and won't germinate new seedlings until fall (more northern climates may not have that issue). My second criticism is that there really aren't enough seeds to replant again next year, not if you follow the instructions. My last criticism, which is very minor, is that I like to know which variety of vegetable I'm planting. If a vegetable is an heirloom or an F1 I like to know. I want to know if it's a 'Brandywine' or a 'Better Boy'. I test and see what does great in my garden and what doesn't, then adjust my garden game-plan accordingly. These vegetables aren't labeled with variety names, simply Red Tomato or Yellow Tomato. That's not enough for me but it's a good starter garden. As a gardener grows in experience he or she always wants to know more, that's what makes gardening fun.

Filling Raised Beds with Layering

The layering technique is my favorite way of filling new or replenishing already established raised beds. Layering (also called Lasagna Gardening) doesn't require tilling the soil which can disturb the lives of beneficial microbes and soil dwelling organisms. It also doesn't destroy the soil structure (assuming you have something better than clay or sand!) Often weed seeds can lurk inside the soil and when they get tilled are brought to the surface and then they germinate. Layering actually smothers potential weeds even deeper. I'm sure you can see the benefits of layering and why I like it so much.

Here's where my raised bed started. It was a mess. Onions on the right were crowded over by weeds. I've been leaving grass clippings to dry out on the left side. I use grass clippings a lot to add organic content to the soil and as a mulch.

Then I added more grass clippings - fresh grass from my fertilizer, pesticide and chemical free lawn. That's extremely important since chemicals will effect the vegetable plants in the raised bed garden.

Next I covered with the Dupont Weed fabric. It's much easier to lay then newspaper which is what I usually use for this step. Since it is supposed to be biodegradable, is made from wood, and is organic I thought it would work fine for this step. I had to hold it down on one end with a brick to keep it in place while I covered it with soil. 

Next I covered with a soil mix of compost, bagged topsoil, and soil conditioner. The soil will keep the weed fabric down which should prevent weed seeds from germinating underneath. We'll see how well it works this year.

Here is the filled bed. Nutrients from the top layers will seep into the soil underneath and enrich the bed.

10 Bags of soil, 4 bags of soil conditioner, a wheelbarrow of compost, and several bags of grass clippings filled three raised beds (3'x10', 4'x10', and 84"x42"). I don't shy away from using weeds (without seeds) as bottom layers as long as I remove the roots or let them sufficiently roast under the sun. 

I didn't include the following list in my post Designing a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden: 11 Things to Think About but probably should have!

Good materials for layering a raised bed:

Newspapers, cardboard, tree leaves (in fall) - leaf mold, grass clippings, kitchen scraps (avoid animal products), straw, manure (often best to let it fully compost before use).

What do you use in your raised beds?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bunnies in the Garden

What do you do when cute little furry bunnies that eat your strawberries? Good question! I'm not sure I have the best answer and maybe you have some suggestions for this issue but over the weekend I found a solution that so far seems to have worked.  First let me share with you how I found bunnies in my garden.

On Saturday I was out in the vegetable garden filling a few raised beds (including the Greenland Gardener bed I mentioned a few weeks ago - more on that later this week) and picked up the hose to water a few plants. I looked to the strawberry plants and though "they could use a drink" and began to spray at the base of the strawberry plants as best as I could when something ran out - the first little bunny! It was soaking wet from the hose but otherwise unharmed.  I snuck up behind it, gently picked it up, and moved it out of the garden into the brushy hillside area. Then I thought "I wonder who else is hiding in there?" and proceeded to spray more of the strawberry patch. Two more bunnies raced out and ran for cover. I doubted they would stay out of the garden - you know how bunnies are - always hungry - and always making more mouths to feed!

Later in the day I came back to the vegetable garden and checked the strawberry patch again for bunnies - sure enough - the three bunnies were back!  This time I captured all three bunnies and placed them in a tall nursery pot. I kept them there while I worked in the garden some more and planted cantaloupe, squash, zinnias, marigolds, and beans, beans, and more beans! I can't wait for this summer's harvest to come rolling in. Back to the bunnies...

I decided I would give them one more chance to stay away from the garden and in my territory (AKA yard). I moved all three bunnies underneath a large - and quite wild - multiflora rose bush on our hillside. I figured it would offer them adequate protection from predators (which consist mostly of neighborhood cats) and was a good distance away from my vegetable garden. But I couldn't stop there. I went to my garden shelf (OK I don't have just one - things tend to end up all over the place) and brought out my bloodmeal. I sprinkled the bloodmeal around the strawberries, asparagus, tomatoes, and all around the vegetable garden. Bloodmeal has a Nitrogen content of 12% which is useful to all those plants. Bloodmeal also scares away creatures that tend to be lower on the food chain. They smell the scent of blood and are afraid a predator may be lurking about. After two days we seem to be bunny free in the vegetable garden. Hopefully now that they are out they will stay out, but it is a wake up call for me - my fence needs bunny proofed! 

We'll see how this goes! How do you keep rabbits out of your garden?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Win DuPont Biodegradable Weed Fabric and $100 Lowe's Gift Card!

A couple weeks ago a representative for DuPont contacted me and asked me to review one of their products. It was a weed control fabric (DuPont Garden O.N.E® Biodegradable Weed Control Fabric). I was skeptical about it at first (since weed control fabrics and myself don't usually get along) but I said go ahead and send it and I'd take a look.When I looked at the weed fabric packaging I was pleased to find a 100% biodegradable weed control fabric for vegetable gardens and annual plantings! That's what it says on the packaging.

If you read further down the roll you'll find that the weed fabric is made from wood fiber, is suggested for use in organic gardens, and can be tilled into the soil at the end of the year! Sounds like newspaper put into a convenient roll for you.

I haven't tested my weed control fabric yet but I'm planning to get it in the vegetable garden this weekend. I'll lay the fabric down and mound my melon hills over it. The fact that it can be worked back into the soil at the end of the season makes it worth trying. Most weed control fabrics take years to break down and create issues the following year when you go to replant that bed, but since this fabric breaks down into the soil next year's planting should go very smoothly. I'll update you on the weed fabric installation next week.

DuPont sent me a $100 gift card to Lowe's to get some supplies for testing the weed control fabric and is offering a roll of it (which can be found at Lowe's) and a $100 Lowe's gift card to one reader here at The Home Garden! To enter into the drawing simply enter a comment in this post explaining what your favorite weed control technique is! Next Friday (May 13, 2011) may be your lucky day because that's when I'll announce the randomly selected winner in a post with everyone's weed control tips listed. (If you have a blog include the url to it in the comments and I'll link to you in next Friday's post.)

So tell me, what is your favorite weed control technique?