Practical Garden Tips

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Me vs. Dandelions:  This Time I Am The Eco-Victor

Are you fighting the good fight against weeds?  Do you wish to eradicate them while maintaining an organic yard?

For way too long, I have battled a row of dandelions between my driveway rock wall and the pavement.  Getting at the roots as you can see from the photo was impossible as they were lodged underneath, and no way was I going to resort to nasty chemicals.  I chipped away as best I could to dislodge the root systems, but within a week or 2 these tormentors taunted me again.  Two weeks ago, I fetched my arsenal big guns (holy heck, why did it take me so long to think of this?).  I sprayed each of the dandys with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar and let nature take its course. 

I completely forgot about them until 2 days later as I pulled into the driveway I noticed the withered remains.  While I could chalk it up to lack of rainfall, I purposefully did not treat other areas of my dry driveway, and those weeds are doing just marvy.  Now that I know this works, goodbye to those too.

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Caveat:  this technique, while powerful, could be devastating to plantings you wish to retain.  Using the mixture is ideal in areas where complete weed eradication is desired like driveways and sidewalks without concern about harmful chemicals leaching into your herbs and veggies or run-off into nearby waterbodies.

Fresh layer of potting soil creates a striking look

Fresh layer of potting soil creates a striking look

Good Doyt

As a toddler, my son was a vehicle fanatic.  Gawking at construction vehicles launched him over the moon.  One of his favorite DVD's featured a backhoe relocating soil and at one point, the narrator mentions the importance of good dirt.  My son latched onto that phrase and each time he watched, he would shout, "good doyt."

From that day on, whenever I work in my gardens I think about "good doyt."  Using high quality potting soil provides optimal nutrition and support for your plants' root systems.  As a bonus, fresh, dark brown potting soil (as well as mulching for your gardens) creates aesthetic curbside appeal for your patio or garden beds. 

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Gardening experts recommend a complete repotting each spring to loosen soil around the roots and ensure the proper size vessel allowing your plants room to grow. However, if your schedule is too tight for repotting or your budget is too thin to purchase yards of dirt, then opt for a top off layer to achieve "the look."   You will be amazed at the striking difference once you replace the old, matted dirt.

If a home sale is on your horizon or you just want your gardens to have a higher wow factor, consider freshening up your gardens and pots with a new layer of soil.

Keep the Pests Away


It took me a while to find a practical solution to keeping the deer, birds, etc. away from my blueberry bushes.  I tried bird netting for a few years, but it was the bane of my garden existence.  It ripped my nails, frequently got tangled in the branches dislodging unripe berries, and made it extraordinarily difficult to harvest the fruit.   I have now replaced all of the netting with green tulle.  It camouflages rather well with the plants and it is so much easier to quickly pick the berries.  Although I felt bad about disposing the netting, the recycling center took it off my hands.

Trying this in my garden, I will keep you posted as to how this is working.  I am using dryer lint to surround my new plantings particularly veggies that are slug targets.  So far it seems the slugs have been avoiding the plants (knock on wood).