Whether it's weeding, dragging hoses, staking, edging,deadheading, making compost, spreading mulch, creating new gardens or revamping gardens, let's try and help each other with any good ideas we might have so we can enjoy our gardens more and work fewer hours.
This year I intend to drive in my rebar stakes for the dahlias long before I plant them and leave them in place so I won't have to face it as an annual job.
The only way I can see to cut back on the deadheading of daylilies time is to halve each of them in April so there will just be half the usual number of them.
Staking is a chore and then tying up the dahlias, in my case, as they continue to grow just becomes a chore. This year I'll add string at various points along the rebar so it won't be constant trips to the garage for more string.
Some tall bearded irises need staking and others don't. I don't even like the look of stakes and if I don't do it we're sure to have enough of a breeze or wind that I end up regretting it.
I'm thankful my hundreds of lilies don't need staking!
Pirl, That's why I stopped growing Dahlias and Glads. More than half of my lilies do need staking as well as some of the Iris. Here, the stakes never get put away, just get transferred from one type of plant to another as the next blooming period starts.
The Peony Hoops also get pulled out again for some of the taller fall bloomers.
For me, I spend a huge amount of time deadheading...mainly annuals and daylilies, but it's worth it. Pickung up rose petals is another less than exciting task.
I have to keep telling myself that no one is going to scrutinize the garden the way I do...but does it sink in ? NO !
Yes, staking in advance is a very smart thing to do and a definite time saver.
Oh good! My roses are too little yet to have anything growing under them. I'll put that chore off for a few years. In the meantime, petals look kind of pretty scattered all over the mulch. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! LOL Don't need more chores.
I dont have enough garden that requires staking.I leave the stakes in for the lilies,I have always marked where they are when I plant the bulbs.Many of mine are so new they dont need staking,mostly asiatics.
I will have to re d- drive the stakes this spring. The deer have bent them.
I spend a lot of time taking cronological pictures of my gardens so I have a winter visual as to where to plant new things.Once a month I photo every garden from the border,I use the early spring and mid summer photos to see where plants are needed.
Thanks for the Sarah Vaughn Valantines song Stormy. She is a favorite of mine.
It is the bane of my existence. It spreads above ground, below ground and by seed. It is susceptible to Round Up (although some idiots were working on a Round Up resistant type for golf courses - I hope the outcry stopped them) but it takes anywhere from a week to 2 (here) to work. Once it gets inside your plants, you pretty much have to dig them up to eradicate it.
I keep saying if I ever buy another piece of property, Bermuda grass would be a deal breaker. The only situation it doesn't like is shady. More trees!!!
For me it is watering. I have one outside faucet with a double bib. One hose goes around the front and the other goes around the back. I guess we are talking 75-100 ft of hose each direction. Till I drag the hoses around the yard and water everything it takes an hour or more each time I water. I did put in some hose guards and a long handled watering wand. But have to carefully place the hose through some areas to reach others I have some stepping stones placed in the beds so I can reach the window boxes and living wreaths. I usually have to take the wreaths down and soak them. They aren't bad coming down up going back up them are heavy and drippy. I try to water the front one day and the back another or it would take even longer. We haven't even talked about watering the veggie garden which is close to the outside faucet but doesn't have stakes to keep the hose in line and then there is the occasional watering of the Leland Cyprus or the evergreens that requires getting out the soaker hose. Till it is all done I'm a sopping mess sometimes on a hot day that is kind of nice but that well water is cold no matter how hot the day is. LOL
Good grief.Thats one of my peves too.
I use a sprinkler and water the lawn at the same time.
Placing the hose so it wont drag over plants is a nuisence. I also have guides (rebar ,my fav) but sometimes the hose flips over and I have to go back and re ajust.
Ric has talked about putting in a second "summer" faucet at the other end of the house by the garage. That would help some as the beds by the end of the drive are hard to reach and the pots that sit on the deck and all the little pots by the potting shed would also be in easy reach. But I would still have to drag the other hoses the full length to reach the roses out on the split rail fence out front and the back corner, but somehow going out isn't as hard as going around that end.
I once owned a home with just one faucet so I can appreciate all you go through. When I called the plumber and saw how cheap it was (way back, long long ago) I had another faucet added in the back and it felt like the best gift to myself ever!
We have five faucets here (L shaped house) and an irrigation system so watering isn't the problem it could have been. Here we've had one faucet removed and two others added. Age is a witch!
Jack made copper hose guides with wooden tops, shown here at the bottom center. The total length is probably about 14" and they stay put quite well except for the few near the lawn, which the mowing guy loves to hit. At least they don't break.
My husband installed a faucet on our deck after he saw me making oodles of trips to the kitchen sink or dragging the hose up one story and leaving it dangling over the railing. It's a delight when it works. It usually cracks over the winter and the first watering consists of watering the walkway with great gushes of water. This year he blew air through the line in an attempt to keep this from happening. It would be nice if it works since it usually takes him the entire summer to get around to fixing it for me!
Watering is a real bear for me too. I have 3 faucets now and have been working on a drip sytsem for the past season for my roadside bed. It's still not right. It needs at least 4 more hoses and now I find that there is a water pressure problem getting enough water out there to all of the hoses.
Hand watering by hose takes me 3 hours to do everything, even though I keep one sprinkler running in the roadside bed most days.The bed is so big that I have to move the sprinkler a number of times to cover the whole bed. I try to break the watering up over different days.
When we did over one garden I made the mistake of planting too close to the house and those astilbe do not get sufficient water so I planted them with water crystals. We'll see how well they did when spring arrives.
I've been curious about water crystals. They sure seem like a good idea. Keep us posted on your results!
I need to mix in more compost around my astilbes. They seem to depleat the soil and I spent too much money to lose any of them now!
The neighbors have been talking about cutting down the walnut tree that shades the astilbes, so I may be moving them anyway. It would be a good time to add crystals to the new planting hole if it happens.
I use crystals in my pots and window/deck boxes. Those crystals have saved many a plant for me as I tend to let them go just one day too long before I water. I haven't tried putting them in the beds yet. That might be an idea as I have wide eaves on the house and my front beds do get dry especially in the winter when you don't normally water. I just did a 10 gallon water exchange from the aquarium and those 10 gallons along with that fish poop went on the Azaleas in that bed.LOL Having a summer faucet isn't really a problem after all my youngest son Jamie is a plumber. LOL Not to mention that Ric or Josh could easily do the job. The real problem is I don't have a basement. My house is built on a concrete slab with a crawl space and no one wants to crawl in there to do the job. I will agree that it isn't the nicest spot to work but it isn't stone or mud it is concrete and we do have a couple of those things they use in garages to roll under cars. Might just use one of those Mother Day vouchers this year, to get it done. LOL
Love that Mother's Day voucher, Holly. It could be done after a long day working so their clothes wouldn't necessarily reflect anything more to soil them.
One of the lines we added was done by the skinny plumber's son who is also a plumber and couldn't have taken an hour - bless him! We do have a basement but also have crawl space and that was precisely where he had to work.
Seriously, though (yeah right!), I am looking to make things easier any way possible. My back and knee problems (not to mention my battle with chronic laziness) are not going away. That's why I switched gears about five years ago and emphasized shrubs and small trees, instead of perennials. The deer have thrown another monkey wrench in there too.
The deer are 100% aggravation here as well, Victor. They've not only attacked plants but bird feeders, trampling many new daylilies while they frolicked. It's a shame that our town won't lift a finger to help out gardeners or the farmers who lose five million a year on lost crops. All the vineyards have gone to 12' high fencing but it's not beautiful to view for homeowners.
All the woeful cries of, "The deer were here first", fall on deaf ears since one man stood up and said he had been hunting here since he was a young person and never saw a deer out here in the 40's and 50's.
Before we tried the professional weed barriers we had tried two others and they did not work. My husband installed this fabric on the four paths in this garden and then we piled on chips. It does have to be stapled down for best results. Wal Mart has a good selection of staples.
I've found old carpet works very well as a barrier, and often use it in the veggies under cantaloupes and melons. Under wood chips it is very effective. I've found an endless supply on curb sides. LOL
Victor, I have yet to find any "garden-loving nymphomaniacs", on the curbside. DAH, maybe I should ask Holly for a voucher when she starts her (I mean our) next project. Ric
Thanks for the link, victor. Will try to do some thinking about calls I could make to find the professional grade fabric. I know what we can get around here, and it won't stand up a year. Thanks for the picture, pirl.
Still can't wait around the gardens here. A foot of snow or more on most of them. Sigh.
In reguard to body failure
,cutting back on the gardening
making things simpler with the use of weed barrier.
Welcome to my world
I would say go for it.
BUT remember all the griping I have done for 2 years about making new gardens here.I have pulled up miles of the stuff.HATE it with a passion.
It was laid down 20 years ago when the tract was built.
The barrier is under the entire mulched area seen in these photos.
There are areas where its quite deep and I can plant over it,but mostly I have to dig it out and use a box cutter to remove it in small pieces.
This is the area along my neighbors line where I have done the most work.
This border is 75 feet long and 10-20 feet wide with trees down the middle.
First pic was 2008,the first year I started the ShadeGarden.1 tree was removed that year( Bear is on the stump).
Second pic is June of last year. Big difference you must admit.
As my body ages I want to be able to sit on the deck and gaze at the garden,I probably will not win a neat garden award because its just too hard to weed and bend over to plant and dig holes for plants, thats why the garden is crammed to cut down on weeds.
About 25 years ago we put down a landscape fabric with mulch and edging around our Evergreen group. They were young trees and it looked so nice. Mowing was easier and it showed off the smaller trees so nicely. I planted vinca minor out along the roadside next to the mulched area. Well the vinca didn't want to grow alongside the road it wanted to grow in the mulch area so I let it go now that whole mulched area is a bed of vinca and there are all kinds of weeds growing mixed in with that vinca. Especially some nasties that send out runners under the vinca. But they are usually easier to pull as they are growing in the mulch. After all these years that fabric is still holding up I had a devil of a time digging thru the vinca, mulch and fabric last summer to plant a hydrangea I wanted to add to the grouping. HOLLY
I feel your pain. When I was sent 75 pounds of DL's I expanded the garden again to acomodate them plus a few other transplanted hostas, and found white plastic mulch bags acting as a barrier.
There was a fine layer of spruce roots growing above the plastic and under the 6 inches of mulch. I had to use tree loppers to cut roots out so I could put in Asiatic lilies.
Its a mess in there.
I had Vinca in my old house gardens and ignored it ,bad idea.It came in with a Iris transplant.
Stormy, You are right about getting the most from my MD vouchers. LOL
Back when the boys were poor but talented they loved being able to give me a present that didn't cost anything but time. Now with more cash in their pockets and less time on their hands they would love to just buy me something. Over the years I have gotten gifts of hand built birdfeeders, installed garbage disposal, new lamp post and underground wiring, the well for the birdbath pond, installation of the blueball water feature, rock moving and when they were very young weeding. My children as a group decided that we need a bedroom remodel so this year for Christmas they went together with my parents and pooled a little cash and are coming to put in new flooring, paint or wallpaper and help shop for new furniture.curtains and bed-linens. They just might find out that stripping that old wallpaper was a bit more work than they realized. LOL
There are too many grades of weed barrier fabric from cheap to expensive. We put down the cheap one (when that was the only one to be found) in the vegetable garden in '92. One hot summer day we were both out there with the rotten black fabric covering our heads as we tried to remove the giant weeds happily growing underneath the fabric until I got disgusted and ripped it out completely.
I know I have the name of the place I ordered the good fabric from but I couldn't find it last night to lend a helping hand. I'll look again, McGlory. Always check the cost of shipping - it varies greatly.
Pagancat - love the Dorothy Parker quotes.
"That woman speaks eighteen languages, and can't say No in any of them."
My son builds bridges and they use some really heavy duty weed block. He has brought me home a few "scraps" Their idea of a "scrap" is pretty big. I don't use it much but I put some down around certain features like my blue ball and along the walk where the big Spruce was making it a pain to mow. I think this scrap was about 3ft wide and 20+ft long. Here is an older shot where you can see the small grassy strip next to the walk. You have to use a hand mower run in under the Spruce to get the grass and there are always a few weeds growing up under those branches especially small seedlings planted by the squirrels. It always seemed to just look a bit messy.
Ahem...hate to be the wet blanket, but let's keep the innuendo a little more toned down, please? (I have been known to quote Ms. Parker a few times myself...but I'm pretty choosy about which of her lines I will utter - and in what company...probably not something I'd publish for 7,000 or more potential readers.)
To the original question: weeding and watering take up most of my time. Our water pressure is low and the Bermudagrass goes as deep as the soil. (Which isn't deep - we garden on limestone bedrock around here. That also makes for very hard water and rather alkaline soil.
We had a sprinkler system installed in the front this fall - that ought to cut down on some of the watering chores (and make the water bill go up) But my beds and borders are mainly in the back.
Yes, I will take some cheese to go with that whine ;o)
I think I've ordered from Gempler's before. Or maybe just gotten their catalog. I'd love to put down landscape fabric, but the bed that gives me the most grief is where I tend to stuff all my annuals for cut flowers. Landscape fabric would look like a piece of swiss cheese in there.
As to being busted..well, to be honest, we rely on our members to know - and voluntarily follow - the site rules laid out in the Acceptable Use Policy without us hovering over your shoulders. We'd prefer to never rap anyone's knuckles and so I'm just asking everyone to look over your post and see if maybe a little judicious self-editing is in order ;o)
Here is an updated pic you can see that it is much neater now and you can also see some of my very thick vinca toward the front. It will creep in and make a nice natural line around the front.
Very true Pagan. I have to weed this whole area a couple of times a year. The vinca sure was happy to move right in on that mulched landscape fabric and it hid some weedy neighbors for quite a while while they got settled in. I have wild strawberry growing in there and several other viney nasties. Not to mention the very good sized black snake that likes to make it's self at home under the evergreens. LOL
I know that someone said it earlier but it deserves repeating. "If you have too many weeds then you don't have enough flowers".
pirl wrote:Wouldn't the fire torch work for that Bermuda grass?
Nope - in fact, the best way to get a thick stand of Bermudagrass is to burn off the top growth.
There are only a few herbicides that will knock it back, and attempting to completely eradicate it is about as futile as trying to get rid of all cockroaches. Actually, you can at least create an inhospitable space for the roaches so they will eventually leave...there's not much you can do that will discourage Bermudagrass.
I've pulled up Bermudagrass roots that were well in excess of a foot long...
If all you want is tough, durable turfgrass (think golf course, football field, etc.) it's an EXCELLENT choice - holds up to southern summer heat, lots of walking on it, etc.
But if you choose it as a lawngrass, you shouldn't try to landscape in any area adjoining it. A 4-foot wide sidewalk is a fairly decent barrier between lawn and foundation plantings, but if you (or your neighbors) don't keep it mowed faithfully, the seeds will quickly mature and blow wherever the wind takes them.
Deep shade is the one thing it can't withstand. But if the plant can stretch enough to reach some sunlight, it will still send runners into shady spots.
Did somebody say Bermuda? Grrrrrrr! That stuff is the curse of gardeners! I have seen the runners 7-8 FEET down when people are digging out ponds or pools. It is pretty much indestructible. Terry is right that it will stretch for any little bit of light and bam! It's back again.
That has to be my biggest time stealer... Battling Bermuda...
Story told to me by a Master Gardener friend is that during the Civil War, a large part of what is now metropolitan Phoenix was planted with Bermuda as pastureland for the Calvary. They needed a grass that would live through our summer heat, thrive on sun and almost no water and grow right back when the horses ate it. And today we pay the price for their great idea - lol.
Thanks for the link, pirl. Am almost ready to focus on paths, so I'll bookmark the site. I'd be certain there are quality differences. I've not known anyone who tried anything but the common grade stuff until this thread.
As for bermuda grass, perhaps we should start some kind of competition for whomever has found the longest roots. I'm sure I've had some more that went into the next county. Winner gets... a book of Dorothy Parker quotes? (Giggle)
I made the mistake of planting trumpet vine over a pergola at our first home. Beautiful, but incredibly messy when it dropped the flowers and seed pods. Plus, they'd grow down through the lattice over the top. Every few days I'd shear it all back, but then it would re-grow immediately and create a very jungle-esque feeling. I tried to kill it, but by then it was too well established.
I love the Trumpet Vine and consider it well worth the time it takes to keep it in check. But Ric is right it does take time. I wouldn't say that I'm winning the battle but don't think that after 25 or so years it has gone too far. HOLLY
Pagan, Not sure what Trumpet Vine I have it is very old and orange.
Holly, if mine had been situated like yours, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. I don't know what I was thinking when I planted it - I wanted it to cover the top of the pergola and provide shade, but I guess I wasn't considering just how it would do that, or how much work it would take to groom it ;o)
Terry, Mine is a pretty easy keeper in comparison to some others I have seen. I do think it is because of the way I trained it. It tends to want to send runners into the evergreen group next to it and I have to crawl in there a couple of times a year and try to remove them. I cut off the interesting seed pods before they break open but I can only reach so many of them with out getting out a ladder. Here is a different view of my TV this was taken at Christmas you can see the structure. I like that it gives me some nice winter interest as well as the beautiful display in the summer.
I can't resist adding my two cents on landscape cloth. I moved into my home when it was about 12 years old. The previous owners weren't much for gardens and so put landscape cloth in all of the beds that were established with a few trees and shrubs. Then bark was replenished in the years that followed. When I started redoing the beds it was an absolute nightmare. There was at least six inches of mulch over the cloth and salal, which is a common native around here, had happily spread its roots underneath the cloth. It must have been good quality as I had to hack at it with a box blade whenever I wanted to add a plant. I have finally, after another twelve years, gotten nearly all of it removed but still battle with a bit now and then. Be very very careful.
Welcome to my world.I have removed large swaths of it in order to plant. Invariably I hit it when planting.I find an end and start to yank and part of the garden comes up.
I also had 6 inches of mulch on top.It was heavy to remove anything but 1 square foot at a time.
Did you try it between the rows or on the plant rows themselves? I am thinking about putting it between the rows of corn as my veggie garden is at my son's place 1/2 mile away and I can't get to weeding it as often as it needs as it is bordered by pasture.
I'm not sure if you're addressing my comment about the vegetable garden but, for what it's worth, we laid it down, then cut the X and planted tomatoes in each spot. That did not work with the cheap fabric sold back in '92.
Now we use the red tomato plastic and that's much better - ideal, in fact.
Between the rows, in the paths, is still a problem so this year they will get the good fabric...but now we have new snow cover so it will all proceed normally and get done in April.
I'd agree that between the rows of corn should work for you.
Thank you for the feedback. I tried the "X" technique on my squash and pumpkins but found that the fabric was a perfect cover for our voracious slugs, much to the demise of the seedlings. At least just using it between the rows will give them a better chance of survival. I did the red tomato plastic and think it helped, but it was really hard for me to see when the tomatoes were just starting as they ripen first at the bottom of the vines around here---and not very prolifically, I will mention.
As you plant each squash/melon/cucumber put a spotlessly clean can (both ends removed) over the baby plant. Push it down an inch or two. It will keep the slugs and cutworms away from the stem - the most vulnerable part.
I tried the red plastic mulch (RPM) one year, versus good ol' straw. Straw won out - it was easier to pull the weeds and just toss them on top of the straw (assuming they hadn't gone to seed), it was easier to water evenly, etc.
And the yields weren't significantly different, at least in a home garden. Maybe in a commercial setting, you'd see better yields with the RPM.
Thanks for reminding me, Pirl, that I intend to "can" those veggies this spring. I had better start collecting coffee cans, NOW!
You should see the slugs that we have to deal with here in the PNW. They can get up to 4 or 5 inches long and have quite the appetites. I entered a pic in the DG contest last year and will try to dig it up to show you when i am on my home computer. I live in a forest so they are a big problem for me. Virtually nothing can be seeded right into the ground as the seedlings are immediate goners.
I spend (not necessarily waste) a LOTof time seeking out and controlling slugs.
It REALLY kills earwigs? I thought the only death to them was squashing or cutting in half. If that is true, I will be etrnally grateful to you for sharing that information. By the way, way back when, there was a thread in the PNWGardening forum that discussed controlling slugs extensively. I will look for it and send you a link if I can.
By the way, it was California's own Jasper Dale who told me about the product and, yes, it does work. Buy it as soon as it's on the shelves of your HD or other store because it quickly disappears and they don't restock it as frequently as we slug haters need it.
I wouldn't be without this product. It's excellent.
There must be some correlation between snails/slugs and earwigs, but I can't figure it out. (Has this already been discussed ?)
I've always had a snail and slug problem and always will.
However, when I started using the "regular" Sluggo and other products with iron sulfate, I suddenly started having an earwig issue. I'd never seen them until then. The snails and slugs vanished, but then I had earwigs from out of the blue.