Photo by Melody
Congratulations to all our photo contest participants! Check out the winning photos here. We will have the 2015 calendars available to order from Zazzle soon.

Soil and Composting: Starting from Scratch & Need Advice

Communities > Forums > Soil and Composting
bookmark
Forum: Soil and CompostingReplies: 60, Views: 301
Add to Bookmarks
-
AuthorContent
AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2005
1:19 AM

Post #1347211

Here is a series of pictures of the back yard of the house I bought last summer. It took all summer just to clear the lot of the weeds (*very* large ones), trash-trees squirrels had planted over the past five or so years, and a very large patch of poison ivy by the large stump in the back left. BTW, That's not lawn you see ... LOL... that's pure weed!

From what all the neighbors tell me, I'm the first person to have actually mowed the lawn in 3 years. As you can imagine, I had my hands quite full. The fun part is that the house is also a fixer upper so I had tasks to complete indoors all fall and winter.

I'm planning on soil testing as soon as is appropriate (ground is very wet right now). I have to admit, I'm a little nervous about the possibility of metals, like lead, etc. but I'm testing anyway. When I moved in, I knew I was going to have to remove the only three trees on the property due to severe neglect and damage. So now, there's pretty much nothing back there but for a lone forsythia. I've some items I've brought in but nothing much really. The area is 50x70'.

So... Spring hits this weekend. I've been out there looking around. And frankly, I'm a little overwhelmed at where to start. First thing I know, is that I have got to amend this soil. I don't need testing to tell me it's a mess. :o The top layer is a dull looking brown. Underneath I've found clay and what seems like a lot of sand. I thought that was a strange combination, but then, I don't know that much about soil. For what it's worth, I live very close to the Delware River so perhaps that explains the combination.

So my question(s) to you all is basically, what do I do first? I've been reading through the forums to try and find some stuff on how to restart a plot from scratch. And while I saw some threads that touched on it, I find myself still a bit confused. Should I turn this "turf" under and then maybe blast everything all summer with a plastic cover? Or is something like that a lost cause because of what's been growing here for over 5 years or so? Do I truck in soil or can I make a real difference on my own? (I'm not weathy so that's a limiting factor too) If I remove the turf, I'd also be removing what little topsoil I actually have. But then again, it's grub heaven in there.

I've spent the winter laying out a detailed plan for the garden. And while it'll take me a long time to acquire the items, I'm patient. I just want to make sure that whatever purchases I make have a fighting chance and will be happy in their new home.

I'm not afraid of hard work. I did most everything in the back by myself and truly do love gardening. I'm just at a loss on how to get this one going. I read a lot of stuff on bumper crops and feel that I probably missed a good opportunity last fall to do some good back there. :o Is there anything I can do over the Spring and Summer to help? I can't seem to produce enough raw materials on my own to get a good compost going (But I'm not giving up either! I want to be organic here.)

And so, any suggestions you have would be ~very~ welcome.

Thanks for peeking,
Annie
AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2005
1:21 AM

Post #1347217

Here's sort of what it looked like after purchase. Only difference, the "lawn" area was nearly as high as the weeds in the back.

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2005
1:22 AM

Post #1347221

Notice how you can just barely see the neighbor's house.

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2005
1:23 AM

Post #1347222

The stumps from what the squirrels had planted...

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2005
1:24 AM

Post #1347224

The poison ivy plot. lol Poison Ivy and Lily of the Valley. What a combo!

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2005
1:25 AM

Post #1347227

The other fence corner. Most of the trees were right under and inside the fence.

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2005
1:26 AM

Post #1347231

A better view of what was cleared

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2005
1:27 AM

Post #1347233

Other back corner

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2005
1:28 AM

Post #1347237

The lonely forsythia stands its ground...

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Magpye
NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a)

March 19, 2005
2:25 AM

Post #1347335

Welllll, firstly .. a big ol 'hearty' welcome to DG to ya, AnniesWeePlot !! And want to tell ya, that your user name .. is plum original, and most adorable! .. hee ..

And, secondly .. I sure wish that I had at least some wee lil tweak of hep to offer to ya. We started out, on pretty much clay - for all of the top foot and a half of rich composted mulchy leaf littered soil had to be bull dozed away - in order to fetch a broad enuff 'bench' area on the side of this hill .. in order to chunk up a decent size house on! .. hee ..

But, it did recover rather nicely and quickly .. for we fetched some of that same rich composted mulchy leaf littered soil, from elsewhere on the property .. and put into the 'yard'! .. Took no time for the stuff to take hold and things to grow - including the weed seeds that were already on board! Just stayed a bit diligent about pulling and/or spraying the 'no goods' for the first three years!

You've got an absolutely wonderful makings of a piece of canvas already .. to create an even more fantasic back yard and gardens!

I'm looking forward to reading more about, and seeing more .. of your progress .. And hopefully, you'll continue to grant favor fer us feller DGers .. to continue to post updates and plenty more pics .. of everything you may undertake!

Happy Yard/Gardenin' to you !! And make it fun .. Sounds like you know what you want in/for your yardens, and you'll achieve it .. for sure! My very best to you!

Heck, I'll bet that I'd not be by myself .. in being plum thrilled .. to see some pics of your new home too!

- Magpye
AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2005
2:23 PM

Post #1347997

Hi Magpye!

Thank you for such a wonderful welcome. Your story gives me a lot of hope and I *am* determined to do some good here. I guess many would think me mad for purchasing this property (and maybe I am!!) considering the shape it was in, but I wanted the largest lot I could afford in this area, which is pretty much semi-urban, and this was the biggest in my price range.

One good thing... While I don't have any trees (yet), my neighbors all have great shade trees and I'll ask if I can take all their leaves this fall. Who could turn down a request to suck up all the leaves off their lawns?!

I took a peek at some of the threads you had started and **LOVED** the pictures you've posted... The bears! That alligator log! Increble idea. Also loved your little munchkin terrier mix. Adorable. I was giggling all morning at the critters pretty much knocking on your door for feedin' time. Beautiful pictures and thank you so very much for posting them. Your property is lovely as is the area in which you live. Just beautiful!
And also appreciated your advice on digital cameras. Great info on memory cards. Thanks!

I will absolutely keep updating what's going on 'round here. The house was in as bad a shape as the yard, but a lot of progress was made over the winter. Lots more to do, but I'm not going anywhere and am also very patient. I've got my eyeball on a Honda tiller this Spring so I plan of having a lot of fun pretty soon.
At one time I did have a website with all the "before & after" pics, both inside and outside, but Verizon didn't back up properly on the server my site sat on and it crashed. I've been too busy to redo it, but I'll get around to it. I'll drop you link when it gets back up.

Thanks again for such a wonderfully warm welcome.

My best to you and yours!
Annie
Magpye
NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a)

March 19, 2005
3:42 PM

Post #1348111

Annie .. Already got your thread flagged for watchin'!! .. (*hee*) I'm anxious for ya!

I'll bet ya already know .. but, fer safety and sanity sake only > A lil tidbit ... On that Honda tiller you've got spy-balled: focus on a rear tine, not front tine! The rear tine, will save you much unnecessary jack-hammerin' tendon stretchin', bone rattlin' and kidney bustin'! And the rear tines do a far better job and don't try to run off with ya, before the ground's even broken - like with the front tine. They may be a wee lil more $ - but are, well worth it .. in the long haul! And generally, greater longevity of the engine also!

Geez .. Now, you've really got me wanting to see your house - with you talkin' about the 'lot' of progress you've already made!! Ahh, surely you had back ups of those before and after shots, you'd had on your website-?-Now, dontcha go holdin' out on us now .. hee .. (*teasin' ya a bit!*) .. But, do certainly understand .. with your wanting to focus on the yard/gardens, as a bit of the priority .. now, with Spring right around the bend!

Surely don't blame ya none at all either! ... Heck, as long as a bodys out of the weather, got a place to cook, sit down to eat, and a dry bed - any ol 'lean to', would be amply nuff structure .. until the yard/gardens are taken care of .. and a body is readyin' to feast their eyes and tongue palette soon! (and ours, too, of course!)

Hee .. Glad you enjoyed our ol Coots Roost, some tales, and vermin pics. ... Appreciate your takin' a look-peek!

Jes dontcha go fergetin' to come back, ever so often .. to strut yer stuffs, by tellin' us all about it, and with postin' all the pictures imaginable .. fer the rest of us .. to 'oooo and ahhh' .. and share in the delight and progress with ya!! ..

- Magpye
AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2005
7:57 PM

Post #1348506

Hi Magpye,

I figured I would go with the Honda (Harmony FG100) because it rated so highly in March 2005 Comsumer Reports. Was number 1 actually, yet not the most expensive. 299 unassembled, 325 assembled. I've only ever used a tiller once before and it was a huuuuuge behemouth of a beast which nearly lifted me off my feet. Normally I've just used shovels, rakes, hoes, and the like. Well, I turned forty a number of months ago and I figure I'd probably kill myself on this lot without a tiller this year. I know it will be worth the investment on many a score.

Ok, now you really got me wanting to get the before and afters back up. LOL I'll go my best to get to it soon. ;o) My family wants them back up too. None of the images are lost or anything. Basically, I had used the yucky web based tool Verizon offered because I at first only intended to throw up a quick "photo album" for family out of state. Then it just kinda took off and became a mid-sized site. Heck, I had a whole section titled "Fun with Boilers" dedicated purely to adventures I had changing out the boiler. Anyway, when Verizon dumped the stuff they couldn't wipe it off the server and yet at the same time couldn't find a way for me to access it. In the end, I FTP'd in with Dreamweaver and killed the whole thing and started again from scratch. Just haven't done anything to it since then 'cept set up folders and such.

I suppose this place could be considered a 'lean to' at the moment. I laughed with my friends & family by explaining; I had just enough to buy a house, but that didn't mean it would be a house that was "done". lolol

It is funny too, that in all honesty, I think more about the garden than I do about the house. Priorities I suppose. ha!

Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Annie
mmb
Newport, NH
(Zone 4b)

March 19, 2005
8:14 PM

Post #1348533

Hi Annie!

It's so fun to vicariously experience your new adventure! Sounds like you've got plenty of planning already done, but I wonder if it would be helpful to think of working in stages, from the outside in...like really tilling and soil-amending one particular edge of the yard and creating a nice perennial border or what not, to give you something fun to work on and look at this season... while you collect compost-y stuff and keep working on the slower / more spendy parts?

Like Magpye, I really hope you'll keep us posted!

Best,
Mary
AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2005
8:52 PM

Post #1348571

Hi Mary,

I'm glad you peeked in! It *is* an adventure. You nailed it on the head. :o)

Truly, I don't think there's another way than what you suggest above. I did some math today and figured... to add three inches of some type of compost to the whole back, I'd need about 27 cubic yards of material. Whoa! I think that's like a bit more than two large dump trucks or something. lolol Seems like it would be more than a couple of dump trucks but I do think I did the math right.

It's the little things in life isn't it? I'm so silly that I had a dream last night about standing out back in bare feet with my toes squishing in this gorgeous loamy soil. LOLOL Man... this is going to my head bigtime. HA!

I did lay out a garden design for the whole back yard. Even gridded it. And so there's nothing that says I can't work section by section since I already know, for the most part, what's going where (with plenty of room for experimenting too).

My main concern is getting trees and slow growing shrubs in. From what I've been reading in the forums here, my other big concern is to get a good composting system going this year. The larger items will all be going on the right hand side. So that's where I'm going to start. I've been having a hard time deciding where the compost will go too. It's the one thing I couldn't figure out on the plan. Does a compost pile need to be in full sun?

Annie
mickgene
Linden, VA
(Zone 6a)

March 21, 2005
12:14 PM

Post #1351625

Hi Annie,
I haven't checked this forum for a few days. It sounds like you have your work cut out for you. Good thing you're patient! LOL There's little more frustrating (or expensive) than being an impatient gardener. (I'm speaking from experience.)
The way I've dealt with an acre of raw clay and the desire to get things going fast (especially trees and shrubs) is to basically create potted plants in the clay. As I dig each hole, I overdig and *make sure to keep the edges and bottom of the hole rough*, even poking my spading fork in to be sure I'm not creating a wall that will hold water. Then I sprinkle both greensand and gypsum on the sides and bottom to break up the clay as well as feed the root zone. The soil that comes out of the hole is mixed (breaking up the clods of clay) with peat, coir, or wood chips (basically organic material sometimes even including shredded paper), perlite, rock phosphate, compost, and manure if I have it. This all goes back into the hole with the plant.
Most of the plants that I have dug up and moved that were planted this way prove that the roots can thrive in this soil and expand into the surrounding unamended stuff.
Hope this helps and can help you get planting right away. Good luck!
Michele
SalmonMe
Springboro, OH
(Zone 6a)

March 24, 2005
4:36 AM

Post #1358588

Annie! Welcome to DG!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Wow -- I had to sit back and think on this for a good, long while before I posted. I have a few suggestions, but they really take a good deal of patience... hope they are helpful.

Sounds like you have a really good idea of what you're doing to me! Researching things out, planning ahead, you seem to have a good knowledge of plants. So, please take my post here as a collaborative brain-storming effort, not at all a "well, let me tell you exactly what to do"-type post. I know you likely know far more than me about alot of gardening topics! I've started "from scratch" once before, and now I'm doing it again on a larger scale. Let's brainstorm...

Hmmm... seems like maybe I'd make sure you know where you REALLY want grass. Tons of homes have more grass than they ever need or use. Consider where it will benefit you and the overall design the most.

Okay, now my suggestion gets unorthidox:

Maybe "shape" out the beds you are going to have with some kind of edging. The main thing is to just "reserve" that space, not actually get it ready for beds just yet. It has to be clearly distinguishable from the planned grass area. After edging it somehow (you can just collect baseball size rocks from neighborhood -- not wild -- areas, for instance) you could lay down newspaper 5 layers thick over the beds. Yes, newspaper. :) Then top that with either several inches of mulch or several inches of topsoil and water it well. Leave it for the entire summer that way, watering occassionally. Either in the fall or next spring, you can till through the newspaper layer. The weeds will all be dead under the paper, the paper will have largely decomposed, and you will get the added benefit of tilling in the topsoil or mulch. At that time you can decide whether or not to till in even more. You'll have a relatively weed-free flower bed ready to plant in next spring.

As far as the grass area goes...ugh. I'm not sure what to tell you. You have to get rid of the weeds, obviously. I'm never much a proponent of herbicides, and many folks may choke when they read what I'm about to write because I'm always trying to avoid chemicals, BUT... this may be a job for Round-Up. If you only spray it on the area you want for grass, it may not be nearly as expensive as you might guess. No need to spread it on the places reserved for plants, just the grass space. If the weeds are really bad, you may have to apply it, wait a couple weeks, and apply it again. Wear a mask for heaven's sake, and try to choose a day that isn't too windy. Don't TOUCH the stuff if you're pregnant -- LOL --yes, I hate herbicides. After all the weeds are dead, you can till them straight into the soil :) Isn't that great!!!! Round-up is nonresidual and will not harm plants that grow in the soil after this point. A power tiller is roughly $65 a day to rent here. You'd only need it one day. It's steep, but the only other alternative is to work the ground by hand with a shovel and, honey, I agree that's a thick mat of dead weed and a big space.

Then, you'd have to plant grass seed and keep the seed watered religiously. Taking your time doing this over the course of the whole spring and summer will make it easier on the pocketbook. Even if you have to rent a tiller 2x it's still a ton less than buying it. But, you may have other uses for it than what you mentioned. Just a thought :)

Hope this wasn't overkill :) I had fun, atleast!!! Hope some of it helps :) Good to "meetcha" and welcome to Dave's again!
Take care,
Hugs :)




This message was edited Mar 24, 2005 12:50 AM

Oh my word! Edited for very abundant typos!!! :)

This message was edited Mar 24, 2005 12:58 AM
AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 26, 2005
1:25 PM

Post #1363778

Hi Michele,

I made the "hole of water" mistake already! I planted two arborvitae late summer - early fall and apparently didn't get enough rough materials into the ground. What suprised me though is... I dug an area about 4x7 or so exclusively for the arborvitae and amended the spot with a hole truck load of organic soil and straw. I figured that was a waaaay larger area than the arbovitae needed and that I would avoid the "water bucket". I guess I really underestimated how packed the clay truly was in this back yard and how desperately the soil needs matter added to it... and added deeply. What I did *not* do was poke holes like you suggested into the walls of the space I dug. Thank you for that suggestion! I'll add that step to every other area I dig now. Hopefully that will help.

When the rains came later in the season I thought I was going to lose both arbovitae for sure. Somehow they made it through the winter though and I'll keep working on going to try and break up what I can.

The clay/soil here is... well... weird. I must be on a spot where the river once flowed. It's the only thing I can think of as to why it's the consistency it is. It's a propensity to be "sludgy" and yet it seems like there was also compression or pressure involved somehow, which makes me believe this was once a riverbed. Weird also is that there are areas of sand in many spots in the yard.

Thank you for the list of items you used for amending. I'll add it to my "stuff to get" list. :o)

Annie
AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 26, 2005
2:49 PM

Post #1363956

Hi HugAHosta,

Patience is going to be my new middle name. :o) And heck yes, I'm open to any an ALL suggestions!

I love your idea of identifying and papering specific areas. After reading your above post, I was thinking about busting the turf in those areas, then frying everything under plastic for the summer (I wonder if I have that backward and should fry first, then bust & till under??), and then finally do a treatment of paper, etc. like you suggested above.

I won't be using any chemical though, no matter how frustrated I get. I've a healthy respect for biohazards and would never intentially add them to any area where there are living creatures. Just can't do it. Don't mean to sound like a "tree hugger" or anything... ok... wait... lemme fess up here... yes I do mean to sound like a tree hugger... My name is Annie and I'm a tree hugger... "Hi Annie!" (Sure hope you're laughing with me here... *cough* LOL)

But seriously... ;o) I'm not a hard core eco-person or anything, but I do care about possibly harming myself or others. Plus, I live pretty much right next to a major river that supports an enormous amount of wildlife, including bald eagles that have been successfully reintroduced to the area. Any and all run-off from my property *will* wind up in that river. That alone is reason enough to never use pesticides on my property. Then there is the issue that roundup and similar products, in my own personal opinion, are not proved to be safe in any way and I worry about long term effects on children, DNA, etc. That's just me though. I don't make judgements on anyone else and hope I'm not coming off critical or anything of the sort because that's not my intent at all. I'm personally way too concerned about what *doesn't* break down in pesticides to use chemical warfare in my garden.

Besides, I want to give Nature a chance to kick butt on its own. The more I read, the more I understand that if given a chance, organic gardening is much more productive, much less expensive, and much more healthy for myself and all the critters that share the space I'm living in. Now... nematode warfare? Heck yes. That, I'm all for ...although the idea kinda grosses me out a little... parasites... ewww... But... I'd rather parasites, than worrying that I might have contributed to the death of, or inhibited the progress of, bald eagles just down the road or of possibly changing or disrupting the DNA sequence of my nieces and nephews.

Regarding the rocks you suggested. *big grin* I traded some granite for raw brownstone recently with a neighbor down the road. Long story short, he had access to a dumpster and permission from the owner of a granite countertop company to haul away as much granite as he wanted, but he had no truck to haul the peices he wanted for a walkway he was planning. What's more... he had a large pile of raw brownstone he had planned to take to the dump, which he had dug up from his back yard, but again, no truck to get them to the dump.

I had access to a very large truck and a deal was struck. He got me permission from the owner of the company to take as much granite as I wanted and I agreed to take the brownstone off his hands. Win-Win. So... a friend of mine and I went dumpster diving for granite every weekend through the summer and fall. I wound up with enough granite to do a mosaic covering my entire basement floor and also enough for the entire "living & dining area" in my garden. I also got some gorgeous raw brownstone in the bargain. My neighbor got all the black granite he wanted for his walkway. All it cost me was some aspirin for my back and some mornings of taking a little longer to get out of bed. lolol

As for the weed area... errr... lawn... Again, it's the same old question for me. Do I fry first, then till under or what. I read a thread once on suggestions people had for how to deal with turf. I can't find it again though. I recall discussion about cutting off the turf with one of those machines, and then turning them over into the bottom of raised beds, piling stuff on top, and letting nature take its course so break down the materials over time. But I remember, I think, someone suggesting that wouldn't work or something. I think the suggestion was that the turf would just cause a "mat", so to speak, however deep it had been placed. Sorta like the water bucket thing Michele mentioned above. Also, I don't have lawn really, it's truly all weeds so I wonder if that would still be a viable option. ??

Re: the tiller... I saw a thread somewhere on DG that indicated tilling the soil was bad for it. ?? I wasn't aware of that and want to read more up on the topic. So now I'm a little confused about that too. ...losta confusion... The post said, as I recall it, that tilling breaks down the soil structure or something similar. I am aware, don't recall where I learned it, that overtilling can cause impaction (prolly the wrong word) of the soil down deep. Basically, the more you till, the more you make a kind of "shelf" under the soil that's very packed and which inhibits beneficials from moving freely through the soil and inhibits growth of plants. But I thought that applied to more industrial farming. I wasn't aware it could also cause problems in a smaller scale garden... nor did I know that tilling could damage the soil. I'd like to learn more about both of these possible problems. It seems odd to me that a mini tiller could do that type of damage. I mean, tillers the size of a mantis or the little honda harmony.

Anyway, sorry for the long ramble. I can go on an on sometimes!

Thanks for all your suggestions and I'll keep ya posted on what happens over this way. :o)

Hugs back at ya!
Annie

SalmonMe
Springboro, OH
(Zone 6a)

March 27, 2005
1:33 AM

Post #1365147

LOL...Annie...I definitely got an audible laugh out with your Tree Huggers Anonymous confession. Do I count if I bought a children's book for Earth Day called "Be A Friend To Trees"??? LOL!!! I'm cracking up. But, seriously, let me just say DOGONE GOOD FOR YOU, ANNIE TREE HUGGER!!!! LOL :) I've also made the decision to not use the herbicides/pesticides unless there is absolutely no other way on God's green Earth. I have 3 small children and the possible ramifications are just straight scarey. I totally agree w/ you, especially considering your proximity to the water. Good for you!

About the tiller. This is my current understanding (more knowledgeable DGers chime in here...)
There are many who suggest that working the soil significantly at all will disturb the delicate balance of microscopic life in the soil, upsetting it for possibly even years to come. Now, I recently posted regarding this in this very same forum, and mostly the replies I got could be summarized with "that's a bunch of bunk". LOL :) Now, I should furthur explain. In my case, my home is a new construction and the clay soil I have is extremely compacted. Just adding soil on top would definitely result in a "bathtub effect" where my water drained through the good stuff and then just sat on top of the clay, pooling up and drowning much of my plants. Not good. So, I'm tilling. But, I'm being careful to not work the soil when it's wet and I'm also testing the drainage when I'm done tilling.

For instance, after preparing a bed last summer for mixed shrubs, we tested part of it by digging an 18" deep hole. Filled it with water & waited for it to drain, then immediately filled it again. It took 6-7 hours for the second filling to drain through. Hmmmm... not real great. So, in a case like that, we could either consider drainage tiles (translate $$$$) or just pick a plant that would tolerate the poorly draining, often wet conditions. Happily, we were able to find a native plant that suited our purposes well. Apple serviceberry, Amelanchier grandiflora. Unfortunately, you may be a bit limited in exactly what you can plant, atleast at first. But, hopefully, your drainage will improve relatively soon :)

Hugs :)

P.S. I am a generally affectionate person, but I always sign that because it's my DG nickname. If I'm cyber hugging someone, I write ((((((((((((((((((((((hug))))))))))))))))))). LOL -- but you can consider my sign-off a hug if it makes you smile :)
SalmonMe
Springboro, OH
(Zone 6a)

March 27, 2005
2:18 AM

Post #1365215

Hi again :) Wanted to share this with you. Switchgrass info... I'm planning on a stand of this in one of the corners of my lot. It will grow even in a couple of inches of standing water, also it's native. Maybe you can use it??? Lot's of beautiful cultivars, also tolerates drought once established. But it needs full sun :) Even if you don't use it, the picture is nice!

http://www.flower-gardening-made-easy.com/Panicum-virgatum.html

Hugs :)
Darleen
8 miles from Athens, OH
(Zone 6a)

March 30, 2005
2:29 PM

Post #1372662

Hi Annie!

Just adding 2 cents here. These comments come to you from a L-A-Z-Y gardener...me!

On the topic of tillers first.

I agree with those who advocate rental over purchasing for such a small??? plot. (qualifier: I own 2 Troy Builts) If you were a market gardener or were gardening acres of land, then I'd say you NEED a rototiller of your own. But, just IMAGINE how many gardening books and plants YOU could buy for the cost of one rototiller! I have heard the danger of rototilling comes from OVER rototilling. If you feel the need to amend compacted soil this spring or summer and need to work in compost, peat, and other organic matter NOW to get started, then by all means, fire up a tiller! But rent one...or see if a neighbor has one he/she will loan out or will himself run over your land! Just don't fire it up every season. AND don't feel you need to break up the soil into a fine powder. The soil under your tines down under the turned soil will compact.

So what did you do with all the vegetative matter you removed from the yard??? You DID start a compost pile with it didn't you?? (gasp!) You can start a compost pile wherevery you want as long as you have a minimum space of 3' x 6' or...you could also trench compost. It will take the trenched material a year to decompose. A 3x3' compost pile (minimum size needed for proper temperature in the core) may take months or years to break down...depends on many things...moisture...how well you build the pile, temperature, available oxygen and nitrogen and how often you go out there and turn your 3x3' pile over to help nature along. (Remember me, the lazy gardener? I prefer trenching my compost under "hot" and letting the earthworms do the turning for me. I have 2 horses who provide an endless supply of manure and wasted hay. Sometimes however, I make a pile (like from December to April just outside the barn!) It's raining or snowing and I don't much feel like hauling horse poop from the stable to frozen or soggy earth in the dark.

No matter what you decide to do, it will be OK. I have tried experimenting with both ways, and ya know what, both ways work. Just select the method(s) that will serve your purposes. Gosh, making mistakes or trying a variety of methods is what amature gardening is all about. If I didn't have something to start, change, plan, redo, or duplicate I'd be lost!

Check out the great books above in the garden bookworm. You'll find lots of expert advice in them on topics of interest.

Yep, get those trees started now. And gosh, have fun in your plot. It looks like a great site. I'm bookmarking your thread and look forward to seeing your upcoming pictures and posts!
AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 3, 2005
1:49 PM

Post #1380816

Hi Hugs,

The color on that switchgrass is gorgeous. I'm certain there are a few spots that could benefit from it and visa versa. Full sun is something I've plenty of 'round here since all the trees had to be removed. I'll tell ya, it broke my heart when they had to be removed. But... They'll be replaced soon enough.

I've not got anything done this weekend. Torrential rains in these parts right now (Delaware River is overflowing its banks as I write) and quarter-end deadlines at the office didn't add up to a great mix for yard work ...not that I mind working in the rain... it's my favorite time to weed actually. I did realize however that my attempt at putting in some drainage tubes has failed miserably. :o(

My intent was to install a "dry-well" but I think, in the end, it's not going to work as there is far too much water that comes into this area. A pic is posted here... It's partly unfinished because I wanted to see how effective it might have been.

I've also the option of creating a uh... don't know what you call it... water-catch? Using large barrels so I've water for the garden. I'll probably go with that in the end. The grading of the neighbor's house has all the water from their back, cement patio running right onto my lot. =:-o

Annie

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 3, 2005
1:56 PM

Post #1380825

Here's a pic of that free rock I mentioned along with one of the tree stumps that was dug out.

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 3, 2005
1:59 PM

Post #1380830

And yet another pic of the drainage area...

oh... wait... how'd that one get in there??
She's the offical weed shreader 'round here. She waits till I pull them out, expects me to throw them for her to catch and shread to pieces. ;o)

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 3, 2005
2:21 PM

Post #1380859

Hiya Darleen,

I think the Troy-bilt would indeed be far more than I needed, but I do think the lil Honda Harmony would be put to good use 'round here over the years. I'm still thinkin' on it but appreaciate your great advice. :o)

The materials that were hauled out of here were mainly three (or more) year old junk trees that had been planted by squirrels or that which were bird droppings along with seeded weed that I'd no intention of creating a compost pile out of. Add to that an enormous amount of poison ivy vines and roots. Not exactly what I wished in my compost! Fortunately, I'm immune to poison ivy, but no one else I know is and it would have been rather difficult to pick out all the poison ivy from the gigantic mounds of weeds and junk trees. So, I chose to haul the bulk of the materials away.

Of what was left, I did create a compost of last summer and created hot piles all along the back. Those initial piles broke down well and were utilized already. Problem now is that I've no green materials. I've plenty of browns (enough to get started anyway), but no greens since the lawn is not lawn, as stated above in other posts, but rather seeded weed and what looks like maybe some kind of fetch or something similar. Most of my neighbors 'round here use Chemlawn (or their lawns are weeds also) so that option was out last summer/fall. So... this spring I'm thinking of planting some leafy crops to not only pump up the soil, but also to use as green materials in the compost. Now, what those plants will be? I'm not sure what to put in actually. Any advice is welcome!

I'm having a blast here. I feel ignorant a lot of the time on what to do, but that's ok since I enjoy experimenting as much as I enjoy gardening. Then there's always the option of do-overs. ;o)

Annie
rutholive
Tonasket, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 3, 2005
3:05 PM

Post #1380920

Annie, I've been following your thread, very interesting. I don't have clay soil, just the opposite. I moved to this location 10 years ago, there was nothing here except sagebrush and native hard to pull out grass clumps. Before I even had my triplewide moved in I planted trees. Around the edges where I knew they wouldn't be in the way. Trees are very important to me. In the 10 years I have been here i have now at least 75 different trees, have planted more than that but lost them for one reason or another.

When I was first planting trees I amended the soil for them, but the now the consenses of opinon is that the best way is not to amend. Dig a hole 2 - 2 1/2 times wider than the tree root ball but not deeper than the rootball. better to have the top of the rootball higher than the surrounding soil surface. Put the tree rootball in place and backfill with the removed soil. Here I have to water copiously as the soil just soaks up any moisture. For you would be different. My daughter lives in Fairfax VA and has very clay soil, which she has learned to live with.

The next thing I did was start my compost piles. At first had hardly anything to work with, now have plenty and still can't make compost as fast as I can use it!!!!!!! I do have a fairly large 10hp BCS tiller that is hardly ever used except as power for my shredder. But i love my little electric Mantis, but it doesn't get used too ofter either.

My suggestion for building up your soil is to plant Buckwheat. You can either till it in after about 4 to 6 weeks, or cut or pull and put on your compost and plant more seeds. It is very fast growing and crowds out weeds, when in bloom the bees love it. Good luck DonnaS
SalmonMe
Springboro, OH
(Zone 6a)

April 3, 2005
3:22 PM

Post #1380945

Hi, Annie :) Have you tested your soil nutrients, yet??? Maybe you could plant depending on what your soil needs. Some plants are nitrogen-fixing, for example... just a thought! btw, beautful puppy!!!!

I'm having a lot of fun watching your thread. There are a few of us on DG this Spring w/ "from scratch"-type gardens. It encourages me to see that others are in the same boat :) Watchin' this thread and can't wait to see what you do with this wonderful space!

Here's my recent progress...
http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/492481/

Take care,
Hugs :)

This message was edited Apr 6, 2005 12:29 AM
ljogilvie
Caledonia, MN

April 21, 2005
1:53 AM

Post #1416404

Ruth Stout was the Queen of mulch gardening. She realized the permanent mulch notion for almost everything in her yard. "My garden is my compost pile!" No stacking, turning, or hauling finished compost. When Organic Gardening Magazine was
people-inspired, hole composting and trench composting were great ideas--still are. Using the planned few steps each year for lasting soil improvement, trench composting puts it where you want it much like Ruth Stout. (I've read the advice about not adding stuff to tree holes, and it's much like I did things. Always had too much to plant to fuss with amendments--needed to get stuff in the ground.) You could always mulch around the new tree, and your compost is where you need it.

It seems that #1 is to keep any weeds from going to seed this year. Mow religiously. Plant what you can afford buy. Raise buckwheat in as much ground as you can prepare (possibly using the tiller you want so badly.) Replant buckweat to create more mulch becoming compost. ETC. Good gardens require good bones--try to get the trees and larger shrubs in this summer. Sheet compost (mulch like crazy) under trees and shrubs. Dig and fill trenches as you can. Plan a veggie garden and at least some flowers for the soul. Keep mulching and trenching all summer if possible and cover cropping (buckwheat, oats, etc.) too.

My notion is if it's natural, use it. I do this most of the time, but some weeds will reroot--those I do not use. All the rest is fine and even weeds quickly turn brown like any other mulch material. I have friends brag about their compost, and they're right. BUT the soil is rich and black in my whole garden now. I think someone said good soil has 10 earthworms per cubic foot of soil--I get almost 10 in one shovel of soil! How long this took is hard to say. I gardened organically for several years then moved away for about 10 years. Now back for about 15 years. Don't know what went on when I was away from here! I have faith in the future (any gardener does.) Yet my gardening shouldn't require much time because I mulch almost everything. Mulch becoming compost where I need it. Still plant buchwheat on bare areas rather than mess with weeds. Pull it and leave it or drag it somewhere where mulch is thin. Do own the big tiller, but do almost everything by hand--it's my main hobby.

The advice here from others is good and valid; I'd still rather have garden plants instead of grass lawn, but since I live along, I just cannot use too much produce so I'm working to create a bird sanctuary turning some grest soil into butterfly garden, more fruiting shrubs, and the like.

Yor attitude toward organic living is great; the advice you've got is great; your garden will be great--go for it!

Magpye
NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a)

April 21, 2005
2:09 AM

Post #1416434

ljogilvie .. Your input is most valuable, and very appreciated!.. (By moi') .. and no doubt, by AnniesWeePlot also ... when she shows back up!! .. (*hee*) ..

I don't recall runnin' across your user name in any of the forums or threads, that I wonder (or stumble) into .. So I want to be sure to extend a (wee bit belated) big ol 'hearty' welcome .. to DG, to ya ljogilvie, also !!

Jes hopin' Annie will have some progress reports and some pics fer us .. when she returns!

- Magpye

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 21, 2005
10:58 PM

Post #1418266

Hello Annie, Wellcome to Dave's.
Sincerely, Josephine.
AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 30, 2005
1:25 PM

Post #1437661

Hello Everyone!

Thank you all so very much for checking in on me and my little plot.
Wow... I've been busy. Real busy. :oD In the end, I decided to haul in some high quality soil to get started with the trees and shrubs. I'll work the remainder of the year on the weed patch in the center. If it's not too late, I'll put down buckwheat in that area as soon as I can get my hands on some seeds.

I'm in a slight rush this morning as I'm heading back to Rare Find Nursery to pick up my Kay Parris Magnolia they've been holding for me until the weather was more stable 'round here. In the meantime, I'm going to post a couple pics of what I did so far... As you'll see, there are *many* areas which need serious screening to hide eyesores and other ickies.

I put much of that free brownstone to good use as you'll see. I don't really know if it's actually true brownstone... but... it's brown... and it's stone and I can't imagine what else it would be... so that's what it's been dubbed and shall stay dubbed... [grin]

I've more birds than I imagined now using my yard. So much so that I've needed to add a second waterer for them and have also decided to turn that huge old stump in the back left corner into some type of feeder/waterer for them. Lots more to do for the birds and other wildlife later... A gorgeous red-headed woodpecker has been watching my progress steadily for weeks now. And yup, suet will definitely be on the menu. Bat houses coming down the line and I'm also going to try and get some swallows interested in my plot.

To see what's actually in the ground, check out my journal. It's a listing of what's in, and what's been purchased and will be going in probably by the end of this weekend. I believe I'm on page 3 of the garden journal search area. Not sure if this link will work, but ... http://davesgarden.com/journal/j/sj/AnniesWeePlot/0/
On second thought... LOL I just peeked over there and it's not up-to-date ...but very close... some purchases made aren't on there, and also some things that are in are only showing as purchased... I'll update it real soon.

Anyway, I really should be heading out to the nursery. So I'll leave with some pics and some basics on what was added out back...

13 yards of high quality soil, that is to say... it's not certified organic, but is the same mixture as the certified stuff.
many huge blocks of spagnum to help with the soil
organic pelletized compost was also added
HollyTone
Advil for muscles ... hee hee

Have fun peeking!

Thank you all so much for all the excellent advice EVERYONE! It means a lot and I'm so thankful you're all here.
IJog, Frostweed, and Ruth, thank so much for visiting and commenting. :oD I'll spend more time commenting myself as soon as I can.

Annie
AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 30, 2005
1:30 PM

Post #1437673

Water catch since I'm on city water and to also cure the drainage problem in that corner.
Physocarpus (four of them) will screen the neighbor's patio...
Unknown lilies (???) where already there. I'm waiting to see what happens with them...

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 30, 2005
1:32 PM

Post #1437677

Looking from the water catch toward the back of the plot and my use of the free rock.

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 30, 2005
1:33 PM

Post #1437679

Now looking back at the watercatch from the back area. That's a wee little Parrotia persica in the foreground.

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 30, 2005
1:35 PM

Post #1437683

Creepers and alpines will go in this area. The Kay Parris magnolia will go in the corner. Picking that up today. :oD

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 30, 2005
1:38 PM

Post #1437692

Foreground - mucronulatum
Background - R. dauricum x R. lutenscens (this one was FREE!)

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 30, 2005
1:40 PM

Post #1437695

Kay Parris will be just to the left of the security sign.

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 30, 2005
1:40 PM

Post #1437699

A view from above

Edit... that middle bump will be coming out and will create a nearly full circle to enclose an eating/living area

This message was edited Apr 30, 2005 9:49 AM

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 30, 2005
1:41 PM

Post #1437700

Another view from above...

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 30, 2005
1:42 PM

Post #1437704

Another looking down...

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 30, 2005
1:43 PM

Post #1437705

A wide view through a screen...

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 30, 2005
1:45 PM

Post #1437709

More later... I'm running wayyyy late! LOL
rutholive
Tonasket, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 30, 2005
1:59 PM

Post #1437722

annie, you have been very busy, and some of those rocks look mighty big and heavy. I planted a Parrotia persica about 8 years ago it is way taller than me has never bloomed, is healthy, and has lovely foliage, so i keep it. Be interested to know how yours does.

Can't find a photo of Kay Parris Magnolia in my book, bet it is one that likes acidic soil. Glad to see your photos,, send more.

DonnaS
Magpye
NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a)

April 30, 2005
4:25 PM

Post #1437993

Good griefikins, Annie ...

You've got way too much time on your hands - looks like you may need to find something TO DO, kiddo!! Isn't there something else you can find to fill those vast blank spaces in your 'SLACK' SCHEDULE!!!
... LOL ...

(*grinnin' from ear to ear here .. and merely luvinly teasin' ya a bit!*) .. And utterly amazed at such super-rapid and mitey fantastic progress .. that you've been, apparently .. VERY BUSY .. at makin' ! ! ! !

Ahhh, gal .. your weeplot .. is lookin' to be coming along jes dandily and most fantasticly beautiful !!!

You're 'sounding' quite pleased and extrememely delighted .. with your progress! < And, that .. is always a most fullfillingly pleasin' feelin' .. with ones yard/gardening projects !!

Umpteen additional pats on your back, for ya, Annie!!! You've gotta be some kind of wonderfully proud of yourself!

You deserve to be!! .. YAY !!

- Magpye
3girls
SE PA, PA
(Zone 6b)

May 10, 2005
11:43 PM

Post #1461176

Annie, I've just come on board and lurked a little. Reading thru this thread has been quite inspiring. I don't live too far from you--SE PA.

I highly recommend two books to you:

Lasagna Gardening by Patricia Lanza
Weedless Gardening by Lee Reich

Around here, I can get mushroom compost (raw or aged) and municipal yard waste. Piled on about 8" each, compost first, then leaf mulch, overwinter = wonderful wonderful garden. Put 6-8 layers of B & W newspaper over the area you want to build, weeds and all, then the above layers, then plant right into it without tilling in the spring.

I will be building many many beds later this summer/fall for spring planting.
For this year, I will incorporate aged mushroom compost onto existing beds and plant as much as I can, then mulch heavily with leaf mulch. By winter, I want most of the infrastructure of this garden/farm (2 acres of suburbia) in place. Mostly fences, another greenhouse, chicken house, etc.

I have a jillion plants in pots just waiting for beds, and many more are coming in as I write.

Congratulations on your house purchase, your new garden--it's looking lovely!! I wish I had half your energy. I'll tell you what: I'll come up there and criticize, and you can come down here and dig. Fair?????
Magpye
NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a)

May 11, 2005
2:25 AM

Post #1461563

3girls ... I jes wanted to extend .. a big ol 'hearty' welcome to DG ... to ya !!!

Think Annie may be workin' and goin' at it a bit TOO hard .. and don't have (or, can find) enuff time .. to check in here, and bring us up to date .. on her current endeavors associated!! .. (*hee*)

... Annie - it's time for a coffee, tea or hot cocoa break - haint it ? ...

- Magpye
AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 13, 2005
12:14 AM

Post #1465763

Ok, ok, ok... Magpye, in your honor I will actually sit still a bit here and try and give an accurate update on what's going on while chowing on Chinese food. :oD

Firstly, I'm not sure if this post should continue in this forum or not. I'll take the lead of whatever advice (or suggestions) any might wish to offer. But... for the moment, I'll stay on topic and mention the 'soil' out back. (after... of course... making sure I've addressed any Q's posted above...)
Lesse...

Magpye, I cannot help but smile when I see your posts. Cyberspace is an odd thing but I just swear I can see you at home looking at the stuff I've posted here goin', "Is that child NUTS??!!" LOLOLOL

In all seriousness, I can't believe all that's got done myself. I did have help with 10, of the now 16 yards of soil that was brought in via dump truck. And I'll tell ya, it was a huuuuuge help. It would have taken me a *whole* lot longer to get things together without that assistance.

Due to limited availability... err... rather... due to my not being able to get hold of a digital camera whenever I need one... the pictures I'll be posting are kinda outdated since sooooo much more has been put in the ground that these images will imply.

I built up what I'm now calling the Rhodo & Fern garden with soil mentioned above, lots of pelletized compost and also hollytone. Well, I must have done something right, because three days after planting the Ken Janek shown here, it POPPED like mad. Near it is also a Jane Grant (*LOVE* the story/history behind this particular rhodo!!!) and a Silver Sovereign. The two latter are building up their buds as I write.

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 13, 2005
12:20 AM

Post #1465775

For DonnaS (RuthOlive),

The Kay Parris is a brand new hybrid. That's why you can't find pics of it in your book. It's parentage is Little Gem x Braken's Brown Beauty. At least... they *think* it's Braken's Brown Beauty. It's a stunner. I cannot wait until blooms appear. The anticipation is gonna be a killer...

No one knows yet, exactly what hight and spread it will wind up. I placed it in an area where it could spread a little if need be but would also fill the spot if it chose a more vertical route. Either way is fine with me since it's absolutely gorgeous.

I'll try to make sure I get pics of this each year and get'em posted to the Plant Files if possible. I tried to take clear pics for you to see just how lovely it is. Following will be a series of pics.

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 13, 2005
12:21 AM

Post #1465777

Kay Parris 2

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 13, 2005
12:22 AM

Post #1465781

Kay Parris 3 shows you what "habit" can be construed from such a young tree.

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 13, 2005
12:40 AM

Post #1465829

IJog,
I wish I knew more than I do. Mind you, I was the daughter of a horticulturist and the granddaughter of a horticulturist/arborist, but I don't know what they knew. And besides, they didn't use organic methods. I absolutely learned a lot about design from my father as well as my love of rhododenrons. I learned what limited knowledge of tree/shrub identification from them both (mainly my father), but I'm still at a loss most of the time. I figure, what's the worst that could happen by my mistakes in this garden? I'm using no poison of any kind, so... the worst, I figure, is that I'd misplace something and have to move it later.

Already thought I killed a tree peony... Turns out, I just send it into shock from having to repot it. MAN! They do NOT like to be touched...

Frostweed,
I'll absolutely check out your site. I had a chance to sneak a peek, but not much more. I saw you mentioned you've been organic gardening for 30 years? Very, very cool. I only learned the phrase 'organic gardening' sometime around '83, but didn't actually understand what was *not* organic gardening until recently.

From my own perspective, it can be a little overwhelming if you don't have someone to mentor you. Of course... I have a bad habit of overanylizing things sometimes, and so am sure that helps nothing... But really, there are some conflicting things that one hears.

Anyway, yous guys please peek in any time! (Just *had* to fit that S. Jersey slang in somewhere... lol)
AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 13, 2005
1:21 AM

Post #1465937

3girls,

Sounds like you've a *lot* goin' on yourself! I'd kill for two acres. Ok... ok... I wouldn't kill, but I'd definitely beg. Definitely. I'm an excellent beggar...
[edit: homage to Raymond...]

I got my soil from right down the road from you. Lord, I wish I'd access to that mushroom stuff... Mmmm Mmmm Good. Maybe next year after taxes come back. Ha!! Oh yeah... I'm supposed to get windows with that... Dang! ok, ok... maybe some weird holiday or something will come up and people will feel compelled to have truckloads of mushroom compost delivered to their gardener friends. Think we could talk Hallmark into that one??? I can see it now... a tear-jerker commercial...

... fade in...(background music: Simon & Garfunkle's "Old Friends")

Woman in her back yard weeping over the pitiful growth of her garden plants.

Sneaking around the corner of her potting shed are her three best friends in the entire world. They leave on her potting shed window, a Hallmark Card which reads,

"We thought you'd like to set the world on it's organic ear! So here's a little start..."
Inserted in the card is a Certificate for 25 yards of mushroom compost... delivered... free..."

:::fades out to the four friends looking upon her garden which is now en masse blooms & greenery... a tropical jungle...:::::

Hallmark. Care Enough To Send The Very Best...

Think they'll go for it?? :oD
LOL!!

I didn't order my soil certified organic, reason being the cost. But in reality, it's the same mix.
I'll tell ya... the stuff back there is H-A-P-P-Y so somethin's going right.

A neighbor of mine showed me the municiple joint this week that gives away mulch and such. I'm a little freaked though and prolly won't use it. Too scared there'd be round-up or something similar in there somewhere. The plants back here cost me too much money to risk it.

And for your deal? nyuk nyuk nyuk... Sounds like I'm gettin' the short end here... *grin* Besides... "I got blistas on my fingas!"

;o)

This message was edited May 13, 2005 11:46 AM
AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 13, 2005
1:58 AM

Post #1466037

Magpye, I been thinkin' a lot about you lately Lady. ;o)

I had a critter emegency over the weekend just past. Saturday night at dusk, I hear this strange noise. Kinda like a hiss/chuck sorta thing. But soft-like. The little princess here spotted 'em first. Three little opossum babies crawlin' out from under my neighbor's deck area just a cryin' for their mama. I searched and searched for the mama, but she must have gotten herself killed by an auto (my house is in a semi-urban area... LOTS of cars moving wayyyyy to fast). Anyway... I call the wildlife preserve I used to take animals to from my old house. (mostly birds hit by cars, bunnies whacked by lawnmowers, babies knocked out of their nests by crows with no way back up... that sorta stuff...) Anyhoo, they say, yep. They're in trouble. Scoop 'em and bring 'em in. I say, I live north of the preserve now. I don't know the way in from this side. Directions are shared. I get ready.

I scoop the three I see. I think there's one more out there *somewhere* but can't find it in the end after a two hour search. As I'm getting packed into the car to head out, Sunny finds the 4th. I re-scoop. We're on our way... The reserve is about a round trip 1.5 hour ride from my house.

I get home. Go out into the garden to put the tools away I dropped to do the scoop.
Guess who else I find... lil sis #5.
She's a hissin' away cause now she's alone. Scoop-Reloaded. Call the preserve. "Nooooooo" they beg... "You'll have to keep her overnight."

:o{ "Um. Ok. I can do that."

It's way late by this time... Mad dash to the pharmacy for a heating blanket since I've somehow lost mine in the move last July... oh yeah... don't forget the pedialite... even though everyone knows an opossum AIN'T gonna drink it... (she winds up takin' 1cc... and lookin' like the Alien while takin' it...)

Anyway... uneventful overnight. She musta been freezin outside and is now lovin' that heating blanket under her box... Next mornin' first thing get to the preserve where she's reintroduced to her littlermates.

Everyone's all happy happy. I'm happy happy, pups are happy happy, preserve is happy happy (donation checks'll have that effect sometimes...) I get home... work for two more hours in the garden. And what do I hear?

You betcha. Number 6. I call the preserve. The staff and I are on first name basis by now. I can hear the laughter as the young lady says, "Annie, you're gonna know the route here in your sleep before this day is over ain't ya!"

"Uhhh... yep."

I never did find the mother though. And I searched everywhere I could where I wouldn't get shot for trespassing. Didn't have the digital camera to take pics for ya of the little ones. They were pretty adorable though...

In all that... I did manage to get 20 bags of mulch down and a litany of new plants in. Baptistas, an Ostrich Fern, couple Lamb's Ears, couple Lantana, Lupines, Carolina Lupines, some Bearded Tongue, some Wooly Thyme and some Articus nana Thyme. I think there's more, but I'm confused at the moment which day what went in. LOL.

We've (Sunny & I) also now have a single baby bunny in the back. Spunky little cuss, I'll tell you! It's been taunting Sunny. I kid you not. It's figured out that she's not allowed to chase it. What a riot. The birds have also figured that one out by the way... They've been pickin' grass seed up to 2 feet from her nose. And poor Sunny is staring them down like, "MAAAANNNNN, One of THESE DAYS!!!" ROFL I have to get a picture of it for ya. You'll crack up. The bunny is the funniest one. It's been doing flips trying to get Sunny to take chase.
Literally. Flips.

It does the "I'm testing my legs nooooowwwwwww" thang and winds up jumping so hard it does a somersault. Then looks right at Sunny and I swear I can nearly hear, "Neener neener NEEEENER" before it runs under the Thuja. Sunny just turns and looks at me like, "How could you DO this to me?? The indignity! The injustice!"
"Just one taste mom... pleeeeeeeeeeease???"
"I just wanna herd it. Yeah, herd it... that's the ticket..."
LOL It's enough to keep me gigglin' back there I'll tell ya.

I've just today finally got the permit to start the potting shed.
The house is getting shake in all the places there were previously siding. The shed will also be shake.
You can see some of the other work bein' done around here attached.

So, Magpye.
Can I go play now?
*grin*wink*

Keep lookin up Lady. ;o)

Annie

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 13, 2005
2:00 AM

Post #1466040

This is how bad the back entry was/is. Tried to order the doors last weekend, but some little critters put a stick in my wheel and I won't get to that until Saturday.

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 13, 2005
2:02 AM

Post #1466042

Rhodo & Fern Garden

There were a lot of groundcover planted in the last week. The next pics (when I get my hands on the camera) will show a huge difference from what you see here. Remember, the pics here are about the first week of May... (or so)

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 13, 2005
2:04 AM

Post #1466044

The Physocarpus are budding like mad.

Thumbnail by AnniesWeePlot
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 13, 2005
2:10 AM

Post #1466061

3Girls,
Thank you for those book recommendations! I think I forgot to say it above.
Their on my list. ;o)
rutholive
Tonasket, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 13, 2005
1:43 PM

Post #1466894

Annie, glad you found time to update us on your progress with garden and animals!!! I too have bunnies and this morning as i was eating looked out and one was looking for some birdfeed on the brick path where i usually put seed out for the quail. I think i know where the bunny nest is but under some old step thing that i can't lift.

What kind of dog do you have.? I have a Lhaso Apso, who is 5 and of course the boss. Loves to go out discovering, but finally have the chicken wire fence that was installed 10 years ago, tightened so she can't go over, under or through it. There is a solid?? redwood fence just in from the chicken wire fence to keep the deer out. the only way Bluebird can get out of my 2 plus acre yard is through the gateway. Which of course she knows she is not supposed to do, but occasionally if she thinks I'm not watching she does go down the lane. Bad dog!!!!

I too wish I had access to mushroom compost, but not available in my area Your rhodie looks just beautiful, as does the rest of your garden.

I have a miserable annual grass that grows very fast and goes to seed almost immediately, that I am trying to keep under control. This morning I am going to try a new kind of weed spray that is organic and doesn't hurt animals. Hope it works on the grass.

thanks for the info on the Kay Parris. Can't afford any more new plants this year.

DonnaS
AnniesWeePlot
Pennsauken, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 13, 2005
4:21 PM

Post #1467187

Donna,

Sunny is a Shetland Sheepdog and also a rescue I've had since she was 9/10 weeks old. She's 8, loves the elderly and those in wheelchairs, but does *not* enjoy the company of children, something very, very odd for this breed. Let's just say she's got issues. LOL

She is an absolute sweetheart who has no earthly idea that she is canine but rather, believes she's part & parcel of our homo sapiens clan.

One wild thing about this dear friend of mine is that no matter where I've lived, I've taken her outdoors and walked the boundary line of the property showing her what she can, and cannot, cross. It's unbelievable how she just plain won't cross the line unless given permission. Extremely intelligent, loving, and has a wicked sense of humor. I've seen her in dead-runs chasing a ball or other such thing and will stop straight on the line so hard that her little butt goes flying in the air. She'll then turn and prance frantically while asking if she can go get it. Same thing with the curb. She won't cross any street (while leashed or unleashed) without a hand signal from me that it's ok. I've trained all my other pet/friends in the same manner, but have never seen any take the training so seriously and literally.

I love your dog's name. Very cute!

Re: your annual grass. I keep hearing good things about corn gluten meal in stopping grasses from seeding. If you have a forsythia, use that to determine the correct time to lay it down using a broadcast seed spreader. You'll want to spread it, using manufacturer's suggested amounts, just before your forsythia blooms but will be a waste once the forsythia gets near droppinng its flowers. Can't recall immediately what university discovered this boon from the CGM, but I'm gonna try it next year.

You may be able to find it at your local Agway or similar farm supply store. If not, you can definitely find it online from vendors listed here at DG.

I hear ya on the 'can't afford anything more this year' thang. I've spent waaaaaaaaaaaay too much already myself.
Magpye
NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a)

May 13, 2005
10:48 PM

Post #1467846

Ohhhh, Annie ... no doubt about it - I certainly, am most honored .. that you broke down (and sat down a spell!! hee) .. to bring us current on your spectacular progress !! .. Duuble yays!!!

.. We can tell in your text, that you are wonderfully proud of your progress - and you've every reason to be!! Wow!!

Am humbly applauding your efforts and dedication (along with your repeated trips!) .. in aiding the lil possum-ettes too! .. Your tales of the incidents that took place over the few days with the multiple babies - and then, with Sunny's 'nature' tryin' to take a good hold of her, with the lil playful bunny, rallyin' her dawgy attentions . . . has truly cracked me up sumpin' fierce!! .. LOL .. Po' pup!! .. Bein' so denied to participate in such rituals! .. hee .. (but so glad she's such a sweetie and so well behaved!) .. She's really a most beautiful pooch!!!

Annie, the strangest thing .. I've read (rather, re-acquainted maseff) only recently .. that the lil possom-ettes are born way wee lil bitty fellers, and live in their mommas pouches for a long while, before they even crawl out and hitch the rides on/in their mommas fur!! (I know I lern'd it all in school - but have simply forgotten over half of that stuff!) .. LOL .. And definitely - their hissin' will put the fear of the devil in ya, in a heart beat!! .. And the momma's even worse!!! .. hee ..

Your descriptive details serve to aid tremendously .. in sharpenin' our imaginations, to put us right there beside you .. and witness such!!! .. LOL .. And, any pitters that can accompany your posts .. would be the super-bonuses!! ..

Annie, your 'Sunny, and .. Donna, your 'Bluebird' - - sound like the tru-est members of your families .. like our ol P'nut is, to us - the lil goof!! He stays outside, but right now .. he's in a fever, anticipating 'his turn' .. to get to come inside for an hour or so! The P'nut man (our hienz 57 variety terrier/mutt) .. is waiting on his bath! (Which is another part of the reason why I've not replied to your thread any sooner!). He knows sumthin's up and that he gets to participate and come along too!! .. hee

We'll be leavin' in another day or so, heading out west .. in hopes of seeing and visiting with a two of our eldest daughters, several grandy-yunkins and a batch or two, of some lil great-grandy-folks! Got my back-o'the-neck smoochin' kisses, all ready fer 'em !!! .. lol

SOooooooo .. (*heehee*) .. Annie, Imma gonna cut ya a 'bit of slack' in pesterin' ya, fer jes a wee spell - - sure hopin', that when we do return - I'll have a proverbial ton-and-a-half of posts and pitters waitin' .. for me, to catch up on here and on other threads, I've got my spy-balls on!! .. hee .. So, don't disappoint me! .. hee ..

Jes am really super thrilled and d'lited for you Annie! Everything is comin' together so doggone dandy for ya!! .. I'm plum tickled rhodie pink, and magnolia white .. fer ye!!! ..

(*huggerooners to ya kiddo !!*) .. But, be careful and take care of yerseff also!

- Magpye

This message was edited May 13, 2005 5:49 PM

You cannot post until you register, login and subscribe.


Other Soil and Composting Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Clay poppysue 16 Oct 21, 2013 3:56 PM
Free compost, myth or truth JaiMarye 14 Oct 27, 2010 6:58 AM
Who Bakes Dirt 76summerwind 29 Apr 4, 2008 6:22 PM
sterilizing options tiG 22 Mar 29, 2008 7:47 PM
Soil & Fertilizer: Compost Tea SoCal 119 Mar 5, 2008 11:18 PM


We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2014 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.
 

Hope for America