NEWBIES: stay out of your garden

ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5March 6, 2010

ALL NEWBIES ....

I KNOW YOU HAVE THE FEVER.... the hardest months of the gardening year.. are the transition from winter to spring... YOU CAN DO SO MUCH DAMAGE..

just put down the tools... and walk away ....

clean up fallen sticks.. fallen leaves.. AND MAKE PLANS .... but do nothing for another month or so ...

and try to stay out of that fluffy moist soil... you have better odds of turning it into adobe by summer from repeated compaction.. than any good you can do walking thru sodden soil ...

whats your zone.. and when is your time to start ...

the above perspective come from the great white north .... where the soil will most likely remain frozen solid for 2 or 3 more weeks ... so how goes it in the warmer zones ????

KEN

PS: the only exception is the transplantation of trees/conifers/shrubs and established perennials.. and they are moved.. with rootballs in april ... in my z5 .... warmer zones.. whenever.. as long before leaf sprout as possible.. and in z4 or 3.. in august.. lol ... thats when the snow melts ..

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cyn427(z7aN. VA)

I am so proud of myself! That is exactly what I told myself today when we had temps in the 50s-felt like spring almost (except for those few patches of snow lingering here and there). I did notice a bunch of broken branches on many azaleas and my magnolia from the snow we had (56" total this winter-wow). I think I will wait a bit to really investigate all the shrubs and trees. Or, should I go ahead and tramp around in order to prune the damaged limbs?

I do see the daffodils coming up. JOY!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 6:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
miclino(5)

haha, I had to restrain myself after reading about that in another post.

We have had a week of temperature in the 40s and the snow is melting away with bright sun.

My Geranium rozanne is putting out leaves, should I be worried?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 6:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenerme(z9/21 inland socal)

Remember to water when a heatwave hits in February . . .

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 7:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

It's funny you should say all this ken, because I just got done thinking I would go outside tomorrow and prune off the dead leaves from last seasons heucheras, and then I thought to myself, NO! Leave them alone! There are still several freezes and warm ups to come and I will kill them!
Thankyou for reminding us "grasshoppers" to have patience! I will put down my tools and walk away from the gardens, at least for another month! lol

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 9:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

TRUST ME ....

there is a lot to do out there .... regardless of the topic ...

ken

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 9:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardengal48

I am going to temper Ken's advice by saying what to do when depends entirely on where you are located. In my location, right now is an ideal time to do just about anything in the garden - pruning, planting, transplanting, preparing new garden beds, weeding, cutting back old foliage, cleaning up from winter, mulching - you name it, NOW is the time to do it.

It may be appropriate to wait in colder zones for much of this activity but as with everything else associated with gardening, there are very few absolutes, so let your location and your climate be your guide.

FWIW, I've been doing all the above chores for the last month or so. YMMV

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 11:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sc_gardener(zone 5)

I did find a lot of unwanted tree seedlings and chopped those off - hopefully they will not resprout. And got rid of some unwanted blackberry brambles... That is all. Stayed out of the "fun part". It looks like I have some black canes on the roses this year though:(

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 2:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I don't normally get out too early to start cleaning up. So what is it about getting out too early that is the problem? I know you aren't supposed to walk on wet soil because of compaction, but at my h*ouse, we've had very little snow and rain this year and I suspect it is not that wet out there. Is there also a concern about pulling back mulch or trimming dead foliage because of late frosts?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 4:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
growlove(zone4 Ia.)

Ken, don't have to tell us in Iowa to stay out of our gardens, heck, we can't get there, the snow is up to our calves. I took a walk out to the shed to find some pots for seedlings. Passing by my Miss Kim Lilacs, I see the rabbits have decimated them. Also a beautiful tiger eye sumac which was beautiful last year given to me by the park board on which I had served for many years. It was a gift for my husband's funeral and I am so sad to see it completely girdled. Will it grow back from the roots? Mary

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 5:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mori1(5b/6a)

The snow finally melted yesterday and crocus are blooming. I was so tempted especially when I saw the bees. But I know better, I only put tree fertilizer spikes for my spring snow crabapple tree. Anything else will wait until the middle of April.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 5:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Ditto to gardengal. If I wait till April, it's too late for many things.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 8:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dodgerdudette

I'm doing it all,pulling weeds, mulching, moving plants, planting plants,cutting back the tenders, rules be da**ed ! Zone9 talking here , from a position of strength .

Hi PM !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 11:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Agree with GardenGal.

I have a day off this week, and I'm probably going to get out there and prune my rugosa roses. I normally do this chore sometime in March, weather depending, it's one of those things I like to get out of the way.

So, yea, I think it's okay to get out there and do things that won't have you trampling through the beds, compacting the soil.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 8:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

check out the link ....

anyway.. whats with the 'tempering'.. or sniping.. i specifically asked the following:

============>>>

whats your zone.. and when is your time to start ...

the above perspective come from the great white north .... where the soil will most likely remain frozen solid for 2 or 3 more weeks ... so how goes it in the warmer zones ????

===========>>>

as to mx ... perhaps you are not a newbie .. and perhaps.. you know how to deal with it all ....

my point was simply .. for those who might not know better ... that perhaps .. creating cement in their garden is not the best thing to do.. no matter what the level of spring fever ....

regardless.. you all have a great day... and do whatever you want...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 9:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardengal48

Ken, you addressed your post to "all newbies" - I merely added to your advice that where you are located will determine what can/should be done when. For many newbies, that time may be NOW :-) As to the 'frozen north', latitude is not the only limiting factor - I am located considerably more northerly than you are yet seldom experience any of the winter conditions you may. Here, it is spring and time to get busy!

As with a number of other subjects, it's all about location, location, location :-))

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 1:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
torajima

Yeah, down here in the south winter SHOULD be over. We might get a little frost between now and the middle of April, but that won't keep me from pruning old growth, removing mulch, and even planting a few tough perennials.

If we wait too long down here, it will be a struggle to keep plants alive once the heatwave hits in May!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 1:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
weeper_11(2b SK)

Yes, the only thing I'm doing this time of year is shovelling snow ONTO my garden! The snow starts melting on it too quickly, and I don't want any of my more tender perennials getting a big cold shock later this month, when Saskatchewan will probably head back into the deep freeze. Plus, my dwarf evergreens fair so much better if I keep them snow covered as long as possible.

Last year was a DISASTER for the garden in spring. We had a new deck built, right by our big flower bed, and the guy who built it didn't have it done on time (before spring thaw) and he was still tramping around when the ground got mucky. I was literally ripping out my hair! I wanted the deck done of course, but it was practically tear-inducing to know what kind of compaction I'd be facing later in the year. Lots of my tulips and daffodils never did come up where he walked.

I admit, I did walk around - gingerly - to check how much winter dieback I have on my shrubs and roses. I won't need to check for "signs of life" for probably another month, quite possibly more. Stupid zone 3.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 7:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

Oh weeper! I am having a deck built the next couple of weeks and never thought of that problem! I hope they don't trample anything I'm growing! I'd better keep an eye or two on them! :)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 9:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Since this is in a perrenials forum I am thinking staying out of the garden is in reference to tending to perrenial clean up?

Otherwise right now is the PERFECT timing for pruning some trees and shrubs.

In my area there is a thin layer of snow and the ground is still frozen...yet its fairly mild out. You don't want to go out there in 2 or 3 weeks when the snow has completely melted and the soil is fluffy, this is when damage can be done to the soil structure and/or grass.

The situation will be different each year...you'll have a window of oppurtunity otherwise you wait till late April.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 10:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Although this is the perennials forum we have people posting from many zones and location really does determine when things should be done in a garden.
There's very little blanket advice except for perhaps things like technique: how to divide, etc.
I clean up in the fall each year without any problems. Sometimes I leave a few sticks so I know where things are, but that's it.
I avoided this forum for years because I thought it belonged to the Northerners in a cliquish way...so perhaps I'm sensitive to this type of topic.
Ken's advice is great for those in his location!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 8:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gonativegal(zone 5a)

Ken,

Good overall advice for the zone 3 - 6 crowd but the one exception ( as Whaas pointed this out) is dormant pruning of trees/shrubs. That's what I've been doing for the past week and half. The window on this (at least in zone 5) is closing fast and will be gone after mid March. I've just been extra mindful about the amount of walking back and forth on the newly frost heaved soil and have tried to keep it to a minimum.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 6:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
linnea56(z5 IL)

I'm in Zone 5. Should I be pruning my peach tree now? Nothing to compact around it.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 8:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Hey, Whaas and Gonativegal - thanks for backing me up on the pruning issue (although all I have time to get to this week is the rugosas)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 9:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gonativegal(zone 5a)

I prune my apple tree about now by thinning out branches that are crowded, at bad angles, crossing and/or damaged plus any water sprouts - the blossoms and thus the fruit (if I get a fair amount of pollination) form on buds formed from the previous year. If you have to aggressively prune your tree because it hasn't been done in a few years you may have not have as much fruit as a previous year. This is why I do it almost every winter to balance out those branches I'm keeping (which I hope will bear decent size fruit) and those which have to go. If you leave too many branches the fruit tends to be smaller each year and then you end up having to radically prune so it is a chore best done every winter or early spring.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 6:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kimcoco

Oh boy. I have to laugh...

I cut my heuchera leaves back yesterday. I KNEW I shouldn't be doing it, but couldn't contain myself.

Actually, I went out there to cut back my clems, fine for this time of year. I also cut back my Annabelle Hydrangea, which should also be ok. Picked up sticks. Cut a couple stray stems from my grapevine. Planted some spring blooming bulbs that somehow didn't get in the ground by last November.

I cut back my Carefree Sunshine rose shrub...I know, I know...it was covered this winter in blackspot. But, I'm tired of the rose maintenance and figured, if I lose it, I won't be heartbroken. It was fine in the fall, got blackspot, or at least VISIBLE blackspot over the winter.

I'm assuming also, I should refrain from feeding a systemic 3-1 to treat the blackspot until April as well, fertilizing now probably not a good thing. Still, I'm tempted.

Thanks Ken for the warning. But I'm not a newbie, just a garden addict. LOL.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 1:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
linnea56(z5 IL)

I have to prune the peach tree mostly because it gets too tall to reach the fruit, which tends to be on the topmost branches. I try to keep after it, but I usually think of it later in the season. It got out of hand (or out of reach, more accurately) back when it was really young, so there is a limit to what I can do now. The center is open and there are no crossing branches, itÂs just keeping it in bounds vertically.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 12:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deanna_in_nh(5a/4b)

So...I'm a newbie, practically in zone 4 instead of zone 5, and I just spent a few hours outside (:-0!!! I inherited a garden with good beginnings but recent neglect, so even though this is my 2nd full summer in the garden there are many things to do. And...I've never done "real" gardening before now. So, I was just outside trampling over everything trying to see what's growing, I cleaned up the irises and lilies, trimmed the tangly hydrangea, trimmed the mint (oh, if only early trimming would tame the mint a bit and I'd trim it in January). I thought I was being such a good little girl scout for not letting it all wait. I've never heard of compacting soil!

(:-C !!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 3:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
miclino(5)

Since the subject of shrubs was brought up? When to prune my boxwoods?

Its been light rain here for the last 2 days.....

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 3:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
melaroma(6)

deanna, you might want to read up on hydrangeas as trimming them or cutting them down will cause you to loose this years blooms depending on the variety you have. Also Mint is an aggressive plant that can and will take over your yard. I would keep it planted in a container in the garden.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 4:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deanna_in_nh(5a/4b)

I trimmed only limbs off the hydrangea that I don't want to grow back. Several unsightly suckers had reached trunk proportion. I majorly shaved the thing last year and husband was shocked at how much I cut off, but it needed even more. (When I say my garden suffered from recent neglect, I mean true neglect!) I'd like for the growth I cut off to stay away. However, I didn't know hydrangeas were like azaleas. I thought they could be trimmed early summer. Thanks for the heads-up on that. I'll be sure to read before I go trimming the part I want to stay.

And, the previous owner planted the mint...in the ground...and did I mention the years of neglect? You can imagine the size of my mint problem. I will say that my first 50 weedings were highly fragrant, though. Mint makes every weeding day reming you of ice-cream!

(At first I thought the previous owner didn't realize mint should be contained. Then I found out she planted it at her previous house also...in the ground. Not sure what she was thinking!)

Thanks for the tips!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 5:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
covella

I've had a note in my calendar for 6 mos to feed my lilacs with Epsom Salts in March. And since I didn't feed my rhodies and azaleas last fall like usual, its ok to toss some Espoma on them. Other than that it is really tempting to get to the hellebores I can reach and trim away the old leaves as they are full of buds right now.
We will have temps in the 50s and 60s this week with sunshine so it will be really nice, not just 38 and sunny that looks good from the opposite side of the window.
It occurs to me that this would be a good time to whack off the big grasses too. so why am I sitting here.....?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 6:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rusty_blackhaw(6a)

At the dire risk of compaction, I spent several hours in the garden the past couple of days cutting back all my large ornamental grasses and a few other perennials. I had a couple of days off, the weather was beautiful, and if I don't do the work when time permits, it winds up May and there are lots of other things to do. The beds will recover from the weight of Gardenersaurus.

I also put in 12 feet of snap peas today - possibly the earliest I've ever gotten any spring vegetables in the ground (this was in the best-drained portion of the vegetable garden).

Sometimes you've just got to make hay while the sun shines.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 10:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Eric - Pea sowing was on my mind, too, I just never got around to picking up the seeds at the store over the weekend.

I have to send DH out there to cut back the ornamental grasses. If he doesn't do it by the time he and his buddies decide golf season has begun, then fuggedaboutit, he's not going to do it. I wrote myself a Post-It to remind him to do that chore this weekend.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 8:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

I've been fluffing mulch, cutting back vines and trimming trees and generally looking at the bulbs poking through. I really want to sink a pretty large bamboo into the ground (its not happy about spending this winter in the house, the dog hasn't been nice to it).

Tomorrow I will cut back the ornamental grass and keep itching to plant that bamboo, but I will wait until after April 1st (i'll have more time that next week than I do now anyway).

~Chills

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 6:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
torajima

75 degrees here tomorrow, no way I'm staying out of the garden!

I already cleaned out the beds, so I'm planning to plant a few perennials.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 11:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Yep, it will be 70 degrees here tomorrow, too. I am hoping most of the ground has dried out enough, but I really will have to get out there for a bit just to renew my spirit! I promise I won't tramp about too much, Ken! And, I'll stay out of the lower yard which I am sure will still be soggy.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 12:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
singleton165(z5 NH Seacoast)

It'll be 70 here for me as well today! I did some cleanup yesterday and plan on cutting back ornamental grasses today...thanks for the reminder to be mindful of the soggy soil!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 10:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
davemichigan(zone 6a (SE Michigan))

60s this week, 70F yesterday, yes!

But back to 30 tonight.

Dave
Canton, MI

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 10:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kimcoco

Miclino, I have boxwood and for my area, also zone 5, I have a note to trim them mid june or mid July, but no later so they can harden off for the winter.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 11:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

bump

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 7:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Propaganda Garden Design

You aren't suggesting that people stay out of their gardens in April are you Ken? I will have to respectfully disagree. It may be too early for the northern climates to plant out tender plants but this is the perfect time for planting hardy perennials and by now most garden cutting back and tidying should be done.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 2:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
WendyB(5A/MA)

fwiw, my late April flowering plants have flowered already. In New England we seem to be a good 2 weeks ahead of schedule. I feel like I am way behind in spring tasks based on plant stages. Cleaning out the beds is so much easier when perennials are barely up. Not so this year!

And my damp side of the yard will probably have to wait til June or July for cleanup after our record-breaking rains! I did a lot in the fall knowing that sometimes it is too wet to work there during Spring.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 2:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

If your beds are soggy yet, you should stay out. Its been pretty dry in my area...in fact very dry the last month.

The time is now!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 9:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i start getting really PO'd in february.. when all those braggarts in z8 start telling us they are going outside.. into spring ....

while i will be trying to dig out of 12 to 18 inches today ... [i am hoping that if i keep complaining.. the storm will miss us ]

ken

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 9:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maozamom NE Ohio

I'll trade you your snow for our ice.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 3:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
squirejohn zone4 VT

One good thing about all the snow is that it was a good time to drop seven red maples whose roots were competing with hostas. I figured the snow would cushion my stomping around the hostas while bucking up the trees. There was one big snarly 20' tree that had me concerned; not only as to placement, but was worried that squirejohn wouldn't end up as "flatjohn". All came out fine however- WHEW!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 4:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greyandamy

I'm a bit confused. Is the point mainly to stay out of the gardens as the soils still wet and thus compaction?

Or is it that cutting back dead growth from perennials willl NOT help protect them with upcoming frosts?

If it's the latter, I don't understand, as some people in fall cut back all their perennials down to almost earth. ??

Sticks, rocks, weeds.. yes, that keeps me busy at least. Cutting back ornamental grasses (the dreadful task), that can't hurt, can it?

Sorry if I'm naive!

Amy

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 1:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Hi Amy - the reason is because the ground is still too wet, and working it/stepping on it will cause compaction.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 1:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greyandamy

THAT MAKES SENSE, the grounds a bog!! So much rain.. when it's drier, or DRY, okay to cut back dead perennial foliage yet??

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 2:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

mx is correct ...

just because YOU HAVE THE FEVER ... and want to get to work ASAP ...

does not mean it will be good for your soil.. or your garden ...

turning your soft thawing soil .. into the soil equivalent of concrete can make problems in the long run ...

now.. if you have walking paths .. and can work without actually stepping into the growing area.. knock yourself out ....

ken

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 9:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Well, blow me down - Ken actually agreed with something I posted!!!

LOL!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 1:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

thought i would bump this up .. since the fever is building.. and was startled to see the date as two years to the day .... well, almost

ken

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 9:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
emme-dc(7b DC)

Ha, I was reading this, wondering, what winter is this all from? Snow and ice? more frost coming? Oh, that was years ago! And I almost thought I had a reason to procrastinate.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 1:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
quilt_mommy(5/6 Northeast Ohio)

;) I have been gardening for six years now in my own garden and spent many years side by side with my parents in their garden. Many of us ever stop being "newbies". I don't think perennials in particular are all THAT delicate. I haven't killed very many in the years that I've been gardening but each year I proceed to move them around and divide them with hesitation. Right now my garden is full and lush and I'd hate to kill everything and start over! I do agree though, tromping around in soft wet soil will create a real pain later, and I appreciate your reminder on that! Though, to be honest I will probably still go out there anyway. :) I truly don't think you can do THAT much damage unless you start putting out tender annuals this early. The old rules of thumb are for "best results" purposes, but they aren't really do or die. As others have said it is really a fluid everchanging due to circumstance and general rule to say hold off for a few more weeks...good general advice but of course it's different everywhere for everyone, so, proceed with caution, use common sense, and when it doubt, wait. :)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 7:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
emme-dc(7b DC)

Well, apropos of this very problem, I have not been tromping around much in my garden, but we had work being done in our house all winter, including a new backyard deck and patio constructed, and there was lots of people, junk and construction material where it shouldn't have been. Now they're about done (though still occasionally tromping around in what were or are to become planting beds), and I'm pretty worried about what damage they might have done, and wondering how to fix it. Are there gadgets or techniques for re-aerating compacted soils, especially around tree roots, that can be hand-operated and used in a small space?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 1:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i used to take a stout garden spading fork ... stick it in.. and just pull it backs ... it puffs the soil.. adds drainage holes ...

like the one at the link.. but you can probably get it at bigboxstore .... the key to a long life.. is a metal handle.. i have broken at least 2 with plastic handles .... pay a little extra and it will last you a lifetime ...

the lazy way .... just go around the empty spots ... and fluff ...

the best way.. dig out every single plant ... set them in the grass .... double dig the whole bed.. and replant ....

once you use this.. you will probably not go back to a shovel ...

i really think you ought to copy/paste your question into a new post.. and then i will do the same... too many peeps might just not see this buried down here ... and of course.. you dont allow email thru your members page.. so who knows if you will ever see my reply ...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 3:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
paulsiu(5a)

I am often so busy with work and family that I can barely get enough time to put into the garden. I have tried hard to be efficient and do only what is necessary.

Currently, I am merely wandering around the garden and observing what is coming up.

Paul

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 11:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vajeff(7b VA)

When would be a good time to start working in the garden here in zone 7B? Actually, we're now zoned as 8A, but I still stick to 7A/7B to be on the safe side.

Should you start after the last frost date? I've found several dates for our area ranging from March 26th to April 6th and even April 20th. I usually don't start gardening and bringing out indoor sown plants until late April to early May. I do prep beds in late March/early April about the same time I plant out gladiolus and lilies. Is this a mistake?

Jeff

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 2:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hi jeff..

there is no way for us to tell you.. when your soil can handle you walking on it ....

all i am trying to do.. is make you aware.. that if you compact the soil ... you may regret it later ....

now if you are just walking thru.. thats one thing.. i am talking about standing there.. digging.. standing there... etc ...

live and learn dude .. lol ..

i have sand .. you have been to a sandy beach.. remember standing just before the water line.. and rocking back and forth.. and water started squishing out.. that would be bad in the garden.. because you are compacting the soil under you .. and when it dried in august.. it would be adobe ... thats the best example i can give you ...

how it all works on your soil.. in your zone.. i can not predict ...

good luck .. you got the fever bad.. dont you.. lol ..

ken

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 3:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vajeff(7b VA)

Yeah, I was bit pretty bad by the spring fever bug. I can't wait to get everything done so I can start planting out the who-knows-how-many plants I have yet to start this year.

I guess it's safe for me to work in the beds... lightly. The bulbs are up so I don't have to worry about walking on those. There's a lot of work to be done, so I'll just tag aeration and soil fluffing to that list.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 11:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Ken, I don't know about you but last year I bought myself a digging fork(whatever you want to call it)and find that I use it instead of a shovel. Love it!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 8:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Ken, I was going to take advantage of the beautiful weather and clean out the leaves from the garage flowerbed..I tried to rake them but that was a lost cause, so I started stepping where I thought it was bare and as I reached around to put more leaves into the required county yard waste paper bag, I almost fell and as I was trying to balance myself, I saw where I had been stepping and it was compacted and I looked down again and saw all these tiny green leaves of some flower and I head your voise. "Newbie..stay out of your garden!" I saw immediately what you meant. Thanks for the advice.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 10:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey pippi

i have been accused of many things.. but haunting is not one of them.. lol

thx for the chuckle.. you made my day ...

ken

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 3:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
schoolhouse_gw

Tell that to the 4, 5gl. bucketfuls of Shotweed I pulled out of the beds and borders over the last two days. There was no way I could sit back and watch that stuff bloom and go to seed. Not that it's going to help ALL that much as I have the stupid stuff growing in my lawn nearby the gardens. And it grew ontop of the mulch by the way and in between the pavers of the courtyard.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 6:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
samnsarah

I already pinched my mums and removed last year's stems. They seem to be doing fine though. They were already 6-7 inches tall when I pinched them, but I left the mulch around them. I was going to transplant some of them this Saturday, 3/24/12, to fill in some gaps, but maybe I'll wait.
Anyway, thanks for the information.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 3:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
togijiru

HI folks! Apologies if this is the wrong spot, I have searched for 'newbie' and 'beginner' and this seemed like the best place. I am a complete and total beginner who knows zero about gardening. I am also a first time homeowner (living in Los Angeles, near LAX) who cooks a lot and has a toddler. Our back yard has one apple tree which apparently gives very tasty little apples, and one large tree of some kind that we're keeping. Everything else can go. My goals are to be able to grow some things I can use in the kitchen, to have a little patch where my kid can play and learn, and to have a nice looking yard generally.

I would love any tips on where to start. I already have the Sunset Western Gardening book and have read it, but I am a bit overwhelmed by it. I would love a reference to an ULTRA ULTRA beginner book. Like a cookbook that would teach you how to boil water, if you see what I mean.

I don't want to load up the page with a bunch of images if this is the wrong spot, but I have some if they'd be helpful.

Many thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 1:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

I would love any tips on where to start.

===>>>
well.. you could start your own post .. so that an email like this came to your address rather than mine ... and i dont say that to chide you for posting in the wrong place...

you will get much better info.. if you post things in the right place ... and dont be shy about posting EVERYWHERE .... we need and like newbies.. they keep the forum running thru winter ....

a lot of herbs are annuals.. so you could try that forum

some are perennial.. so try that forum ...

and i wouldnt be surprised if there isnt an herb forum ...

for your first post.. i would suggest something.. along the lines of BUILDING A NEW BED FOR HERBS ...

if you start by building a good soil to grow things in.. it will be a lot easier.. rather than doing it years later ... i will be looking for this post ...

good luck and have fun

ken

ps: now i have to go read my own answer in my in-mail folder .. whats that all about.. lol ...

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 1:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
togijiru

Thank you Ken Adrian! I've already learned some things from your post! Ok, I'll go start a new thread, many thanks!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 3:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

bumping this up

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 7:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

can i still bump this one

ken

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 5:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I am a Central Texas Zone 8b gardener and it is TOTALLY different down here. No snow, no rain , no compressed soil. The winter is our main time to plant perennials. We like to get them on the ground with roots established before the big heat strikes. Especially with perennials. I do most of my tree planting by early November and I stop planting perennials by the middle of April. Really by now , if I had my act together.I will plant Agaves and xeric plants a little later. They like the heat and rot can get started in the roots if it gets cold and wet. I am seeing lots of seeds popping.

Winter is the time that I also spend cleaning my woods and doing land restoration activities on the back canyon. I wouldn't exactly call it a garden. I have to clear 1.7 acres of underbrush ( Mountain ashe Juniper) and create swales to control the run off. I then protect the unusual trees that I find with the felled brush. I found three Madrone trees this weekend, and a bunch of evergreen sumac and agarita. The agarita is going into bloom as we speak. a Nice yellow on the glaucus green holly like leaves. Later I will have berries for jam.

I end up making the "bones" of how you perceive the space. It gets carved out of the inpenitrable thick brush and ends up with varied structure of the space of the woods. I find that process exciting. It does have the bad haircut look. Definite garden by reduction by chaisaw and loppers.

I took a bunch (shopping bags) of seeds from Eupatorium havanese, liatris, snake broom weed and bluestem grass and adzed it in to the land in select places. I pray that we get some rain. Seeds sometime take years to get that right combination of events to sprout here. Sometimes never. It is an act of faith. I just finished today.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 1:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
TexasRanger10(7)

Strange advice in the OP.

n.a. here.

It would perhaps be best to go to a reliable nursery or ask someone in your area what to do or when to do it if you lack experience. Most people are more than happy to answer questions based on local conditions. There are so many factors involved that vary from one region to the next, even within state lines.

A bit of common sense is always good. If your boots are getting caked with mud, its too wet to be in the garden. If you can make a ball of soil with your fist that holds together and it easily crumbles, go to work. Or, it might be a good way to check your soil texture because this is a good time down here to work on your soil, if that ball doesn't crumble, its too much clay.

Personally, I can work in the garden a day after a good rain because I have sandy soil and live on a slight slope and often I garden during a light rain, like I did Saturday. We are very dry here.

I know some other people in your situation wantanamara. They strongly advise using dynamite.

Down here, it would be bad advice to wait another month. We plant mostly in fall and late winter, not so much in late spring, thats really too late.

This post was edited by TexasRanger10 on Mon, Mar 17, 14 at 19:33

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 7:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I should correct my statement to no danger of compressing soil. Most has been compressed by millions of years under a sea bed . When I have mud it is nothing like Mud Seasons of my childhood in the foothills to the Berkshire and springs in NH. Mud is a thin affair that is localized in puddles and the soil drains in almost minutes. I sink a inch into the caliche mud after 5" of rain.It is a soft dunn colored velvet between my toes. Not gunky or sticky. Quite pleasant and rare. With this drought, mud is a vague memory.

Depending on the words of a plant nursery about when is to late to plant is a chancy affair. They are known to thrive on that spring time gush of cellulose junkies into their aisles. They keep selling strong when it is already past the time that it is good to plant. They might not tell you the truth. High Summertime in Austin is our second winter. Plants go dormant and hang listlessly waiting for late September for their second spurt. This year is promising an intensifying drought so I am planning to curtail my planting this spring and keep it to a few tough characters this weekend.

I do love that these forums give voice to different people in different conditions.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 11:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
TexasRanger10(7)

wanton, you may have something about some of the nursery's at that. We're pretty lucky to have a family owned one thats been around since the 1920's. Those people are a goldmine of information from bugs to plants. There's also a family group at the farmers mkt. that's been raising plants and selling produce for generations. They wouldn't sell a person wrong either. Pretty plain talking people, the kind you sort of just trust.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 12:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ryseryse_2004

Just realized this was from years ago! Well here in NW Illinois today we can finally see the ground. Most of the snow has melted and it is amazing that the grass is green! It snowed (and snowed for months) before the grass could turn brown. Yes, walking on the garden beds is not going to happen for a couple of weeks even though I am so anxious to get out there and do stuff.

Our house/acreage is on the market (moving to a southern state) and it is just fine with me if it doesn't sell until I can enjoy my gardens for one more summer. Starting all over someplace else will be fun but I love what I have.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 4:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

nothing like a good debate ... to stimulate a conversation ...

in rereading ..... another truism jumped to mind ...that newbs should put to memory ..... in that MICRO CLIMATES RULE

what i do is all about z5 adrian mi ... someone 5 miles up the road can be in a whole other garden world ... as to my topic ...

so a newb has to take it all in ... try to understand the basic comment... and give it a whirl .... there simply arent spot on answers.. to a lot of this stuff.. specific to your garden ... so wing it ...

ken

ken

    Bookmark   February 11, 2015 at 7:52AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Are you missing past content?
I went searching for my old comments on GW and according...
prairiemoon2 z6 MA
Tall Verbena
Having finally put a name to the lanky 3' tall plant...
AnneCecilia z5 MI
Whatcha' doing?
What garden related shenanigans are you guys up to? I'm...
christinmk z5b eastern WA
Border Patrol Plants
Border Patrol Plants: those small, front-of-the-border...
christinmk z5b eastern WA
Winterizing perennials?
Just moved into a new home with lots of established...
chaven
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™