3 Chores to Do in Fall for Spring!

It's that time of year again, time to think about spring! Yes, I said that right. Spring! Fall is almost here but if you want to maximize the potential of your garden next year fall is the best time to get some work done. The autumn leaves will be changing soon and now is the best time to get some garden preparation accomplished in the cooler weather. What preparations can you do in fall for a good spring garden? (All supplies pictured in this post were provided by Lowe's through Lowe's Creative Ideas!) Mulch in the Fall Mulching your garden beds is one of the best things you can do for your perennials and trees. Mulch insulates the soil from the cold weather can help borderline plants overwinter better. It also protects the soil from compaction and adds organic matter to the ground over time. Cover each bed with a…

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One Critical Thing to Do For Your Vegetable Garden This Summer!

The weather here in Tennessee is nothing if not unpredictable.  Some will even say that the only thing predictable about the weather is that it is unpredictable!  So gardeners are left trying to figure out how to best mitigate harsh conditions of any extreme.  Two years ago we were facing floods that washed out gardens, homes, and upturned lives - today, we're dry. Very dry.  Both of these weather extremes make gardening a bit of a gamble, but there are some things that will help mitigate some problems and ease the stress of unpredictable weather.  There is one critical thing you must to for your vegetable garden this summer to help - mulch. A lot of beginning gardeners don't realize how important mulch is for growing vegetables.  Mulch does so much for your garden that it really is critical for your garden's success.  So what does mulch actually do for…

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The Border Garden – with a Border!

This summer heat, humidity, and assorted family issues have kept me behind in most of my goals.  One of which was expanding the side border garden so that the caryopteris wasn't completely absorbing the whole area. I tend to take a more conservative approach to pruning my caryopteris and consequently I didn't prune them back enough this spring. They responded by getting large and stretching their limbs beyond the previous stone border edging. I like their current size - large enough for an awesome impact once the flowers begin to bloom.  I had to compensate for the extra growth somehow which meant reclaiming the hidden border and adding mulch. I decided to use some pine straw mulch. I've spread pine straw mulch before but generally lean toward the hardwood mulches.  My decision was based on a couple factors: 1) ease of spreading - pine straw mulch goes on fast and…

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Preparing the Vegetable Garden in Spring

Over the weekend I tackled more prep work in the vegetable garden. I've already planted several things in the raised beds including onions, potatoes, lettuce, and spinach but planting wasn't the main weekend task. One of the things I really didn't like about my vegetable garden is now officially a thing of the past - the grass! In each of my garden layouts I've had issues with a grass pathway down the middle of the garden.  It required me to bring in the mower each week to cut the grass down to walkable heights and I decided that this year I would make things easier in the long run. I laid down pieces of cardboard over the grass and covered them with mulch to completely smother the grass that was still present underneath. Hauling all that mulch into the vegetable garden wasn't fun but the overall time and work involved…

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Mulching a New Garden

This weekend's weather was a sign that there really is a light at the end of this dark tunnel we call winter - and it's not another trains headlight! Spring is coming and the warm weather that we're having this week has me itching to get in the garden - which is exactly what I did over the weekend - without the itching part! I managed to accomplish many of the clean-up chores that I've been putting off for weeks due to the cold weather and I even mulched up a new garden area. The new garden is in our front yard and was mostly planted back in the fall. I moved transplants of coneflowers and Russian sage and also put in a few discount plant dwarf crape myrtles. I hope they made it through our winter - right now they look quite rough! We'll see how they do when…

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What’s The Best Mulch?

In posting yesterday about my mulch (that I got for $1.34 per 2 cubic foot bag) several people left comments about what mulch they like to use. I thought that maybe today it might be good to take a look at the types of mulch and what's good about each one. The main purpose behind any mulch is to retain moisture in the soil for plants to utilize. Hardwood Mulch The mulch I use the most is regular brown hardwood mulch. I usually get it in bulk from a local bulk landscaping supply company because it's usually cheaper in bulk than in the bag. Generally I pay about $30 per yard which is 27 cubic feet. The brown mulch looks good and lasts through each season and then some. It's an organic mulch which gradually decomposes and feeds the soil. Pine Mulch Pine Mulch by the bag The bags of…

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Mulch Madness

You read it right! It's not March Madness - or maybe it is - but it's also MULCH MADNESS! This morning I picked up 20 bags of mulch and fit in my Honda CRV. That's a yard and a half of mulch ready to go on the gardens. And at a $1.34 per bag it was quite a bargain!

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Mulching The Vegetable Garden

The vegetable garden is growing "like a weed", in fact its growing a few of them too! I'm really pleased with the progress of most of the garden so far. There are a couple beds that need some attention but I have almost all the beds mulched with a hardwood mulch to keep most of the weeds at bay and moisture in the soil. Mulching your garden will save you all kinds of time and aggravation over the course of the summer. If you don't do it now, you will wish you did! I was tempted to go with pine needles this year but never got around to gathering some. Any organic mulch will work. Organic mulches break down over time and gradually improve the soil which for me makes them vastly superior to plastic mulches and gravel mulches. The only downside is you have to replace them when they…

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A Garden Mulch Calculator

While working on the list of things I need to complete my 48 Hour Blog Project I was trying to figure out how many bags of mulch I'll need for the planting areas and I came up with this little calculator. All you have to do is input the dimensions of the area followed by how deep you want the mulch and it will tell you the amount in cubic feet. Please keep in mind this is just an estimate! function MultiplyMulch(Atext, Btext, Ctext, form){var A = parseFloat(Atext);var B = parseFloat(Btext);var C = parseFloat(Ctext);form.Answer.value = A * B * C/12;}/* ClearForm: this function has 1 argument: form. It clears the input and answer fields on the form. It needs to know the names of the INPUT elements in order to do this. */function ClearForm(form){form.input_A.value = "";form.input_B.value = "";form.input_C.value = "";form.Answer.value = "";}// end of JavaScript functions --> How Much Mulch…

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