(Closed) Gardening/Landscaping 101?

posted 9 years ago in Home
Post # 3
Member
2027 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Hi Miss Mary Jane! Well, I’m in Florida, so totally different weather than you, but I’ll help you with what I can.

Some of the best ways to learn what you want to plant is to talk to your master gardener. Just about every city/county has one, and they can really help out. Another way is to establish a relationship with a local nursery. They can absolutely steer you in the right direction. I like to drive around and find houses with landscaping I like and then figure out what they planted. This has really helped me in the past. For example; I’ve been loving this plant at a dentist’s office near our house for the past 2 years, and just found out what it was. Needless to say, I had my very own about a week later (it was an oak leaf hydrangea, btw).  

Even just visiting nurseries can give you ideas of what you like and what you don’t.

Once you find out what to plant, make up a plan for the beds. Professionals will go into full detail on this plan, but I basically just doodle one up. You can use graph paper to help you out if you care enough (I never do!). Just remember to take into account how tall each bush or plant can get before you plant it! The tallest go in the back, and the shortest up front. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Most professionals use stakes and twine to get perfect lines, but I like to wing it. I like a little chaos in my planting :).

Once you have a plan, it is time to plant. Don’t underestimate how long it can take to get stuff in the ground. You might be suprised!

Basically, to start your landscaping, you should clean everything out of the bed, tarp included, and give it a nice tilling. You can just use a hoe if you want and when you’re done it should be good clean dirt. This is when you can decide whether or not to put down that black fabric. I’m not sure about how weeds are up North, but down here they are crazy…I really wish we had put it down before we did our planting. Just lay it down over the soil. You then just cut an X through it with a knife to dig the hole and put your plant in. Again, you don’t have to use the fabric, it can just help with weeds. It is really up to you. If you do put it down, though, you will need mulch to keep it down, and because it is pretty ugly.

After you get your plants in, make sure to pretty much soak them every day for the next week. They have been shocked from the move and need the water! You said that mulch pretty much blows away there, but have you tried pine bark mulch? Its rather large and heavy, but still helps keep weeds at bay, as well as keeps the soil much more moist; as do all mulches.

On to the next question…The flower box on the house just needs to be cleaned out. Load it up with new soil (you can put a layer of rock on the bottom for drainage if you want), and throw in some flowers. Super easy!

For a garden, the easiest thing to do is to build a box (pioneer woman has a great tutorial http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeandgarden/2009/02/build-your-own-raised-flowervegetable-bed/ ).

This usually means less weeds, and better drainage. It is the best idea for just a small simple garden. Just fill it up with some dirt from your yard if you can spare it, or buy some from Lowes. It doesn’t need to be too fancy. From there, you just start throwing plants in, making sure they all have enough space and sunlight. Keep them watered and throw some cow poop in for best results. Are there even cows where you are? Steal it from your neighbors..they won’t mind!

About the garden and the black plastic…my grandmother SWEARS that you should not use the plastic in the garden. I can’t even remember her reasoning, but I’m not going against her mad gardening skills!

Hope that helps some!!

Post # 4
Member
558 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Oooo you are speakin’ my language, girl! First things first: RIP UP THAT BLACK TARP! Even if it was originally the special tarp used in landscaping, it’s probably old and not worth it anymore. Past that…

Bree72 gives great advice. I personally don’t like the weed fabric, because it eventually will show back through and you’ll have to rip it up again and re-do it. I personally like cedar mulch, it’s much more attractive, and if you till it under in the fall it’ll break down and be great for your soil over the winter. I don’t imagine weeds are as bad in ND as they are in FL, so I’m pretty sure you could get away with just using mulch. I like the idea of re-grassing the oddly-placed beds. You can then put youre herb/vegetable beds wherever you want! I suggest building what’s called "raised beds"… it’s where you make a low, bottomless box out of lumber, and placing the box wherever you want your garden in the yard and filling it with dirt. This link http://www.eartheasy.com/grow_raised_beds.htm shows some really good pictures, and if Mr. Mary Jane is handy with tools, he could build you a few. This link http://www.wikihow.com/Construct-a-Raised-Planting-Bed has a good how-to on building one. Good luck with your gardening!

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