Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fixing a slumping problem

We carefully propped the cement blocks to keep the barrier cloth right
next to the cement wall.

Slumping fix

We live on a lake and have an oddly-shaped section of bulkhead between our boat-lift bay and the neighbor's cement bulkhead. The soil here has been eroding from under the bulkhead and from its edge next to the cement. We've filled it a few times in the 10 years we've been here, but soil keeps disappearing.

So this time, we got serious. We removed the 2 maple saplings, a bunch of invasive wild taro, the canna lilies that I'd planted a couple years ago (which I saved for replanting) and an assortment of other weeds. We can't allow the maples to grow here because they'd destroy the bulkhead. We dug down deep to remove all the roots. Much of the soil from the bottom was pure, slimy clay. We could have made some pretty pottery with its natural colors of tan, yellow, and orange, but we put it to better use...

The cement chunks are in place. We smeared clay over the cement to seal the area.
We used the clay to seal the bottom of the bed, then we added several loads of soil, then the plants, and finally, a layer of wood chips.

We added several loads of soil. I replanted the cannas, added some ferns that had been growing in the bulkhead, and added some goldenrods.
We'll keep a closer eye on it to make sure it doesn't slump and that new maple trees are not allowed to grow here. Note the rounded edge of the lawn so my husband can mow by moving forward in here with the John Deere and then backing out--no weeds to trim.
Chinese cabbage salad with sunflower seeds as garnish.

It's our salad days

Chinese cabbage salad created with harvests from the garden including cabbage, parsley, meadow garlic, onion with its greens, come-again broccoli, carrots, sugarsnap peas, and rosemary. Also included are ramen noodles (soaked in hot water until they are soft and then drained), celery, green olives, and oils (olive & sesame), cider vinegar, and lemon juice. Sunflower seeds are sprinkled on top. Yummy.

Busting the old gardeners' tales...

Busting old gardeners' tales

I'm astounded that people come up with nonsense and sell it to people as some new and unexpected finding. These two were on Facebook and by reading the original explanations and the resulting comments, people seem so grateful for this crap.

For the plant cucumbers with sunflowers myth, I posted this:
"Plant sunflowers in your landscape to attract pollinators, as a crop, and for their beauty, but don't plant them near anything you care about. Sunflower are allelopathic! They emit herbicidal chemicals that inhibit or kill nearby plants. (If you have a bird feeder where you use sunflowers, you've probably noticed a lack of growth where the hulls fall.) Use spent sunflower stalks for path mulch where you don't want stuff to grow."
Busting the old gardeners' tales...
For the photo showing the difference between "male" and "female" peppers, I posted this:
"Don't fall for this baloney! There are no genders of bell pepper fruits. A fruit is never assigned a gender. Many peppers are F1 hybrids and may not have any seeds, because differences in the parents' genes, but that doesn't make them a male fruit."

My article in The Oakleaf was on page 17, but the link is no longer available.

A tickseed coreopsis seedling in the lawn. I dug it out
and put in with some of its kin.

Treasures in our
"Freedom Lawn"

Our lawn has been free of poisons and fertilizer since 2004. As a result, we have many types of plants growing in the areas we mow. We mow what grows and our lawn is just as green as our neighbors' expensive poisoned and fertilized lawns except in the winter when we let it go dormant--it's still green but not as green as those who overseed with winter rye.

This year I've dug out several of the largest blue-eyed grass plants and I dug out some of the tickseed coreopsis plants and planted them in beds where I wanted some color. If I had left them in the lawn, they would not have a chance to put on a show. I fill in the divots with compost so the lawn stays relatively even.

I hope you are finding spring treasures to enjoy.

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt

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