The storm warnings were out for several hours. The storm gust came first, that blast of cold air. Now the rain is coming down, pouring tons of usable nitrogen on the plants below.
Earlier a reader had a series of questions about lawns.
Weed control works this way for a pleasant lawn -
1. Cut the lawn high but often. That shades the weeds with dense growth, weakens them, and keeps them from seeding.
2. Use a mulching lawnmower when possible, because that will feed the fragments back into the soil, and chopped weeds are just as good as lawn clippings. Do not catch grass clippings or rake them up.
3. Stop using weed killers, fertilizers, and pesticides. All three kill the microbial life that makes the soil healthy. Fertilizer makes the lawn demand more water, and overwatering can cause problems.
4. Inorganic fertilizers only green up the lawn a little before doing its damage and moving downward into the water table. Those fertilizer salts kill soil life rather than supporting it.
5. Buy red wiggler earthworms and place them around the yard. When dropped on the soil in sunlight, they burrow under immediately. They reproduce rapidly if allowed, that is if organic matter is left on top - no toxins are used.
6. Earthworms also support birds, who attack the insect pests, often before they hatch. A grackle will use its powerful beak to poke into the soil for grubs.
|Click here for Uncle Jim's Worm Farm|
When I ordered 2,000 red wigglers, they came late. I wrote to Uncle Jim's and they sent a new order immediately. The delayed order arrived and the replacement soon after. Speed is important because earthworms dry out fast. I had plenty to scatter in the front and back yards. Next I mulched all future gardening places so the worms would develop underneath the blanket of newspapers and wood mulch.
As I told the reader who gardens, "Every time I lifted a clod of soil this spring, earthworms bailed out like the 101st Airborne Division." I can renew other yards by giving them samples.
|Almost Eden Gardens and Nursery|
3366 Elm Springs Road, Springdale, Arkansas
Today Sassy and I walked across our so-called park, at the end of the cul-de-sac. A lot of gardening activity started last year and increased over the winter. I was sure this was a commercial operation, so we checked it out just in time to meet the owner, Derek. His wife was also working.
The name is Almost Eden Gardens and Nursery - Garden Center and Nursery
I love this neighborhood. We talked mulching raising fruit. His truck was full of leaves he gathered around the neighborhood when people put bags of them outside to be picked up.
Didja read that, Little Ichabod? You used to duck down in the car when I did that in Midland, Michigan. I wanted those leaves for compost.
LI says that I put a shovel into every place we live and leave behind flowers.
Watering Before the Storm
I was watering with rainwater before the storm. Some of my favorite plants get extra doses of nitrogen and water that way. The closest rose to the rainbarrel gets extra rainwater, because I am in danger of overflowing one barrel. That rose is also the most advanced already.
Storms here often blow by north or south, so it does not hurt to give some plants a boost. I saw that my wild strawberry transplant under the dead tree was looking pale, so I gave that extra water. The honeysuckle vine looks vibrant, so I watered it more.
Mulch helps the soil drain better by encouraging soil creature activity. They absorb and move moisture around while creating new channels. Fungi also move water, so moist soil is fungi building and especially healthy.
I expect the Knockout Roses to bloom very soon. They bud and bloom fast. Hybrid tea roses will bud slowly, develop the bud slowly, and bloom in a leisurely fashion. I read yesterday that blooming more than once a summer was an innovation.
Our next two projects are to mulch the new roses in the front yard and create a mulched area for the Creature Convention Center and Spa.
The convention center will be a welcoming area with multiple baths, multiple levels, a toad pond, and window screening for seeds. If I place the seed on window screen material, the food can dry out easily.
The original Jackson Bird Spa has worked very well, except Mr. Gardener recognized his garbage can lid that blew into my yard. He reclaimed it and I lost my best, free pond liner. I did not realize he used it to keep the burn barrel dry and said, "I did not know how to go from door to door asking about a lost garbage can lid."
We often have long talks over the fence about gardening and the economy. He loves the rose garden I set up for his wife to enjoy. It was not much work, fun to install, and promises great color. I will have pure white roses alternating with red Mr. Lincolns, much like the front garden.