by Lolita Aumuller, president of ACG
Below are some highlights from our Garden Design talk on April 25, 2105, by Nancy Moore, Landscape Designer (including the Q&A).
- Avoid walking on, or working with, wet soil.
- Develop pathways to eliminate walking on soil in the growing area. Pathways could be mulched.
- Rototilling is not recommended as it can destroy soil structure.
- Don’t add sand to the soil. Just add compost – a couple of inches a year and multiple sources was recommended.
- Raised beds or mounding soil, can help the soil heat up in spring and aid drainage.
- Have a regular routine to prevent overloading yourself with work.
- Mark your rows and/or have a plan so you know what is where.
- Keep a record of what you planted, where you planted it, and when you planted. You can draw a diagram of your plot to help. Keeping a diary helps you remember what you did from year to year and what was successful, or unsuccessful. It is also good to know for crop rotations.
- Don’t’ plant your garden all at once, to allow vegetables throughout the season. For example, plant a couple feet of lettuce at a time.
- Make sure plants look healthy before you buy them.
- You don’t have to orient plants in a north-south direction but it was recommended to keep taller plants on the north side of your plot to prevent shading of other plants.
- Companion planting has been used for decades/centuries but there is little science behind it. Use common sense.
- If you added compost, there is no need for additional fertilizer. If you have to add fertilizer, remember that it must be organic.
- Weeds: newspaper can be placed over the soil to help reduce weeds but you want a thick layer in home gardens.
- Buttercup: ensure you dig the roots up as well as the plant. If using pickling vinegar, don’t saturate the plant or allow overspray as it will kill all plants. Using pickling vinegar does not affect the roots so the plant will grow back.
- Rabbits: control is best with fencing but it has to be tall as the rabbits can jump quite high. There are some plants like garlic, marigolds, and lavender that repel rabbits but they have to be planted close together.
- Slugs: a good slug control is copper. You can unravel a copper scouring pad and place it around the base of the plant. Be careful to purchase true copper scouring pads and not just copper colored ones.
- Voles: like root vegetables and are best deterred with physical barriers. A couple layers of mesh under the soil works well (or around the edge of your garden). Ensure that the mess spacing is close as the voles can be small.
- Row covers improve help keep plants warm and provide protection against some pests, while allowing moisture in. It is necessary to take it off when the plant is grown and it is important to seal it in the soil (otherwise crawlers can sneak under). Many row covers can be washed and reused.
- Pea netting works well until you want to remove it. Untangling the plant from the netting can be difficult.