Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

Garden fun in the cold

Posted Saturday, January 5, 2008, at 10:10 PM
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  • I need to visit you since you know what 'weeds' are what. If your wife has a hard time falling asleep, make her a cup of tea with that catnip she calls a useless weed. It's actually quite relaxing to humans.

    -- Posted by craftin_mom on Sun, Jan 6, 2008, at 12:32 AM
  • I'd appreciate any reccommendations for 'opportunistic' plants that would be safe around critters.

    My dogs are prone to dig so I'm reluctant to try and create a showplace or grow a lot of our foodstuffs.

    I think my neighbors would like it if my yard didn't look like the surface of Mars.

    -- Posted by quantumcat on Sun, Jan 6, 2008, at 5:00 AM
  • I WISH I knew all the weeds! Deb does not dislike the catnip. She just could not believe I was saving some of it when it comes up all over the place. Tea sounds good for me, she can sleep just about anywhere.

    Most weeds don't bother me. They can give me indications of the soil properties, bring up good minerals from deep in the soil, cover areas that are hard to grow other plants, and make great compost. They kept our lawn green this summer during the height of the drought.

    But the grasses that multiply from runners and pieces of root drive me up the wall. I am sure that even they have value, (like in my lawn) but they really harass me in the garden! Trying to stop this organically has been a true challenge, but I understand even chemical methods are only temporary as well.

    I cringe when I think of how many babies I created yesterday with my tilling. If it does not rain today (but rain would be good), I will try to rake as much of the little buggers out of the soil that I can.

    For a garden bed that you do not intend to re-dig, you might consider using chicken wire just under the mulch. The dogs get to the wire and then find places easier to dig. If they are obsessive, they could hurt their paws, so try it in a small garden first.

    Sprinkling the bed with cayenne pepper can also deter but it has to be reapplied a number of times before they decide somewhere else looks good.

    Fencing will also stop most dogs, but some may try to dig under. I wish I could train ours to go after that insidious grass.

    I have never tried it but you might consider a pile of mulch or soft dirt just for them. Much like a child's sandbox. Of course, expect cats to like it too!

    As far as opportunistic plants, watch out what you ask for. To get double value, you might try some herbs. They can be aggressive and thrive in hard to grow areas. While I love them, I am not an expert on them so maybe some of our other bloggers can offer more insight.

    I had to eliminate costmary but will bring it back again. (under better control) It has also been called "Bible Leaf" because of its' use between bible pages as a marker and a rejuvenate. Garlic chives have done well, catnip, mints, and sweet annie, are a few others up here on the hill.

    We have been planting wildflowers strips between vegetable beds to attract beneficial insects. The more they are acclimated to this area, the more they will re-seed or propagate on their own. Luckily last year I introduced some with very low water requirements from the Southwest.

    Strawberries can be aggressive, provide a nice bed cover and if using a variety that is day-neutral, you can get berries for many months out of the year.

    Rosalind Creasy is a well-known author on using edible landscaping. Doing some research in this area will give you MANY ideas.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Jan 6, 2008, at 9:52 AM
  • Thank you so very much!

    It'd be terrific having a beautiful,safe and productive yard-even if the exterior wildlife ate more of it than those of us who live indoors.

    I followed a few links after I googled Ms.Creasy and was surprised by the reminder that apple,cherry,peach,pear and plum trees can be toxic to pets.

    (I'd already banned almonds,most bulb plants,wisteria,foxglove,azaleas,caladiums,aloe vera,castor beans,cocoa mulch,etc.)

    I think I'll firm up the idea of which areas are for humans and which are for the rest of the family.

    Chicken wire,clover,Bermuda grass and hardscape,here I come!

    -- Posted by quantumcat on Mon, Jan 7, 2008, at 10:04 AM
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