Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Gardening practices I abhor

First off, a big thank you to my loyal reader who reminded me to write.  I really need to get better at that.

I just came back from a walk around my neighborhood with camera in hand to show you some of my biggest pet peeves in gardens.  This is a full blown rant, inspired by my favorite gardening blog, and this blog post I read today:

1. Make compost, People!
The photo above shows the pile of black plastic garbage bags at a house up the street, all filled with leaves and last year's mulch.  I couldn't count them all but I estimate that there are approximately 50 bags in that pile.  The village will pick them up and supposedly compost them (although I've never found the compost pile, only the pile of woodchips they make.)  But they will happily pick up just a pile of leaves; they don't need to be bagged.  These are people who consider themselves gardeners and definitely do not have any kind of space constraints that would prohibit a compost pile.  Personally, I don't believe anyone is really a gardener if they don't compost.

2. Stop strangling your trees.
Everyone seems to think that trees can't stand up on their own.  But the truth is that if they are properly planted they will do much better if they are not staked.  Staking prevents the tree trunk from developing the strength to stand up against wind.  Also those wires often damage the bark and if left on too long, which often happens, will girdle the tree.  So how do you properly plant a tree?  Remove the burlap or wire wrapping the root ball.  I even recommend removing all soil from the root ball as well.  Roots will develop better if there is no difference in the soil it is planted in.  Dig a hole twice as wide and deeper than the size of the root ball or pot the tree is in.  Don't amend the backfill and water well making sure there are no air pockets beneath or between the roots.

3. Don't form a mound around the base of your tree trunks.
This example is also shown in the photo showing the staked tree although you can't see it clearly.  Mounding up mulch around the base of a tree is a bad idea for a couple reasons.  First, it encourages rot and insect damage to enter the bark of the tree which should only be exposed to air.  Second, it causes water to funnel out away from the tree, and this is especially detrimental to young, newly planted trees.

4. Red mulch is wicked ugly!
Not only is it ugly but it is artificially dyed.  I don't know what they use to dye it that red color.  I tried to google it but only found a company that would sell you the dye so you can dye your own mulch.  They say it is all natural but who knows what that means.  I also found a reference saying that red mulch is better at keeping weeds down than other mulches.  Hmm, wonder why that it.  I believe that red mulch also inhibits the growth of the plants you want to thrive.

Actually, I don't mulch at all, except with compost when I have enough.  I rely on reseeding annuals in my gardens and mulching would prevent them from growing.  Oh wait, I do mulch with straw in the veggie garden.

5. Why, oh why do you use pesticides?  
Don't those warning signs give you a freakin' clue?  I have nothing more to say about this or I might start frothing at the mouth.


Play Hard said...

nice read
keep going

Tusker said...

WOW your garden is BIG. Love your tulips. MY DD just planted a new tree last weekend. I'll have to see if she has it staked and let her know what you've said. Thanks.

JumpinJude said...

I love your garden, Snowy! So, now, did your neighbors catch you snappin' pics at their nasty practices? Love it, love it! BTW, I promise you none of our baby trees are staked. It's survival of the fittest at our house, baby!