Digging Dirt

Winter beds @home LAH 7Ahh, March. Snow is still quite likely, but on some days our intense, high elevation sunshine beckons me into the garden. There, I’m greeted by one of my favorite smells—the aroma of humus-laden soil. The ground is no longer frozen. Let the growing season begin!

I’ve had my current garden for twenty years now. In that time, I have never stepped on the soil in my boxed beds. After an initial double-digging, the soil remains uncompacted, perfect for planting. Additionally, a soil test last year showed that I have plenty of humus—too much, actually—so I don’t even need to add compost for a while. Aside from adding a side-dressing of nitrogen, I won’t have to dig this year.

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Planting Done Right: Part 2

Trees

tilia-x-europaea-linden-cc-2003jul06-lah-003Today is Arbor Day, the traditional day for planting trees. Most of us treasure trees. Planting one is an act of faith, something we do for our children, and perhaps our grandchildren. Sadly, thousands of our nation’s trees now reaching maturity are destined to an early death. They were doomed the day they were planted.

Gardening practices have changed over the years. The days of digging a huge hole for a new tree are over. Research has shown that planting a tree too deeply is a sure recipe for trouble.

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Planting Done Right: Part 1

Shrubs, Perennials and Ornamental Grasses

plants-for-sale-lowes-cs_2008aug02_lah_5106-1It’s spring. I’ve been digging in the garden—at least between snow storms. My back muscles (and knees and shoulders) ache, there’s dirt under my broken fingernails, and a huge smile on my face. In fact, there’s dirt in my teeth—I’ve been pulling weeds and shaking the soil off their roots before piling them into the compost bucket, and I keep forgetting to close my lips.

One of the joys of spring is adding new plants to our garden. What gardener can resist the dazzling displays at the garden center? Forgetting about budgets and the size of our yards, we load up the cart. Then we get home and the work begins. It’s time to start digging holes.

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