Chronicles of a Noob Garden and Gardener

flowerbug

Garden Addicted
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
7,046
Reaction score
5,537
Points
297
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
...
It really is. They ride the school bus home every day and get here at 2:45pm. I try to keep 2:45-3:00pm meeting-free so I can at least greet them, but on days where I have to work with a client during that time, it's not a huge deal because the older daughter is mature enough to be trusted to fix after-school snacks for her and little sister, make sure both get started on homework, etc. My office hours are 7:30am-4:00pm with a 30-minute lunch, so I'm fully available to them if needed from 4pm on just about every day. My wife and I have talked (well, joked...) about what it would take for me to even consider taking a job where I'd have to go to an office every day, and we're thinking it'd have to be something outrageous like a 40% or better pay increase before I'd even listen.
i retired from IT a long time ago and love being able to do about what i want when i want. i was lucky that i had mostly decent managers and flex time so not too bad for most of it. hard to consider going back to work, but i may sometime eventually. right now gardener is a good enough description to me. :)

enjoy it while you got it. sounds nice.
 

baymule

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2011
Messages
14,095
Reaction score
17,166
Points
427
Location
Northeast Texas
What a great job! What a blessing for you and your family! I remember riding the school bus home with a door key on a string around my neck. Your daughters are blessed beyond words and the beautiful part is, they don't even know it. Cherish these moments!
 

Ben E Lou

Garden Ornament
Joined
Dec 13, 2018
Messages
137
Reaction score
383
Points
97
Location
Greensboro, NC (7b)
62FACFB3-BF14-4A1B-AD31-06991E494915.jpeg


I’ve laid out the cardboard for my walkways, and now I’m waffling on how I want to mulch. Part of me wants to mulch the entire vegetable area and then just dig through the mulch when I plant, but part of me is concerned that the mulch would slow the soil’s warm-up in the spring. I have a contact for enough mulch to cover the whole shebang (including delivery) for $100, so right now I’m leaning toward having him deliver it, cover just the walkways for now, and wait to mulch the growing area until we’ve had a few 80-degree sunny days. Thoughts?
 

flowerbug

Garden Addicted
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
7,046
Reaction score
5,537
Points
297
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
View attachment 30339

I’ve laid out the cardboard for my walkways, and now I’m waffling on how I want to mulch. Part of me wants to mulch the entire vegetable area and then just dig through the mulch when I plant, but part of me is concerned that the mulch would slow the soil’s warm-up in the spring. I have a contact for enough mulch to cover the whole shebang (including delivery) for $100, so right now I’m leaning toward having him deliver it, cover just the walkways for now, and wait to mulch the growing area until we’ve had a few 80-degree sunny days. Thoughts?
sounds good, but as the sayings go, things do vary, your warm weather crops will like the soil warm and the cool weather crops cooler and those in betweeners...

plus i don't mulch any plant right up to the stem until they are well grown and hardy stemmed. most the time i don't have mulch anyways.

i have gotten out of the habit of doing early season cooler weather plantings the past few years because of all the other projects i'm trying to get done before the main warm planting season starts (for us this is towards the end of May and into early June).
 

thistlebloom

Garden Master
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
16,296
Reaction score
16,690
Points
447
Location
North Idaho 48th parallel
My climate is completely different than yours
Ben, and our ground ordinarily freezes pretty deep.
I teach a neighborhood garden class for kids and one of our activities is to take the soil temperature at the beginning of every garden season. We had a deep straw mulch over most of the garden through the winter one year and when we took soil temperatures that season I was surprised to find that the soil under the deep straw was warmer than the unmulched areas. The difference was significant. I suppose it just means that the soil under the straw probably didn't freeze as deeply as the unprotected area.
This will most likely not have anything to do with your garden, but there ya go.
 
Last edited:

Ridgerunner

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,134
Reaction score
6,321
Points
377
Location
Southeast Louisiana Zone 9A
Interesting observation Thistle. :thumbsup

My problem with mulched areas was that they don't dry out as fast. I like leaving mulch on over winter as it keeps weeds and grass from growing in the spring so the area is easier to prepare from that aspect. But if the area is too wet I don't want to try to work it. So I rake the mulch off a little before I'm ready to plant to let it dry out.
 

baymule

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2011
Messages
14,095
Reaction score
17,166
Points
427
Location
Northeast Texas
When I had a smaller garden I covered it in paper feed sacks and cut a hole to put the plant through. Now I have a big 70'x100' garden. Some I just mulch, some I cover in cardboard and mulch over that. Because I already mulched my garden, I just add more. I don't know if the cardboard versus mulched makes any difference in how the temperatures are, never thought to see if the garden had a fever or not. I don't cardboard just the walkways, I cover the whole thing. Where I plant seeds, I don't cardboard, just mulch and compost.

Your garden is looking good.
 

ducks4you

Garden Master
Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
6,493
Reaction score
3,838
Points
377
Location
East Central IL, Was Zone 6, Now...maybe Zone 5
Mulch is insulation. It is a good idea to work your mulch into your garden soil. It is also a good idea to cover this with more mulch. Un-amended soil, which we ALL start with, turns to mud fast and dries to cement fast. ALL of us live on land that has been used by somebody else for 100-300 years, depending on where you live. You don't know if anybody has ferilized with anything there, so assume that Nobody has. Left alone all of our properties would grow tall vegetation, that would die back, That would create mulch and the cycle would continue next year.
https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/gardening-techniques/garden-mulches-zm0z11zhun
By adding mulch where we want it we control where it goes. Remember, you can always use a bag mower in the summer (or rake up if you don't have one) and add that to your garden and that is free (minus the price of the gasoline.) Avoid doing this in August, which is when grass likes to go to seed. Leaves are another free mulch/fertilizer.
As you garden you study what the plants that you want to grow like the best and those conditions that your plants will tolerate. For instance, I love growing geraniums. I have 4 geraniums that I potted up before the freeze, which will kill them left in the ground. They can tolerate drying out by the roots and kept in a cool room, even a garage, then regenerate next spring. They are next to a cold, north facing window in one of upstairs bedrooms, drying out, bc they prefer that to overwatering, and they are all flowering. When I transplant next May, they will get lots more sun and Still flower for me.
Tomatoes would look like death warmed over in those conditions.
I bought a mini rose this winter that was pot bound in a 1 1/2 in wide and deep pot, so I transplanted it (to a 5 inch pot.) It really likes the top of my fridge, even though there isn't much light up there and I used recycled potting soil. Next May I will transplant in full sun and it will continue to flower as it is right now.
Some vegetables put down deep roots. Lettuce grows shallow roots and could really benefit from mulch so the roots don't dry out quickly.
Some people grow other vegetables, other plants and also flowers with their crops. I LOVE nasturtiums bc there are SO easy to grow and they spread out and partly smother weeds. I have studied and read that many people plant nasturtiums with their vegetables. You can eat the flowers, btw and the seeds are dirt cheap, buy them ANYWHERE. Same with marigolds. I am testing my older flower seeds this winter and will be growing as many as possible annual flowers to grow with my vegetables.
https://www.tenthacrefarm.com/flowers-in-the-vegetable-garden/
I have tried direct seeding and didn't have great success, so I am starting all annual flowers inside and transplanting this year.
 
Last edited:

Ben E Lou

Garden Ornament
Joined
Dec 13, 2018
Messages
137
Reaction score
383
Points
97
Location
Greensboro, NC (7b)
  • I grew tired of all the conflicting information about when I could put kale in the ground here, so I just put one of them in there yesterday (1/23). It’s going to be below freezing the next couple of nights. I’ll just see how it does. :)
We've had three straight below-freezing nights with frost, including one that was around 20 degrees, and I'm seeing no sign of damage to the one that's in the ground. Our extension service says that kale can be transplanted on February 15, which is a curious date to me. We’ll get plenty of hard freezes after that date, so what’s the difference between 1/15 and 2/15? On the other hand, the seed packet said to transplant out “just before the last frost.” I’m wondering if the latter is assuming the ground is frozen up until then?


5F8FF5D7-9B06-42D1-BB8F-B68ABB8C5A1E.jpeg
On another note, this dude will deliver for just $15 above the prices listed here. I’m thinking I’ll go with his composted manure for my “mulch” and call it a day:

https://greensboro.craigslist.org/grd/d/madison-start-your-garden-early-best/6793691468.html
 

thistlebloom

Garden Master
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
16,296
Reaction score
16,690
Points
447
Location
North Idaho 48th parallel
$10 a yard for good composted manure isn't a bad deal at all in my opinion.

I paid $30/yard for finished compost + $40 delivery of a 10 yard dump truck.
But it is beautiful and dark. It went on shrub beds and borders for a client and appearance is paramount to them. I couldn't get away with horse manure in that neighborhood, haha.
But I love it (horse poo) and use it here at home. It's a domestic product. ;)
 

Latest posts

Top