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May 05, 2008



Gosh, I remember those Upper Mid-West (Southern Minnesota) springs! Cool in the morning and warm enough to shed your jacket in the early afternoon. Life, by way of marriage and parenthood, somehow took me to the Pacific NW where I struggle stubbornly with my tomato plants, each year trying some newly marketed sure-to-grow product! I think I need to just give in and plant native flowers and plants. Sigh!

Carol Clevenger

I have a Xeroscaped front yard-- weeds, violets, and bluets. Its pretty in the spring and green in August when all the others have brown lawns. I keep the dandelions at bay by hand digging.
I can't physically dig a garden so I set up three container gardens for veggies last year. They work well, but I have to share with thr deer. This year I added a new bed with no digging, I saw and article in the current Mother Earth News. I layed down newspaper directly on the xeroscape, wetted it well and applied a layer of compost. I now have lettuce, spinach, carrots, and squash planted in the compost. I'm anxious to see how it works out. The containers are devoted to strawberries, onions, and beans and peas respectively. I should eat well this season. Still have to share with the deer, though.

Joyce Emery

Carol, impressive work for one who cannot dig. Please let us know how your garden grows.

I read that newspaper-and-compost method too in another place, and used it in a bare spot to improve the soil prior to planting a hedge. It worked so well, I realized if I planted a hedge there I'd lose my ideally located compost pile! For now, I'm keeping it just as a place to compost yard waste and kitchen scraps.

You can use the layers method right on top of established lawn to start a garden too, I understand. Anyone else out there tried it?

Pat Pierce

Yes, I used the newspaper-layers method with much success when we lived in Syracuse, NY. In the shade encircling a large maple tree where grass would not grow, I layered several sheets of newspaper and covered with dirt (no compost). Then put in impatiens (a six-pack) and they grew amazingly well! Now we live in the AZ desert and our yard is (sigh) gravel...desert landscaping/xeriscape gardening. But we do have containers for vegetables and herbs and no deer to worry us.
I definitely think we should bring back Victory gardens.

Carol Clevenger

I am now a little more than two weeks into my no-dig garden project (one bed, 5 by 7 feet). So far, so good. It has been very wet this week and also cold, but my veggies and berries are all looking good. I am told that the roots will penetrate the newspaper and grass to give me a good result.

Carol Clevenger

I couldn't resist doing a little peeking in my "no dig" garden that I started this season. My squash and cukes seem to be doing well. I took a trowel and looked below the newspaper mulch I laid directly on top of the grass. The grass has died as promised and now I want to see if the roots will indeed penetrate the paper, grass, and go down into the underlying soil. I have a scar elsewhere in my yard where I had a water line replaced a year ago. Nothing will grow where top soil has been disturbed. I'll have to cover the soil with compost and then see if I can get something to grow there.

Garry Steen

just stopped in to see your latest posting... Just finishing up on our formal recommendations from the Climate Task Force to the City Council here in Fort Collins, CO but with so many pressing issues on their table, it will be next month at the earliest before Council takes any action.

Anyway, just wanted you to know I'm still chipping away here too...


Joyce Emery

Garry, thanks for the update from Ft. Collins Colorado about your work there. I attended an Ames city council meeting this week and saw how full their agenda is. May your Climate Task Force have much success.

Carol Clevenger

Hey Green Granny! I'm getting worried because you haven't posted anything since the 5th of May. I hope everything is OK. I check daily to see what's new.

Joyce Emery

Carol, you are a great friend. Everything is OK with me. I've been trying to garden during gaps in the rain and spend time with grandchildren getting out of school. Also this is the busiest time of year for the post-retirement work I still do in my professional area of highway safety.

I have a lot of ideas and motivation to write, so you encourage me to get back at it!

Joyce Emery

To the Greengrannies Garden Club: (I just made that up.)
July 1 and time to report on my garden progress.

The row of sunflowers along the back fence are doing okay, but the plants I potted for relocation elsewhere got eaten off...probably rabbits. We also have ground squirrels living under the porch now.

The cherry tomatoes in big pots have yellow leaves and probably have the virus that spoiled them last year. The zucchini plant along the west side of the house is making flowers--no zucchinis yet. The raspberries that survived from plantings we did two years ago are making berries, enough to top two bowls of cereal. The potted herbs are doing well, and I never thought I'd enjoy fresh parsley so much. I've had mixed success at best!

Luckily my daughter's garden has beans, broccoli, tomatoes and onions growing better than weeds, enough to share with us. Which reminds me, my turn to weed it is today. Cheers!

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