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Organic Gardening Blogs

Chosen as one of the Top 30 Organic Gardening Blogs – March 2018

Why Mulch Your Garden Paths?

This post was inspired by a reader of my site who has recently invested some time in preparing a new garden bed.  Her sister-in-law is doing the same and they had a question regarding a recommendation I made in the second part of the post Soil Preparation – 1st Key to Soil Improvement.

In preparing a new bed I advised adding about 3 feet to each side of the area designated for the bed and dig that at the same time you dig the bed.  The soil from the path area would be thrown up on the bed leaving the paths much lower than the bed.  I then recommended mulching the paths as well as the bed.

(Picture below shows my new roll of straw.  I try to keep one on hand all the time.)

My reader writes:
“My sister-in law was wondering —and I got stumped a bit— as to why it is important to mulch the paths.  ———I guessed that since you use the path dirt to raise the bed, old weed seeds get exposed.  Mulching the paths helps keep the weeds down and keeps them from seeding into your beds.—”

She’s correct of course.  When you dig up ground —– buried weed seeds are exposed and therefore can germinate. Mulching the paths keeps the weeds down and/or controllable.

The nearer weeds grow to your garden beds the greater the chance they’ll re-seed in your bed.  Even if you’re diligent in removing them ——life is life —–and in all probability sooner or later you are going to have some weeds grow and go to seed in your beds.  Much less chance of this happening with mulch on the paths.

There are other important reasons to mulch —–read more—-

Sweet Woodruff

May 4

I guess it was at least 25 years ago that a friend gave me Sweet Woodruff.

Herbs and dried flowers were her passion and she propagated and raised them for market.  She also dried them for market and the great room in her home was filled with dried herb bouquets hanging from the rafters. In addition, there were hundreds of beautiful straw flowers with wire stems held in porous blocks.

Hilda taught me just about everything I know about herbs and that training has added so much to my gardens and my life.

Since our area has its roots in colonial times, many people who grow herbs here plant formal herb gardens.  That has never been my choice, as I prefer to mix the herbs among other perennials and plants.

I remember Hilda’s gift of Sweet Woodruff and even where she suggested I plant it.  It never did especially well for me, but I managed to keep it going although sparsely.

When we first moved here, the area in our back yard that we now refer to as the tree bed had 4 large trees, hundreds of old crushed crab pots, old engine blocks, a iron fence, lots of other trash —–read more—-

Mulching Your Fruits, Vegetables, and Perennials


April 10

Some folks have told me they don’t have an understanding of how to mulch certain vegetable beds.  They reason that the newly emerged vegetables will be mashed by the mulch.

Using crops that are currently planted in my garden (or will be soon) as examples below, I’ve been more specific about just —–read more—-

Contained Raised Beds? NO WAY!

I see contained raised beds in magazines that are showing off someone’s beautifully laid out garden. Some are quite elaborate and look lovely. The walled raised beds used in landscaping (for example to control erosion on a hill) make a great improvement to the property and if one can afford the expense and labor in constructing them they should last for a long time.

Our framer of years past (my husband is an artist) had a stone wall that enclosed a flower bed. She had an infestation of copperhead snakes —–read more—-

10 Reasons to Mulch

March 18

Its only when the ground is frozen solid or snow is on the ground that I can’t really do anything in the garden and yard — except maybe peek at the lettuce under the cold frame.  This past February was such a month, so I lost almost an entire month of enjoying my yard and garden.

Fortunately most Virginia winters are such that I can accomplish a lot outside and get a jump on things before green growth takes over.  For me anywhere from 40 to 60 degrees is perfect for working outside.

In January this year I cut the ornamental grasses (I usually wait until March), and cut back some leather leafs and variegated shrubs that we use as a hedge along the side of the property that had grown about 10 to 15 feet tall. The mocking birds and thrashers loved them and were becoming quite prolific.  Both are aggressive birds and —–read more—-