Mother’s Day is this weekend, have you gotten her something special? Planning a special outing? If you are still struggling with what to do, here are a few suggestions from The Mossy Tree Crew!
Saturday, I spent the day shoveling the last of the snow out of my garden bed, and spreading it out so it would melt away. (Spring Fever!) I also took that time to clean out my beds of the last few leaves and prune the damaged limbs from the shrubs. It was great getting those things done, but I am most excited about getting my garden and borders mulched. It always looks so complete, and it will pay off big time in the season ahead.
Top 10 Reasons We Mulch at The Mossy Tree
1. Weed control. You’ll still get a few weeds that you can pull when you go by, but NOTHING compared to what you get when there is no mulch. Bare ground without mulch will work you silly trying to control weeds.
2. Protection from the elements. Rain will compact bare soil. Sun then bakes it. The result is not the best environment for plants.
3. Prevents erosion. You sure don’t want all that good soil running off somewhere else with the rain.
4. Improves the soil. As mulch breaks down it improves the soil texture by adding organic matter. (This is how
easy it is to improve soil!)
5. Helps maintain moisture in dry weather.
6. Can keep warmth in the soil over winter. Mulched beds won’t freeze as readily as un-mulched beds.
7. Keeps the soil cooler in summer heat.
8. Looks nicer.
9. Saves time. I think this is best reason of all. It saves you tons of time on garden chores you will never have to do!
That bears repeating: It saves you tons of time on garden chores you will never have to do!
And the best time to Mulch is Spring!
So you just discovered that those cute furry little things are the ones wreaking havoc on your landscapes! Now, how to identify and eliminate!
We’re talking voles, NOT moles. Voles are small rodents similar to field mice. They have small rounded ears, small eyes, and short tails. You’ll know voles by the snake-like tunnels that you’ll see all over your lawn. They’re very active in the spring and then their manic tunneling subsides.
Voles love fields with lots of weeds and coverage. They are active both day and night, especially evening and early morning hours. They love to burrow underground and will eat bulbs and root vegetables. If you have partially eaten carrots, potatoes, etc., you may have a vole problem. They also nest at the base of trees and shrubs which can cause damage to the roots, especially as they tend to chew the bark. As the snow melts, we are seeing lots of vole damage in our shrubs.
Step 2: Eliminate
1) Make your yard inhospitable to voles! Cut back brush, mow, weed, and create a clean space.
2) Live traps near vole runways or the nesting sites at the base of trees and shrubs. Bait traps with peanut butter and set baits midday to early evening when voles get more active. Relocate voles to a faraway field. The success to trapping is persistence.
4) Protect a garden by fencing the area with a half-inch of mesh, at least 12 inches above the ground and buried 6 to 10 inches deep.
5) Add gravel to the planting hole surrounding the bulbs. When you plant bulbs, drench or powder them with a fungicide to discourage voles.
6) The best control method: an outdoor cat.
Even though the snow is still blowing and the temperatures are keeping us huddled around the fireplace, now is the time to start planning your gardens. Here are a few New Year’s Resolutions I would recommend for the Gardener.
The Gardeners New Year’s Resolutions
1) Reduce Footprint
- Limit chemicals in your garden and using eco-friendly supplies.
- Instead of reaching for an herbicide, weed!
- Don’t shower your plants with Miracle Grow, plant in Jacob’s Premier Planting Mix to help establish and maintain healthy plants.
- If your plants need a little boost, we love SuperThrive.
- 40 percent of average household water usage is in the garden.
- Grow drought-tolerant plants such as these favorites:
- Every time it rains, save water in a rain barrel.
3) Attract Pollinators
- Welcome birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators into your garden.
- Avoid chemicals in the garden, and plant herbs and flowers to attract these important garden visitors.
- Consider poppies, sunflowers, lavenders, herbs and other flowering plants, which are beloved by many pollinators.
- Native plants are great at attracting helpful pollinators too.
Nothing tastes better than homegrown food, and you can’t beat the health benefits of freshly picked vegetables and fruits.
- Growing your own edibles lets you know exactly where your food originated.
- Involving your children in kitchen gardens, help ensure they enjoy eating these foods later in the dining room. Kids who grow their own foods love snacking from the garden.
- Have a large surplus? A wonderful way to share your harvest with those in need.
- Work smarter, not harder. Instead of running back and forth for tools, bring them with you. I like the Garden Bucket Caddy, because it attaches easily to a plastic tub for weeds. I use it to carry my gardening essentials, and sometimes a note pad, cell phone or sunscreen.
- You can reduce those weeds from popping up later in the garden by mulching well early in the season.
- Instead of watering everything by hand, set up drip lines and soaker hoses that save money, time and water.
6) Select Easy-Care Plants
- Pick drought tolerant plants that require less work.
- Ask local gardening center or master gardeners for easy-care plant recommendations for your area.
- Avoid invasive plants that will cause future problems.
- Native plants that flourish in your region and support your local ecosystem.
7) Resolve to sit in your garden once a week
- Plan a date with your favorite person or your favorite libation and make it happen weekly. It’s the best way to enjoy the garden and the best way to keep an eye on things.
- The first step to having a healthy garden is building healthy soil.
- Composting your yard and kitchen waste will save trash from landfills, while creating one of the best soil amendment products you can find.
- Don’t throw away all that potential garden gold and make some magic that will keep your garden happy and healthy.
9) Out with the tired …
- Tackle the trouble spot rather than putting up with it for another year.
- Rip out that under-performing shrub. Replace that tired old crab apple.
- Cruise the winter catalogs and magazines for some new ideas.
- Gardening is all about sharing — plants, ideas, tried-and-true tricks and more.
- Divide that treasured perennial and pass it along to a friend or neighbor.
- Save seeds, they make a wonderful spring gift!
Happy gardening new year!