garden no-no’s (part 2)

I CAN SEE this blog is indeed becoming a list of rules and to-do’s (or not to-do’s), as predicted, so let’s continue the thread we started last week together. “You and your garden rules,” one of you chided in response…but then chimed in with some of his own, pot calling kettle black. Let’s continue now: What are your garden no-no’s? I’ve added these to my list since we last spoke: Synthetic weed-block fabric: Use recycled cardboard or thick layers of newspaper under mulch to slow the weeds. That nasty stuff is made of nasty stuff, and you’ll never get it out of the ground again; don’t incorporate it into your garden. Automatic sprinkler systems that nobody adjusts when sprinkling isn’t needed. They are not artificial intelligence; human judgment still required. I think I agree with all the ones on the previous string of comments (especially my ideas, of course).

  1. GardenGuyKenn says:

    I’ve added to my list a ‘super lawn patch’ product that is shown on television. It is suppose to give you a lush, green lawn within days. It’s loaded with chemicals. If you’re counting chemicals, count this one out!

  2. M&Co says:

    I haven’t got that many real no-no’s for my garden. I try to keep the chemicals to a minimum, I’ll never have plastic ornaments in my garden, and I hate bright colored garden equipment! If I had the money I’d change everything to beautiful quality English or French made garden equipment, but as for now I try to get the ones with least intrusive colors when something needs replacing ;-)

  3. margaret says:

    Dear Miss Chestnuts,
    Welcome to A Way to Garden.
    You have made quite a resolve to be more conscious. Frankly, I hate power tools, too, most of all the weed whackers and high-pitched ones like that. Even if not for the wastefulness, the noise pollution does me in.
    I do mow (once a week near the house, every other or so in the “outer” areas) but I edge by hand, rake by hand, etc. I used to till but I have read that the soil is less depleted if you don’t do it so often, so I loaned it to a friend a year or two ago and haven’t seen that machine since!

  4. Miss Chestnuts says:

    My newest no-no (new this year) is not to burn fossil fuels in the furtherance of my gardening endeavors. For example, it is better to have less well-tilled soil than to run the gas-powered rototiller. It is better to have ugly lawn than to use a thatcher that burns gas, etc. Asparagus beds laden with last years dried out overgrown stalks is preferable to running the weed whacker or DR Mowever over the beds. My garden will probably look crummy as a result but my conscience will feel better!

  5. GardenGuyKenn says:

    Might I add another no-no? Having a most wonderful partner with small rake in hand trying to be helpful cleaning out some debris from a garden bed and snapping off the tops of several emerging lily plants. Partners with hand rakes need proper training before being helpful! But, you love them anyway!

  6. mss @ Zanthan Gardens says:

    Kathy Purdy @ Cold Climate Gardening turned me on to your blog.

    As a recent convert to weed block fabric, I’ll begin my first comment being disagreeable. I think the biggest problem with any set of rules is that we want to apply them universally–and every garden has different challenges.

    I do use cardboard and paper grocery bags (before I began using recyclable ones) under my mulch but in our hot, humid south they break down quickly. My garden is filled with shallow rooted trees that love any mulch I put down. After years of fighting tree roots and clay, I’ve started using weed block fabric in every new bed and am very happy with it. My plants seem to be much happier, too, now that they don’t have to compete with tree roots.

  7. margaret says:

    Dear MSS,
    Welcome to A Way to Garden. And feel free to be disagreeable…even my oldest, closest gardening friends and I all do things a little differently, each fashioning that personal blend of art and science called a garden.

  8. plantpig says:

    MSS – So you really think it’s such a hot idea to cover your garden with spunbond polyester? The stuff is great as row cover to protect against frost and keep bugs at bay in the veg, but wrapping the earth with it does not seem like a ‘good thing’ It never breaks down. It’s there forever strangling your plants. It rears it’s ugly head every time things shift or the wind blows the mulch around.

  9. Mary Beth says:

    Plastic weed blocker is my garden no-no. Years ago, I visited Lanai, Hawaii, the island that used to be owned by Dole. I guess they had laid black plastic weed blocker in the fields. The fields were long abandoned – but that black weed blocker remained – and was oh, so ugly in and otherwise Eden-esque area.

  10. margaret says:

    Welcome to A Way to Garden, Mary Beth. I just enjoyed a trip to your blog, Cultivating Paradise, and was especially thrilled to read the popular recent post about what I consider a garden yes-yes: taking other people’s bagged leaves from the curb, http://cultivatingparadise.blogspot.com/2008/04/so-just-what-is-etiquette-for-picking.html.
    So now I know that you and I agree on two things: Say no to weed-block fabric, say yes to leaves any way we can get them. (Sorry that link, which seems to work just fine, looks so awful. Put fixing it on the list of the 11,487 things I have to learn to do with my new blogging software…after I go gather some more leaves, that is.)

  11. Megan says:

    You are right, but I wish I’d realized it sooner. I’ve been fighting several invasive weeds for years, and a couple years ago, the weed block fabric seemed like the solution. Now I’m constantly regretting it, trying to fish it out so I can plant new things, realizing I’ve accidentally planted on top of it and losing precious plants. What have I done? And the worst part is, the second I pull it up, the roots of the weeds I was trying to eradicate are still sitting there, ready to go. Yes, newspaper. That’s exactly what I should be doing.

  12. margaret says:

    Welcome, Megan.
    Amazing what opportunists the weeds are, even after being sealed under spun-bond polyester for years. Yes, newspaper or corrugated cardboard. Thick layers. Moisten it, weight it down w/stones or “hairpins” like those “earth staples” they sell for securing floating row cover, or make your own from old coat hangers.

  13. Philip says:

    Well, my only garden no no is a funny one,at least to me. I have to hold back and not plant too many flowers in the vegetable patch!

  14. Karen T says:

    Our single garden rule has always been “no gnomes.” And I completely agree about the landscape cloth and the powered tools when old-fashioned hand tools will do.

    We did, however, break down last year and buy a leaf blower-bagger. It is electric and it is surprisingly quiet (and it is fantastic), but I still feel guilty about it because I’ve said for years that leaf blowers should be illegal.

  15. Ben says:

    Oh no, weed blocking paper! I moved into a new house this spring, and a former owner must have loved this stuff. It doesn’t work: weeds grow through it, but irises and fun stuff doesn’t (don’t know how long the stuff has been down). So it breaks down enough to not function the way it’s supposed to, but not to the point that it’s easy to remove. I use newspaper and mulch and am fine that I’ll need to revisit it again next year.

  16. margaret says:

    Welcome, Rose Paul. Yes…good point. I hate clippings in the beds and piled up in wads on the lawns, too. Thanks for sharing, and come back soon.

  17. Rose Paul says:

    Dear Margaret,

    I am a landscaper in Vermont. I have many great clients, some of which I have had for 10 years or more. A huge annoyance to myself and these clients is lawn mowing companies. Do these guys not know what a bagger is? Or how to mow with out shooting all of the grass into the freshly edged and mulched beds? I have pointed this out to many mowers. They just act like I am the biggest garden b—–! They just continue to ride 100 miles an hour and make a mess!

  18. Karen says:

    Well, as I was driving home today near Atlanta, GA., I saw that it’s starting to happen again…..CREPE MURDER! A no-no I neglected to mention earlier…when people chop off their crepe myrtles to make them look like hat racks…YUCK! Yes, they should be pruned but not in this manner, please!

  19. Cynthia Kling says:

    Rose Gardens – most of the summer they are flowerless and look like rebar plants. Also: any kind of garden tags because makes the garden look like a cemetary.

  20. Joyce says:

    …speaking of looking like a cemetery — when I first decided to garden (30 yrs. ago) I bought 3 pots of mums (what did I know?) and planted them in a perfectly bare bed that was newly prepared. It was October, and the more I looked at those mums the more I realized that the headstones were missing, so I bought the Halloween plastic ones. Perfect!

  21. Stephen Andrew says:

    I don’t think I’ve seen anyone say this and I’m surprised! Dirty bird feeders/stagnant water in bird baths. I feel if you are hoping to enjoy wildlife in man-made creations it is also your responsibility to maintain those devices to keep the birds healthy. Dump dirty water, clean the basin, refill!

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