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Postby Goldens » May 19, 2011 9:33 am

Every year I get jazzed about gardening and every year I end up throwing in the spade. I feel so overwhelmed with the basics that I can't make any headway.

A gardener must have lived here at some time because there are already pernennials in place front and back (peonies, lillies, bleeding heart shrub...)., I'm a perennial fan so I'm pleased to have them.

Keep in mind I'm a beginner (obviously), Here are the issues that keep cropping up (pun intended) :)

1) There are a lot of stones, gravel, small rocks in areas of the yard. Weeds and grass grow in amongst them and it is almost impossible to get rid of them. The ground is like cement so at best, all I can do is pull out the tops which is useless since the roots of the weeds are still there. I live in a rental property so I can't do major landscaping. How do I weed in areas like this effectively? I don't want to use weed killer because I have pets (a Golden and three cats).

2) I want to dig out the existing beds, dispose of the weed laden soil and replace it with good stuff. But I end up with a huge, heavy pile or bags of sod that I can't lift and how do I dispose of it? Even if I borrowed a truck, I could never lift that sod into the back. I don't want to dump it in another end of the yard because I'll just be moving the problem.

3) I have a landscaping/gardening plan with my plants alloted to certain spots according to the sun direction etc. I've attended several gardening workshops and read lots of books. I'm not afraid of hard work. But I look around at the front and back yards and I just feel so completely overwhelmed I don't know where to start. I end up buying some kitchen herbs and perennial container plants (that never come back), putting them here and there and starting all over the next year. I can't seem to make any headway at all.

Any suggestions on any or all of these issues would be appreciated! I'm starting to refer to myself as a psuedo-gardener because the reality never comes together.!
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Re: Overwhelmed...again

Postby Eeyore » May 19, 2011 10:15 am

Hi and welcome!
My advice is to pick ONE area to concentrate on at a time. Do only the basics in the other areas but concentrate your major efforts and budget to one area. To remove the old soil, rent the truck and shovel the soil directly into the truck or a wheelbarrow and wheel it up a ramp into the truck and then take it to your local landfill. If there are no contaminants in it you may not have to pay a disposal fee.
AB, Zone 3A
“Those who say it can't be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.” ` James Arthur Baldwin"
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Re: Overwhelmed...again

Postby CdnChelsea » May 19, 2011 2:41 pm

I totally agree with Eeyore. When you look at the big picture, gardening is over-whelming. Like Eeyore said, pick one area to work on and finish it. Then move on to the next area. That way, you will see results faster.

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Re: Overwhelmed...again

Postby Elena Zimmerman » May 19, 2011 9:59 pm

I am developping my yard one bed at a time. Here is what I do:

Instead of getting rid of sod in most cases I strip and turn it over, sprinkle liberally with zeiolite, and cover with cardboard and pile up with a foot of compost or top soil or whatever soil mixture that I need for a particular bed to create a raised bed. I edge it with either black plastic liner of drive in, or slope it off and mulch an then board with the boulders I collect one by one at the construction sites and wherever I see one. I do use weed killer on grass along the bed edges.

If I DO need to get rid of sod (circle for the tree or shrub), I cut them in small pieces - about 1 sq. foot, pile them in the garage, and leave two to five begs every week for the garbage collectors :)

Hope that helps!
Gardening in Calgary, AB, Zone 3, Chinook conditions
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Re: Overwhelmed...again

Postby dogmatique » May 22, 2011 12:22 am

I hear you loud and clear and can relate. With regards to your first item. If you fill up a sprayer with vinegar and a dab of dish soap, you can spray the weeds that come up between the rocks and gravel. You need to do this three days in a row when it is sunny. It works great and is not a problem for our four legged friends.

I have a fairly big garden. I do a really good weeding , lay down cardboard around my perennials and then top with bark mulch or even straw. I go to furniture stores and load up. You can even use newspapers if you have lots. It looks a bit silly until it is all covered. This really helps keep the weeds in check.. Weeding is a ok activity once this is done. I am working in one bed right now, the weeds are really hard to get out cause it is clay. I've spent three days so far and am seeing progress. I'm also seeing how and where to plant so that there aren't so many holes.
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Re: Overwhelmed...again

Postby orchidguy » May 22, 2011 10:54 pm

Goldens, what everyone has said is the most sound advice that can be given. When the space feels overwhelming, break it into smaller components. Look at each flower bed as a room, and when one room is done (as much as can be, as a garden is ever evolving) move onto the next.
I had the same problem when I first moved here. I am on 886 acres and the only way I could start any landscaping was defining what already was. The fields adjacent to the barns didn't need to be touched, as was most of the woodland, streams and lake. Maybe there are areas or objects of interest (huge rock, copse of trees...)in your landscape that needn't be touched right now. For me, the need for a "front yard" was of utmost importance, so that's where I started. Once you get a feel for the land, the progression will hasten and in a few years, you'll probably be able to look out a window and pat yourself on the back for the terrific job you've done. This is your canvas, and you are the artist, and the end result is your masterpiece. (wow, this is turning into a cliche sappy rendition of being the best you can be.....sorry 'bout

Good luck and let us know how it turns out

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Re: Overwhelmed...again

Postby agedgardener2 » May 23, 2011 12:58 pm

Elen What is zeiolite and why do you use it?I googled the word but am non the wiser.JOY
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Re: Overwhelmed...again

Postby Elena Zimmerman » May 24, 2011 12:39 pm

Joy, it's zeolite, sorry about misspelling it! It's a vulcanic mineral that has an ability to break the clay up, improving the soil's friability (gods, I just ask for misspellings, do I)? Unfortunately, the big chain stores do not carry it, you do need to buy it from the nursery. Well, at least here, in AB.
Gardening in Calgary, AB, Zone 3, Chinook conditions
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Re: Overwhelmed...again

Postby abolla1 » May 26, 2011 10:36 pm

You can also add sand to the clay to help break it up. It is a little more inexpensive to purchase than zeolite.
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Re: Overwhelmed...again

Postby styric » May 27, 2011 12:44 am

If you use sand, make sure it's builder's sand and make sure you watch the amount you use. If you use too little, it wont work. If you use too much you'll get cement.

Be warned.
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