Working with Master Gardeners in Carroll County has been both invaluable. I am constantly learning about new plants and new approaches to gardening. Here are a few words of wisdom from fellow gardeners.
How to Walk in a Garden
Did you know there is a right way to “walk” in a garden? When Rose Norseth first said this to me, I was baffled but intrigued. I had been walking in gardens for years. Was there a wrong way?
When you have a garden, your goal is to have soft, non-compacted soil. When you walk directly on the soil, you compact it. If your gardens are 3-4 feet wide, you can reach into the garden to weed, prune, etc. without walking on it. If it is wider than that, put in little stepping stones and use those to walk around and work in your garden.
Did It Rain? Don’t Dig
Immediately after a rain, don’t turn over the soil or dig in it. “Turning over wet soil can cause long-term compaction damage to the structure of your soil. Test your soil for workability by forming a clump of soil into a ball. If it breaks apart easily it’s probably OK to work,” per the University of Maryland Extension’s website.
Don’t Roast Your New Plants
Did you just acquire a new plant? Be kind to it! Plant it on a cloudy day or late in the afternoon/early evening so it doesn’t spend its first day in the garden broiling under the sun. Rose told me this one.
Music & Weeds: A Productive Mix
If you dislike weeding as much as I do, you might like this tip. Bring a little music with you while you weed. Ever since another Master Gardener suggested this idea, I bring my smart phone with me.
Wood Chips & Termites
Wood chips and nuggets as well as newspaper and cardboard can keep down weeds but may attract termites. To make sure you don’t get these unwanted insects from attacking your house, be careful how you place mulch next to your house. Leave a space of bare dirt or stones between your garden and your house or place a very thin layer of mulch there. For more information, go to the University of Maryland Extension website: https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/non_HGIC_FS/EB245_Termites.pdf
Please comment with the best tips you have received!