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Has Achieved Nirvana
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I like that idea! The pots are about 10” square at the bottom.


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Life is short. Play with your dog.

 
Posts: 32909 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Preparing pots for winter:

https://www.waterthegarden.com...nterize-flower-pots/

One thing that I've had happen is that the dirt freezes in a pot (not limited to ceramic) and the pot gets snowed on. Warm day in late winter/early spring and the snow melts into the pot. Even though there's a drainage hole, the water can't get to it because the dirt in the bottom of the pot is still frozen. I lost some plants I was overwintering in a pot because the roots basically drowned. If you're just doing annuals this isn't a problem.

(edit: just saw jodi's post about pots outside in winter. I'm amazed; not sure why her experience is so different from what I've seen around here. Shrug)


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Outrage is warranted. But outrage unaccompanied by analysis is a danger in itself.

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Posts: 34160 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I also leave all of my pots outside, full of soil, all winter. I haven’t had one crack yet. Most of them are terracotta but I also have one large, expensive ceramic one that is unglazed on the inside. I’ve been growing chives in it for at least 8 years and leave it outside all winter.


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"Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst." ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

 
Posts: 3800 | Location: Ontario, Canada | Registered: 29 June 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good questions about midwestern gardening habits. I have some thoughts.

Maintaining a lawn goes back to the dawn of suburbia and I think it's a habit that's persisted around here because of the access to cheap water. You guys in CA had to develop creative ways to make a yard look nice without water.

As far as why no hedges.... Keeping a nice looking hedge requires knowledge and physical work. Most homeowners have no idea how to prune various kinds of plants used for hedges to keep them in top notch condition. So they hire the yard care "experts" - aka landscapers, who are as clueless as the homeowners who hire them. They are really just people who can start gas powered equipment and use it to decimate people's properties. And they get paid for it!


Around here there's a cycle of outside maintenance.

1) Landscapers appear in late March/early April to do "spring cleanup". They use gas powered leaf blowers that take everything that would decompose and enrich the soil, including dirt, out of the beds. Groundcover would just get in the way.

2) Same guys put down a thick layer of mulch to cover up what's left of the dirt. They also put down lawn fertilizer in spring, when the grass is already growing like crazy because turf grasses love cool damp weather. I don't use fertilizers and have to mow every four or five days; by the time my neighbors' landscapers show up for their weekly lawn mowing, the grass is like six inches tall.

These guys' trucks have mounds of grass clippings that will turn into a stinking mess in no time. Perish the thought that you don't use chemical fertilizers and instead just let the naturally nitrogen-rich clippings fall back on the lawn where they would feed the grass.

3) Shrubs start growing and get unwieldy, so the same crew comes in with gas powered hedge trimmers, shearing and shaping everything on the property - deciduous shrubs, arborvitaes, hemlocks, serviceberries, you name it.

There's the bad topiary look, but homeowners also end up with 12 foot high privet hedges that are 11.5 feet of bare branches and 6 inches of leaves because all the landscapers did was lop off the top of the hedge in June/July when the privets were growing like crazy. Or you don't get those beautiful yellow flowers in early spring because they pruned the forsythias during the cleanup, a week before they were due to bloom.

4) They come on a weekly basis to mow and edge, including the middle of summer when grass doesn't really want to be growing because it's too hot and dry but does because it's being fertilized and watered.

5) October is "fall cleanup", a repeat of "spring cleanup". All the leaves that could decompose and enrich the soil over winter are hauled away.

Lather, rinse, repeat on a yearly basis.

I don't get it.


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Outrage is warranted. But outrage unaccompanied by analysis is a danger in itself.

Bazootiehead-in-training



 
Posts: 34160 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by wtg:
Preparing pots for winter:

https://www.waterthegarden.com...nterize-flower-pots/


The article says to use little rubber feet under pots to keep them from freezing. This seems odd.

Isn’t the reason bridges ice up before roads the fact cold air is both above and below the bridge? Confused


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Life is short. Play with your dog.

 
Posts: 32909 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think the feet keep the pot off the ground so water can drain out of the drainage hole. If you end up with a pot standing in a puddle of water that freezes, the drainage hole is rendered useless.


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Outrage is warranted. But outrage unaccompanied by analysis is a danger in itself.

Bazootiehead-in-training



 
Posts: 34160 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, it’s all about drainage. Put some rocks or big gravel in the bottom of your big pots so there is room (air spaces) for the water to drip and drain, and the hole in the bottom doesn’t get filled in. It doesn’t really matter if things freeze as long as there is room for the ice to expand somewhere, up or whatever. The only one I’ve had crack was a small one that got frozen to the ground and it had a really small opening and there was no room for expansion. I’m still using it, it didn’t crack all the way through. Potting soil is better than natural soil because that has too much clay which tends to hold water.


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Posts: 20002 | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here are some of my pots, I’ve had that tree planted in the pot for at least 15 years, it stays out all the time, in Maine I let it get buried under 10 feet of snow!






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Posts: 20002 | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We are a lot drier here, and like I said, I turn the pots I worry about upside down. Pretty sure I did that with most of my pots in Maine, since we got so much more moisture there. I flip that metal water trough (that I make into a fountain) over in the winter too.


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Posts: 20002 | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That makes sense.

As far as bagging clippings vs. leaving on the lawn as mulch, the neighbors are of several minds in this.

One camp holds that clippings should be bagged and hauled away do you don’t get grass clippings in the mulch and you don’t build up “thatch”. Another camp defends the mulch characteristics of clippings (as do you) and periodically rents de-thatching equipment to dig out the thatch. Do you do this? I understand it generates mountains of debris that has to be dealt with somehow.

Grass in CA was much easier. I didn’t have much of it and didn’t think much about it. It used way too much water and I often considered taking it out but instead I just made the borders larger. One application of fertilizer with pre-emergent weed killer (crabgrass) was about all I ever did.

The back grass was a low growing Bermuda called Tifgreen. It went dormant in the winter and I just left it that way but some neighbors would paint it green. The front grass started out as a fine fescue (Marathon) but was invaded by common Bermuda (Devil grass). This worked out well as the Devil grass would die back in the winter and the fescue would take over, while the Devil grass would come back in the summer as the fescue started suffering from the heat. Win-win!

As for clippings, I found that if I didn’t mix in about 20% clippings in my compost it wouldn’t break down well, but too many clippings would just rot and stink.


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Life is short. Play with your dog.

 
Posts: 32909 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ok, so here is the garden project I’ve been mulling over for awhile now, not sure I will actually do it, since I’m still working on improving the soil in the beds I already have. The yard has a sprinkler system (none of the plantings around the house would be alive if it didn’t).
Our yard is tiny - it’s on a corner, and the grass in the front and on the east gets good sun. I’ve been fascinated by something called hugelkultur, basically raised beds that utilize all the scrap wood trimmings from your yard, and are “no dig”. The wood breaks down slowly, holds moisture, offers nutrients - and I’m contemplating about something like that in the middle of the grass I’m sick of mowing. Not sure yet - as I haven’t actually finished working on the existing beds yet. Here are some photos of our place:



Green is our lot lines, and red is where I’m thinking of putting in the extra bed. The sprinklers hit this area from both sides, so I dont’ think I’d have any water issues.



some views of the front/side yard, my only other issue will be the deer and moose that travel through the yard…






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Posts: 20002 | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I use the mulch setting on our mower, but we occasionally have to dethatch. And yes, it’s MOUNTAINS of debris. But I mix it in with my compost (because the thatch is brown), and it helps my kitchen scraps compost. It’s a b*tch to mix in, though. Hardest part in my yard is the lack of hidden space for a compost pile - I have two black “composers” that I rotate stuff through.


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Posts: 20002 | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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From New Mexico State University:

quote:
Grass clippings and lawn thatch

Question:
I'm confused about thatch removal. I thought you should leave grass clippings on as mulch. Doesn't that increase the thatch? Linn Las Cruces

Answer:
Thatch is the accumulation of dead stems and roots of grass, not the leaves. The leaves tend to decompose rapidly, so grass clippings left on the lawn do not contribute directly to thatch buildup. Leaving the grass clippings on the lawn is beneficial if you manage them properly.

Proper management involves mowing frequently so that the clippings are small enough that they can filter through the grass, not accumulating on the surface shading the uncut grass blades. Another important consideration is that nitrogen fertilization be reduced by one-third when grass clippings are left on the lawn. These clippings decompose, returning some nitrogen to the lawn. Without reducing the nitrogen supplied, increased root and stem growth will indirectly result from the grass clippings. In that case, the clippings can contribute indirectly to thatch buildup.

Remember that up to one-half inch of thatch is beneficial in cushioning the grass crowns from traffic, but thatch over one-half inch in thickness can cause irrigation and disease problems. Once the thatch exceeds one-half inch it should be removed by power raking, or manual raking just as growth begins. De-thatch cool season grass early in the spring and early in the fall, warm season grass in the early summer. It is important to de-thatch when the grass is actively growing so that it can recover from the injury caused by the intense raking.



So if your neighbors are following the standard lawn chemical company protocol, they're fertilizing during the spring and supercharging growth that's already supercharged by Mother Nature/Spring. Their grass grows like crazy, they mow it once a week, and they end up with clumps of clippings on the lawn.

Yes, a combination of green and brown stuff (nitrogen and carbon) accelerates the composting. Some water (not too much) and some old compost as an inoculant to get the process rolling also helps.

OTOH, I've had a compost bin full of shredded leaves compost in a year with no other additions. Maybe tossing it a few times with a manure fork. But I get earthworms that set up residence and they do a fine job.


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Outrage is warranted. But outrage unaccompanied by analysis is a danger in itself.

Bazootiehead-in-training



 
Posts: 34160 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here are my composters. They aren’t big enough, I miss having the woods in back to just dump stuff! The one inside the fence is almost completely full, and it’s mostly kitchen scraps - but I can’t mix anything else in in the winter because it’s all frozen solid! It’s going to be a big stinky mess to fix it once everything unfreezes. In like July, lol.




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Posts: 20002 | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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forgot to add a link about hugelkultur:
A lot of the the youtube homesteaders I follow seem to be really into it.

https://www.permaculture.co.uk...benefits-hugelkultur


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Posts: 20002 | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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