A Neatnik’s Dilemma

Have you ever paused for a moment when removing the debris from around a plant?  That collection of organic matter that covered the ground not only helped to retain soil moisture, but eventually would decompose and release nutrients back into the soil.  So as long as the debris didn’t harbor disease, the plant would be happier if you left things be.  But would you be happier?  Probably not, unless you dress up the surroundings with mulch.  Even then I have seen examples of mulch covered gardens that I consider downright ugly.  3 to 4 inches of ugly doesn’t do a thing for me.  On the other hand, I love the effect created by a covering of mini bark.  I used to be able to buy “Pathway Bark” from Garden Time at Lowes, but now all they have available is “Pathway Groundcover” which more closely resembles sawdust than bark.  If you were at Jeannie’s pop-up sale, you might have noticed how great the landscaping appeared as it was dolled up with a covering of mini bark.  I asked her husband and he said he was able to get at Hasties.  He said it was rather expensive though.

As usual, I have strayed from my original topic—that of the dilemma of whether or not you should clean up around plants in your garden—are you making the plants happier, or making you happier?  You can do both, but more often I simply opt for me.  Just being selfish, I guess.

Stan, The Blog Man

Losing Soil

You probably have noticed that you tend to lose soil through the drain holes in plant pots.  Ages ago—I think it was the Pleistocene—we use rocks to block those drain holes.  Then later I remember that we used chards of broken clay pots to prevent soil loss.  Recently we have used that fiberglass tape that is used to cover the seams of sheetrock.  I have 3 or 4 rolls of this tape that I’ve picked up at garage sales.  What’s good about this product is that you can use it over and over again.  I would give you a life-time supply if you would just let me know.  But since I know you won’t bother to ask, here is another solution to your soil loss problem—coffee filters.  The large size filters fit perfectly in the bottom of gallon pots and you can use filters torn in half or in quarter for smaller pots.  Large pots are where we have to resort to the webbed tape (and remember I have lots!).

Stan, The Rambling Man