How thick should I lay down mulch when there are already plants coming up from the ground?

Photo by Maddy Baker on Unsplash

About two inches is all that is needed, regardless of whether the plants are perennials or not. Any more than that could possibly delay or prevent plants from emerging. Since mulch does suppress weeds, obviously it could suppress plants as well.

More reasons not to put down more than a couple of inches in depth:

  • The mulch can develop mold and mildew
  • That will cause it to rot
  • Rotting or even good mulch can attract termites, and they like moisture
  • Thick mulch holds moisture too long (see above)
  • Too much moisture near plant bases or over roots can cause root rot
  • It’s a waste of money to over-mulch

It’s kind of like that children’s book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

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Which vegetables should a beginning gardener avoid growing?

This may be personal, or it may be true of others. But for me, potatoes have failed every single time I’ve tried them, almost always from insects. The closest I came to success was the time I tried to grow them in a cage. I’ll never know how well that experiment might have succeeded because someone cut off all the plants down to the cage, thinking they were helping me prune. (After exact directions to cut them back a foot out from the cage. They had become enormous.)

Unless you have a very large garden and time to weed like a madman, I’d avoid vine plants like pumpkins, squash and zucchini. If you do plant zucchini, plant only one.

For me, eggplant has performed beautifully every single year, so it may be a location/climate thing. I’m near Philadelphia. Tomatoes are usually problem free unless we have too much rain.

Tomatillos grow enormously huge with very few fruits, at least here. The season is too short for them to be ready for harvest in the fall.

Sweet potatoes or yams – way too much care at harvest time to have something you can actually eat.

Perennial Egyptian onions – they are cool looking and the idea of them was too tempting. But I have yet to find a way or time that they are anything close to something I’d want to eat. The stems in spring are perhaps the mildest, the rest—bulbs in the ground, bulbs on the stems, the stems themselves—are just bitter!

~ You WILL

grapevine

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV)

I was looking out my back window at my pathetic espallied fruit trees today and once again contemplating whether I should give up and cut them down and use the upright poles between them to support a grape vine. (I should have looked up apple tree diseases before purchasing apple trees prone to Apple Cedar Rust Disease for a house on Cedar Road.)

The thought of grape vines always brings this verse to mind. Then my devotion today had the same verse. For some reason the word “WILL” jumped out for the first time in a long time. Almost every passage in the Bible is conditional in one way or another and this verse is blatant. IF you do this, this will happen. “If you remain in me, and I in you . . .”

I’m in a season of feeling pretty useless, what with my body being in rebellion mode. The more my body rebels, the less I accomplish, the more I’m forced to analyse the importance of my activities, physical, mental and spiritual.

I’m not happy about my rebellious body, but I’m grateful. I want to be fruitful. I don’t have what it takes physically, but guess what? That isn’t a condition! All I have to do is stick even closer to my maker, and draw the strength to produce fruit from him.

Not a bad trade off for a younger body and distracted lifestyle.

God Glimpses #25 – Don’t Despair!

GG_HD group shot

When you feel desperation, do you take a time-out?

Sometimes you need to sit yourself in a corner–give yourself time to think about things, and remember what you have to be grateful for.

The panic attack began when I wrote out a list of goals. Yep, you’ve been there. You throw everything on that sheet of paper. The must-do’s, the wanna-do’s, the other-people-think-I oughta do’s, the–you get the picture. Before you know it, the list is running onto a second sheet and you’re having a hard time breathing.

I’m a pastor’s wife, the VP of two non-profits, in charge of publicity for one, and have a host of responsibilities for the other, the mother of two sixteen year olds (ok, just for today, one turns seventeen tomorrow) and–that’s me in the garden hat in the picture–in charge of The Giving Garden.

About this time last year I was having a similar panic attack. We were telling everyone we were going to have a garden. I knew raised beds were the way to go, but knowledge and a sketch were all I had. That and the use of a small piece of ground beside a church building. If you’ve gardened, you know that dreaming won’t grow vegetables.

We made some phone calls, filled out some forms, and the next thing you knew, we had a team of Home Depot managers who donated, built and filled five raised beds and rototilled another two, and then gave us the shovels! (You can read about the first donated bed on our website.) By the end of summer we had a beautiful gate installed, flowers growing in the front bed, and so much produce that we had to get creative in ways to give it away. Considering we have a food pantry, that’s saying something, especially since no Zucchini were involved.

We had some wonderful people who volunteered, and some unbearably hot weather, which turned out to be a blessing, because, honestly, it kept us from working ourselves to death. The soil was so good that a little neglect didn’t make much difference. I think I fretted through much of the summer, and yet that garden was one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’m giving God the credit for every bit of it, because on my own it would have been like my own sorry attempts in my back yard.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tempted to be overwhelmed on a regular basis. Every time, the cure is to remember those special moments when God has provided in the past, and the joys of sharing the good with friends, old and new.

Once you’ve thanked God for his provision, you’re in a better place to choose peace over desperation. He will provide not only the wherewithall, but the whowithall. Find a friend or two to help you get your priorities in place. Then start pruning. What’s going to matter in a thousand years? What’s important now? What’s a wanna, or a wish? How will it impact your family? See, you’re feeling more hopeful already!

God Glimpses #9 – Hope of Life

crocus row - yellow

Yellow crocuses springing out of mud. Hope in tiny promise packages. Whenever I picture the scene of Christ on the cross, I envision Him gazing at the ground through swollen and bloody eyelids at a single crocus coming up through the mud at His mother’s feet. Knowing the anguish of separation from his family, his disciples, and of His Father God, He looks to the joy of new life, new hope, and promises fulfilled.

Photo taken today in my front yard. Hope!