Rock Garden Maintenance

If you have made a rock garden or raised bed by following the basic rules, then routine maintenance should be a straight forward task. It will not call for skill as required in the pruning of fruit trees nor the heavy work demanded in the vegetable plot. You should not be troubled by weeds for some time and the plants will flourish in the well drained, gritty conditions you have provided for them. But regular maintenance is not something you can ignore. Leave a shrub border untended for a season and no great harm may result, but leave a rock garden for a year and it may well be ruined.

Treat rock garden care as a routine once-a-week job during the growing season, in the same way as you may treat house plant and lawn maintenance. Weed control will be the major task. Keep the area free from dead plants and debris, and water only when necessary. Dead-head spent flowers where practical, especially if the variety can become a nuisance by self seeding. Label plants which die down for part of the year.

Autumn is the major overhaul time of the year. All fallen leaves must be removed and the stems of rampant plants must be cut back. Do not leave this job for the spring. Cover winter sensitive plants. In spring renew the grit mulch, feed, remove winter protection, firm plants which have been lifted by frost and look for slug damage.

All this advise may have come too late – the rockery may already be over-run by weeds and it is covered with straggly rampant alpines due to past neglect. There is no easy answer. You will have to start again. Remove the soil from affected area, replace it with new planting mixture and then replant.

Weeding Your Garden:
Weeding your garden is one of the most tedious of all maintenance jobs, and prevention is so much easier than cure. Begin at construction time, make sure that the planting site is free from all perennial weeds and that weed roots are absent from the topsoil used for making the planting mixture. As described below, a mulch of grit on rockery and raised bed gardens or bark on peat gardens will help to prevent weeds.

It is unfortunate that however careful you are at the construction stage, weeds will still appear and they must be tackled promptly as dwarf plants such as alpines can easily be swamped by them. There are a number of sources of these weeds, and you can cut down the work of weeding if you take preventive measures. Firstly, weeds are often brought in with the plants, always check carefully and pull out stems and roots of any weeds which are growing on the soil surface of the pot.

Next, perennials can creep n from surrounding land so try to create some form of weed-proof barrier if this is likely. Finally, weed seeds are blown on to the site – remember that this includes the seed from nearby rock garden plants which readily produce self-sown seedlings. Dead-heading and weed control in surrounding land will reduce this problem.

Hoeing is not practical where a grit mulch is used. Pulling out weeds by hand is the usual way to tackle the problem, you may need to trowel if the roots are firmly anchored. Of course not all self-sewn alpines are weeds, you will only need to pull out seedlings which are growing where they are not wanted. Perennial weeds are a difficult problem when the roots are too deep and widespread to be removed. The answer here is to paint the leaves very carefully with glyphsate – never spray weed killers ans never use lawn-type ones.

Proper Garden Maintenance Equals Less Work

Maintaining your garden is vital if you are to keep it in top condition. Plant maintenance does not take long if you stay up with the smallest of detail. Letting it go for a few weeks will exponentially create more time consuming hours to bring it back to where it belongs. If you are a procrastinator, you might want to keep your garden smaller. By doing so, when it comes time to clean it up, it will not take hours.

By planting the right types of crops – those that are easy to maintain, will also save you time and allow you to tend to other landscaping matters. Gardening maintenance also includes; keeping your plants free from rodents, blight and other forces that tend to attack crops. Additionally, You should consider using chicken wire to keep your pets from stomping through your garden. Rabbits seem to be the culprits in most cases where leaves are chewed, but leaf eating insects can be just as detrimental to the health of your plants.

Plants that are grown using unsuitable soils will cause them to be stunted. You should consider using cow manure or compost, thereby enriching the soils and allowing your vegetables to flourish. You should also be vigilant when it comes to weeds. These pesky wild plants can do quite a bit of damage if they are not kept at bay. If your soil is tilled properly, the weeds should be easy to pull. However, if you have been slack with your garden maintenance, the weeds will multiply rapidly and take root. At that point they will be much harder to pull.

The watchful eye and timely maintenance will keep your plants in great condition. You will reap the benefits of being observant to all the needs of your garden. You will be rewarded with delicious meals and less work by performing the proper garden maintenance.

Water Garden Maintenance – How to Water Your Garden

Maintaining your pond or backyard water garden is the least favorite of all water gardening activities. Thankfully, it rarely takes a long time, and except for ending up wet and dirty, is not difficult to do. If you keep your pond balanced ecologically, water garden maintenance is easy and rare. A eco-balanced pond has one bunch of submerged vegetation per square foot of pond surface, has at least 50% of the surface covered by floating plants for shade, has no more than one linear foot of fish per 25 square feet of pond surface area, only goldfish. And most important, you do not feed your fish Once you have gotten your pond balanced, maintenance is easy.

There are some tasks that must be done regularly to keep your balanced pond balanced. Most of the time water garden maintenance is a matter of removing aquatic plants rather than adding to them. Aquatic plants are weeds occurring in swamps and will take over the pond if given a chance. So in doing your water garden monthly maintenance, remove all dead or dying plant material. If left to decompose, it can foul your water and kill your fish.

If you have water lilies, fertilize them monthly during the summer months. Use one fertilizer tab per gallon of pot. Often water lilies are planted in shallow and wide pots. Give them two tabs monthly from the time the pads reach the water in the spring until the lily begins to go dormant in the fall. You can tell when the dormancy begins. The pads will get smaller and the lily will bloom less often.

Each month remove all debris from the bottom of the pond. Use a fish net or pond vacuum cleaner. Usually a fish net is that is needed unless the pond is under trees.

Clean a filter monthly unless you have a biofilter which needs to have a thriving bacterial community growing in it. Just rinse out the biofilter and replace it. With a mechanical filter, usually a block of foam rubber in a box, remove it, rinse it until the water runs clear and replace it. Do not wring it out like a dishcloth or it will deteriorate quickly and you will need a new one.

Remove any hoses from the pump and using your garden hose with a powerful nozzle, clean out the pump hoses. Usually much algae will come out of the hoses. Your fish will eat it and love it.

Using that same garden hose, blast any debris or algae growth off your surrounding rocks and waterfall. Your fish will eat this as well.

Top off the pond if any water has evaporated. If you add more than 10& water by volume, don’t forget to add a dechlorinator. That will dissipate any chlorine and heavy metals found in most city water.

Check all hose connections, check your waterfall to make sure all water is falling back in the pond and not leaking off the side of the falls.

Monthly water garden maintenance is easy and takes just a few minutes. Your pond will stay clean and continue to give you hours of pleasure.