A Better Garden Experience
Gardening is among the top 10 hobbies or pastimes in the world. Some would argue that it is number one while others just can't see it. The truth is that almost everyone is a gardener at some level, even if it is just a single pot in the window or on the end table in the corner of the room. As a novice or enthusiast, how does one take gardening FROM WEED'N TO EDEN? Let's talk about it.
First of all, you are the gardener! You control every aspect of your garden experience, from what you grow, and how you grow it, to the soil you grow it in; you are never stuck with the hand you are delt. I often hear comments such as, "I wish I had soil like that; mine is hard clay." The soil in your yard is not a divine decree or mandate; it can be changed. Spring is the time to do it and to decide what your garden experience will be.
If your soil is out of balance, i.e. heavy with clay, too much sand or rocky, change it rather than battle with it. It will take some investment of time and money, but for the most part, it is a one-time investment and once you have created the ideal soil conditions, it will be a pleasure to work the soil and you will find that all your tools will be easier to use. Here are some videos that illustrate what we're talking about: "Creating a New Flower Bed" and "Perfect Gardening Soil" videos – KwikEdge (thekwikedge.com) also on YouTube Creating & Maintaining Flower Bed Edges // KwikEdge - YouTube Creating Perfect Gardening Soil // KwikEdge - YouTube
The garden border is most vulnerable to invading grass and weeds. Think how much more enjoyable gardening would be if intrusive grass was no longer a problem; easily maintained with the Kwik Edge tool.
People occasionally make the observation that the Kwik Edge won't work for them because their soil is heavy clay as opposed to the conditioned soil shown in the videos. That is the whole point, the soil is intentionally conditioned. No tool will work well, or easily, unless and until the soil is prepared.
Soil is a compound of three basic elements and the balance determines the quality of the soil: Sand, Clay and Compost/organic material
Each element adds something to the mix. Sand is good for drainage and braking up the clay. Clay adds body and water retention. Organic material breaks up the clay and helps hold moisture and aerates the soil. Clay soils may be rich in nutrients, but they tend to bind up the nutrients, making them unavailable to the plants. The sand and clay will free up the nutrients so that plants thrive better. Contrary to myth, sand will not turn your soil to concrete, however, the sun and neglect will harden any soil.
Think of your garden bed(s) like you would a pot on the patio. The grass edge is the rim of your large pot and you're going to fill the pot with potting soil. You could actually dig out all the soil and fill again with a commercial potting mix, but that could be expensive. In many, or most, cases you will be removing rocks and/or at least some of the heavy clay. Remember, clay is an element of good soil, so you might do well to simply add a layer of sand and compost and use a tiller to blend it with the clay. Equal amounts of sand, clay and compost is a good rule of thumb, but not an exact recipe. If the clay is particularly dense, you may need to add more sand. An easy way to tell if you are achieving a good blend is to squeeze a ball of your new soil in your hand. If the ball holds its shape, but then you can easily crumble it, you have good soil. Too much sand and/or compost and the ball will not hold its shape. Not enough sand and/or compost and the ball will not crumble.
Changing your garden spaces into potting beds may seem daunting but you will be glad you did it and, it doesn't need to be one massive project. Select one or two beds and make them ideal. Do another one in the fall or next spring. Do it as your energy and budget permits. If you make the investment, you will be glad you did and you might be surprised at how easily your Kwik Edge and other tools maintain what you created. You will find that you have more time to enjoy gardening as opposed to the yard work your neighbors are doing.