Come and stop by the Dedham- Westwood Green Fair today at the Dedham Middle School. I'll be there all day, talking about Green Gardening. So, stop by and say Hello!
The best way to have a healthy, sustainable, glorious garden is to keep the following in mind:
1) Site Analysis – Before you plant anything you should assess the garden area. How big is the area (height and width)? How much and what kind of sunlight does it get? Do existing mature trees or a building filter the sunlight? Is it a steep slope or a flat area? Is it exposed to drying winds and pollution? Or is it nestled between a stonewall and larger plants? Is the soil sandy and infertile, or is it moist and boggy? It is better to gather too much data than too little.
2) Right Plant for the Right Place – or choosing sustainable plants. How big and wide will the plant grow? How much sunlight does the plant need? Does it require acid or more neutral soil? Does it want Moist, well-drained, sandy or infertile soils? What diseases and pests is it subject to getting? Is it hardy to zone 5? If you can’t find an exact match, pick the closest you can and understand what you will need to supplement to care for your plant.
3) Correct Planting Procedures – New planting procedures described by UMass of Amherst Landscape, Nursery and Urban Forestry Department: Dig hole 3 times as wide as root ball and no deeper. Cut away burlap, rope and wire from root ball. Backfill with un-amended topsoil from hole. Trunk flare should be level with existing grade. Mulch from organic materials should be 2” deep, applied over the planting area and should be kept away from the trunk (NO VOLCANO MULCHING!).
4) Effective and Efficient Watering – Typically shadier spots retain moisture better than sunny ones, but a slope will drastically effect where the water penetrates the soil. On average, established trees and shrubs need only 1” of water a week so supplemental watering is most effective applied with a slow drip, allowing the water to soak in deeply rather than watering a little bit every day. The exceptions are new plantings, annuals, some perennials, some lawns and vegetable gardens, which typically require more water.
5) Eradicate Invasive Plants – Check out the list of “Prohibited Plants” in Massachusetts as put out by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. www.mass.gov/agr/farmproducts/proposed_prohibited-plant-list-sciname.htm