So are you tired of me talking about gardening yet?
No? Great! Because this is the only DIY currently going on in these parts.
To keep your garden beautiful, things need to grow well. And in my book, there’s one sure fire way to get your plants to do what they’re suppose to do. If you want them to flourish, you need to feed them. Plain soil isn’t enough.
Having a compost out back is one super smart way to achieve food for your plants. For free! However there are a few tricks you’ll want to know about.
How to build a compost pile (the FJI way)
1. Keep your compost weed free
I have two composts in the yard. This one located behind my character building is for WEEDS. And I know what you’re thinking. Aren’t they ALL for weeds? NO. I learned the hard way. If you throw weeds in your compost, you get weeds IN your rotted compost. And those weeds sprout in your garden next year. Again.
I have a rabbit hutch of all things that came with the house. And being that it was well ventilated on the sides, I started throwing ‘clean’ compost materials in it last summer.
2. Clean compost materials are:
Grass clippings, soil, raw fruit and veg scraps, egg shells, leaves, sod, etc. NO WEEDS.
(make sure you turn sod upside down or it’ll keep growing)
3. Layer as you go
Compost experts will tell you to do this and that, add water, toss and spin. I didn’t. I simply layered everything as I went and let the sun and rain do the rest.
Oh I know. What a gorgeous picture… you just can’t dress up rotting vegetation, sorry.
So anyway… when I had finally weeded the horrific garden beds, (you can see HERE) it was time to feed them. I nearly purchased a truck load of mushroom manure complete with a-man-toting-a-shovel, but then I remembered our little pile of gold out back. So we set out to give it a whirl. It was the loveliest blackish brown ever!
4. Add peat moss to your compost
Filling one wheelbarrow with compost and one with peat moss ( I got it in a HUGE compressed bag for around $13.. cheap ), I mixed my cake batter right in the vegetable garden itself. Dig, flip. Dig, flip. (ouch! kink in neck!) Dig, flip x 100,000.
5. Do ALL the beds now before you realize how tired you really are.
Well now, I had such a fine time at the vegetable patch party, I couldn’t help myself! I moved on to the birdhouse garden. BUT. The edges were terrible. Time to re-edge first.
Edging your flower beds (the FJI way)
1. Edge before you realize how tired you really are.
I like to re-edge all the soil-meets-grass edges at least once every year. Nothing looks better than a nice fresh sharp edge! And nothing fancy was used. I like my little half moon edger that’s buried in the ground that you can’t see. Oops.
And no, I don’t lay out a garden hose first for that lovely perfect curve layout. I go for it and re cut to fix after wards. Not always the brightest way to go, but I get annoyed with a moving hose, so I just wing it. For really long lines, I always start with something as a rough guide, but end up without it anyway.
2. Try curves as opposed to straight
Think about it. Nature isn’t straight so why is your garden? At times straight looks best, but more times than not, curves look better. All my gardens used to be lined with boxy landscape ties. I’ve ripped 80% of them out and did curved cut lines instead.
3. Easy-does-it curves make for easier lawn mowing.
This is where I get a tad bit fussy. I see crooked and straight like no one’s business, so if the lines aren’t nice and smooth, I redo them till they look like a machine did them. No ‘Flinstone’ corners here.
And always remember what your lawn mower can handle naturally. If you have to push and pull 100 times because of a sharp corner, you’ll despise yourself. Trimming to suit your given mower is my suggestion.
4. Mound the soil UP and AWAY from the cut edge
Please try this and thank me later because it’ll look like you have a full time gardener working your property if you do this. Along the cut edge, I dig DEEP. Then mound the soil up and away from the edge. My gardener brother taught me this many moons ago (or I saw him do it or something) and I’ve done it ever since. If your soil is the same level as your lawn, it won’t look as cool. Try the cool way first.
5. Trim your edge with an upside down weed eater.
I’ve tried fancy edgers to do the job at keeping your edges beautiful all summer long. But at the end of the day, I want it done yesterday. So as I chomp down the weeds with the weed eater, I just flip the unit upside down and run it along the edges. It works.
NOW the dynamic duo can come in and do their thing! More cake batter and we’re nearly done. And I’m really glad because I have a neck and back that are total fuss pots driving me insane with their incessant whining.
So I’m really proud of myself. Things are clipping along in this yard. Finally!
And then I forgot about this part. See the line winding around that shrub? It’s really really really REALLY neck-chatting long.
CLUNK. Quittin’ time.
Got any fertilizer or trim tips? I’ll never admit to knowing everything. But pretty darn close. 🙂