The Dirt

Welcome to my personal gardening journal where I write mostly about my garden and occasionally about other things that happen to tickle my fancy.

This is me in my Kubota tractor.  After 30 years of marriage most people go on a trip or get jewelry but not me!  I got a tractor.  My husband actually thinks it’s his…little does he know!  I’ll be using said tractor to help me out in my zone 4b northern Wisconsin garden where we have 23 acres of woods, meadow, bog and a large pond.  I also garden in Southeast Wisconsin, zone 5a…a typical suburban garden.

Retirement prompted me to check something off the bucket list…I earned my Master Gardener certification!  Mostly, I’ve learned that I have an awful lot yet to learn.  Nevertheless, 30+ years of gardening have taught me a few things.  So, not in any particular order, here are some of my thoughts about gardening.  New ideas sprout all the time!

Sustain.”First, do no harm” is a widely accepted medical ethics concept that is also critical in gardening.  The term sustainable gardening embodies exactly that concept.  It’s the idea of using gardening practices that not only do no harm to the earth and its creatures but to enhance it.  Words that define “sustain” and “sustenance” are support, preserve, keep alive, maintain, reinforce, and nourish.  These words help paint the picture . To practice sustainable gardening is to practice good environmental stewardship.  Four simple words…first, do no harm.
Appreciate Foliage. Flowers are fleeting…when it comes to garden design you should think about foliage. Leaves add texture, color and contrast long after blooms fade.
Compost. There is nothing better you can do to ammend the soil. Make your own or get it from a local source.
Experiment. If you don’t know how a plant is going to behave in your garden don’t buy several of them. Experiment with a new plant by buying one small pot. If it does well you can add more or divide the original.
Share. Every garden needs to be thinned out eventually. What better way to beautify the neighborhod than by sharing plants with friends.
Sow. So many plants are easily started from seed. What a great way to aquire plants not always available at local nurseries. Cost saving and rewarding, every gardener should give this a try.
Use proper tools. Don’t go overboard with tons of garden tools but do make sure you have the right tools for the job. My must haves include Felco handheld pruners, a quality spade, Fiskars telescoping loppers, leaf funnel and an assortment of handheld tools including a rake, shovel and fork.
Protect. After all your hard work in the garden the last thing you want is for some critter to come along and make a snack of it. Use deer/rabbit repellent spray liberally in the Spring when your plants are the tastiest. (See the Garden Tools page for a recipe.)  I also use motion detector sprinklers to keep deer out of the garden.  Expensive but so worth the investment.