Rock hard dirt...(m)

Avatar for imahappygirl2002
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Rock hard dirt...(m)
3
Sun, 03-30-2003 - 6:17pm
Hi. I have a rather large area that I have planted ornamental strawberry in hopes of acheiving a nice groundcover around my roses..the problem is that the dirt, now that I have planted everything, of course, is rock hard. I planted the strawberries over a month ago..and while they are producing flowers, they haven't spread much..is the problem just a matter of time or could the hard top soil be causing the problem..if it is the soil, how do I loosen it up without burying the existing plants??? Also, is it necessary to feed ornamental strawberry?

Any suggestions will be really appreciated.

thanks, Jackie

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 5:44am
I'm so sad to hear that you are going to have to learn this lesson the hard way.

No gardener should assume that their soil is already ready for planting in. Please read my post earlier about making soil for your gardens, where I took a recipe from the experts, and added in the extra sand and peat moss to help break up the soil that is heavy in clay.

A note to you and everyone else: Take three soil samples from three areas of where you would like to plant in your garden or lawn areas, place them into plastic bags or (babyfood jars) and take them to your local nursery. They can test the soil for everything from how hard it is to how fertile it is, to it's PH ballance, and make recommendations on how much of what you will need to add to the soil prior to planting from seed or pre-potted plants. This lesson is a tough one, but if you water real heavily, then dig with a (potter's) sized shovel into the soil around each plant, and making up the mixture as I've posted for soil, get that into the ground around your plants. This includes your roses themselves. A lot of work by hand, but it's realy to late to use a spade fork, standard sized shovel, or a tiller.

However, next year, prior to planting in new areas, or re-planting in existing ones, take the time over the fall to "make the bed" for them to grow in. Cover it with weed guard, then your fall leaves, chopped by your lawn mower. Next spring, cut through the weed guard to plant your new plantings, and top cover with mulch to hold in moisture.

The only other choice you have this year and (((hope))) it helps is to use a natural mulch, such as hardwood chips to a depth of at least 3 inches to hold in moisture, allowing less right at the plants, that will allow some of the roots to actually grow in the bottom layers of the mulch, above the actual ground level. If you can....get some leaves mulched down, and put them on first. I'm so sorry to give this as my oppinion, but having gardened now for well over 40 years, and as a (naturalist) type gardener at that....mistakes happen, and some times the best we can do is try to help this year, and make that soil readied for the next years to come. If you are NOT ready to dig up your plants, then keep the soil moistened well throughout the year, topped with natural wood chips, and do some digging up in the fall. Don't worry about the rose bushes in the fall....they will do just fine if you keep from digging to close to them while working in the new soil ammenities. In fact, they will come back better next year for you having done so.

Please check my post on soil making, and the ones I give from time to time on how to make that material break down for feed for your plants as well.

Mitch

 
Avatar for imahappygirl2002
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 9:08am
thanks for the post! sounds like I have some work to do..but I really want to get this strawberry to take off because we are in a battle to choke of some mint that the previous owner had everywhere!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 5:34am
Uggh, the "how to smother or stop mint" solutions! This herb is so vigorous that it seems to be able to grow through rock even...LOL...

Any mint that is still showing it's head needs to be hit with an herbicide. As each shoot shows up again and again though as well. Digging in it, and not getting each and every root piece will just multiply your problem. I personally like my mint, and have it planted where on one side I can mow it, and the other side is against a concrete patio. It has still found it's way around that patio, growing along one side of it toward my walkway even. I pull up each growth, and watch now for where new peices show up, and hit them with some spray herbicide. I know that I won't kill off the plant as a whole, as I'm only hitting the areas that are in extra places though. The other side...I just let grow into the grass area, and mow it as part of the lawn. What started out as 6 plants two years ago is more like a few hundred now though.

If anyone is interested in growing some mint for teas, flavorings, take a word of advice....plant it in containers, or in a field where it can thrive as it will, and not get into areas where you wish to grow other plants. This agressive growing herb will grow in nearly pure clay to the best soil mix you can make, and is very hard to kill off by digging and pulling up. As mentioned before, a one inch piece of root is an entire new plant.

Good luck with digging up your area, keep in mind to get the soil broken up real well, and pull out every root looking thing in it as you get to mixing in new soil additives.

Mitch