Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Learning to Properly Edge a Garden Flower Bed

When we first moved to our antique home in Connecticut I was excited to finally have enough yard for some area gardens. So excited I made lots of mistakes. It's so easy when confronted with a blank canvas of mostly grass, and some bulb plants to go crazy at Farmer's markets, nurseries and online catalogs. My mind was swimming with ideas and I wanted to create color and beauty NOW, this is in part because I became a homeowner later than some, so there was a lot of catching up to do.

One of the biggest mistakes I made was edging out my area gardens. I've since learned garden edging whether rocks, bricks or plastic or wood are unnecessary, they make it hard to mow close to, the plastic ones suck, they're wobbly and don't stay in place, wood breaks down unless you polyurthane the heck out of it. And brick? Well I found out.

I woke up this morning thinking it would take me an hour to cut a clean edge in one of my smaller garden beds. But I kept hitting something hard when digging, what was it? Why it was the brick border I created six years ago. I forgot about that border, possibly because the grass had not only grown over it, but moved two feet into my garden bed and somehow I missed that fact, due to my haphazard gardening schedule, I was all over the place instead of focusing on one area per season.

It took me two and half hours to dig up the bricks and haul by tarp huge, heavy clumps of sod all the way back to dump in the compost heap. This was a twelve foot or so area and I'm still not done, I need to go back in and use a spade to slice in neat edges. My future goal is to never have things get this bad EVER again. Some research on Youtube showed me how landscapers keep commercial property edges neat and clean. I'm following their lead by:

1. Getting rid of the bricks
2. Using an old hose as a guide to dig borders in straight or curved line
3. Dig deep wide edges, why? Well this creates a trench or moat as I call it, that prevents grass from creeping into the garden bed.
4. It's recommended to apply three inches of mulch to beds so future weeds won't see the light of day, but towards the trench keep the mulch layer thin so grass can't anchor on and move into the garden.
5. I opted to work on damp drizzly days so it was easier to dig into the earth.

The following videos are great examples of how to properly edge your garden bed so annual Spring sprucing won't be so painful and labor intensive.

Home Repair Tutor

Mike's Backyard Nursery 

This Old House

Garden ContinuumINC

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