Greetings to our Friends and Fellow Gardeners!
We know that many of you face enormous and unexpected challenges in the wake of our devastating historic flood, and we would like to be of assistance. So now that we better understand some of the effects of the flood, we would like to make some observations and suggestions that might be helpful:
- Where mud was deposited under trees: Tree roots need oxygen as much as water, and raising the soil level more than 2” can suffocate most trees. Even if they don’t die, reducing their oxygen can stress them so they are more vulnerable to insects, diseases and (still likely) drought. It is best to remove mud at least down to 2” as soon as possible before winter.
- Where mud was deposited over turfgrass: see CSU turfgrass expert, Toni Koski’s advice at www.gardeningafterfive.wordpress.com. He says where mud is less than 1” deep, aerate, fertilize and reseed if necessary. Where mud is more than 2”, the lawn may be heavily damaged. Where mud is 3” or more deep “…the majority of the lawn has already been severely damaged or killed and it will be necessary to establish a “new” lawn.”
Mikl has heard of a lawn being buried under 5” of flood mud and the grass grew right up through it and recovered, but this may not be common.
- Regarding vegetable and berry gardens, Carol O’Meara from the CSU Cooperative Extension office wrote: “Soil contamination may be as dangerous as that of uncomposted manure. Tilling in the soil and a minimum of 90 days between the recession of waters and harvest are needed to reduce this risk from pathogens, but recovering soil from chemical pollutants may take longer.”Mikl’s personal experience has shown that beneficial fungi and bacteria can break down pesticide residues (in one year) and digest organic debris, and out-compete disease organisms. Therefore we recommend using a sprayer or sprinkling can to apply compost tea and/or Pfeiffer Field Spray over the entire vegetable garden and surrounding area. This is not very expensive, as a little goes quite a long way: one gallon can cover 500 square feet when sprayed. Top-dressing with a lively compost should also help.
- For interior cleanup: There is a biological alternative to bleach and boric acid. It is called Concrobium Mold Cleaner. The manufacturer states it is “…an environmentally friendly formula which eliminates, cleans up, inhibits, and prevents mold growth…cleaning and prevention all in one… odorless… eliminates, musty odors and leaves surfaces with an invisible shield that prevents new mold growth…no rinsing required.” Available at McGuckin Hardware and Lowe’s.
- Where plants were not drowned or washed away, they received a thorough, deep watering. This is good. On the other hand, the weeds are also prospering. We’ve never seen such an explosion of weed seedlings! This reminds us to recommend Kyle and Michele (firstname.lastname@example.org) for your garden maintenance. Kyle has been maintaining the display gardens at Harlequin’s for the past two years and Michele has worked at Harlequin’s for three years. Both are knowledgable, hard-working and detail conscious, following organic and environmental principles.
- The photo below was taken after flood waters pushed back the weed barrier fabric (you can see the fabric toward the back of the picture), revealing tree roots growing immediately under the fabric. Because it impedes the flow of air and water to the soil, weed barrier fabric often forces trees to grow roots above the soil in their search for air and water. This makes the roots very vulnerable to damage from heat, cold and drying. If this has happened to your trees and shrubs, we suggest that you cover the exposed roots with one to two inches of soil immediately, so that the fine root hairs (responsible for uptake of water, nutrients and air) don’t dry up. And skip the weed barrier.
Our Fall Sale is now at 40% off, the lowest it will go. With good soil moisture and warm weather holding, this is an ideal time to take advantage of near wholesale prices for high quality plants. Many of our fertilizers, composts and mulches are also on sale at their lowest prices. Our October hours are every day 9-5, closing on October 31 until our Holiday Gift Market opens on November 29.
FALL VEGGIE STARTS now 75 cents each!
Thank you so much for your continued support!
Mikl & Eve Brawner and the wonderful staff at Harlequin’s Gardens