I’ve been putting in quite a lot of work on my yard the past few months, trying to make it as wonderful and delightful as possible. The house of my domicile is partially on one of the busier traveled streets in Lincoln Park, and I’ve been doing a lot of long term maintenance stuff lately that really should have happened a good long while ago.
Cutting plants to the ground
Some plants, at least I’ve found, especially like to be seasonally cut all the way to the ground, particularly certain herbs like oregano, mint, lemon balm, and some sages. You might think that you’re about to kill the plant by doing so, but they love it, they come back like a torrent and look so fresh and vibrant, too. Some rose bushes can be like that also, you can cut them nearly to the ground and they come back huger than ever. As well, California poppies die off seasonally and then return strong once again; to keep them from potentially looking too scraggly, as you see new little shoots growing, you can quite thoroughly cut off the dead portions for beautiful bouquets in your yard.
If you’ve got a regular mow-blow-and-go crew that drops into your place, they may not know many of these things, and though they may do trimming, they will not typically take the effort and put in this kind of annual or semi-annual long term-maintenance into a yard. If you are a grower of such herbs mentioned, you might consider cutting yours back as part of your long-term yard maintenance.
Also, if you use your herbs regularly, medicinally or for cooking, be sure you always have back-up plants available to use while you’re cutting back some of the others.
Fall/winter seed planting
Sometime when you put seeds directly into the ground, they don’t always come up when you want due to variations in soil constituents, variations of sun and shade, etc. If you have a vegetable garden as I do, you may want to consider getting trays of seedling pots or incubator trays, and growing some of your plants from seeds in a more controlled, even indoor setting, then when they have gotten sufficiently large and strong, you can transplant the crops to your yard. By doing this, you’re more assured of greater consistency of plant size and harvesting, across the entire bed you are planting.
For a phenomenal sheltered, indoor, and hydroponic growing resource in Pomona, I have shopped many a time at Best Yield Organic Garden Supply. This is actually a fantastic Pomona resource. It’s a bit out of the way for some (on the western edge of the city), but the trek will definitely be worth it. They have potting soil, fertilizers, lighting if you need it, seedling pots and/or incubator trays! Everything you’ll need to get your seeds sprouted — and once sprouted and big, then you can put those winter veggies in the ground, and when the last frost of winter passes, you can put your spring veggies in the ground. Pomona’s got it all!
Watering the beds
If you just have some simple beds, you may want to do hand watering or set up irrigation using supplies available through one of our several local hardware stores.
If you’re serious about growing a whole ton of crops, check out one of my favorite locales to shop, Modern Irrigation in Upland, for a fabulous selection of everything from low water irrigation to giant sprinkler systems. If you’re just starting out, though, Modern Irrigation is probably a bit overkill. It’s a warehouse kind of situation where, of large scale irrigation, you really need to know exactly what you want, tell an individual at the counter, and then they bring it out from the back.
Setting up an irrigation system no matter the size is just a smart idea. You can put the entire system on a timer, and it’ll take care of watering itself.
Another thing I’ve also finally gotten done in my yard is to get a composting system working. Composting is great because you can put all of your kitchen scraps – from cuttings while preparing food, to food on the plate you just couldn’t bring yourself to finish, to leftovers in the frig, forgotten about and gone bad – you can drop them all, not down the garbage disposal, but into your composting bin!!!! There are several ways to do composting. In our yard, we use “tumbler” composting bins. For the longest time we were doing our composting in piles and turning the piles by hand, but a bin that you can simply and regularly flip over by hand is so much easier. It’s good to have two rotatable bins, one for initially breaking down fresh scraps, and the other to take the initial batch and break it down even further to a level you can put back into the soil – of your yard.
I think that’s a good enough review of things in my garden. Hopefully some of these tips and resources will come in handy for you, too. Happy cutting, planting, watering, and composting!
It’s the wellest! And so is Pomona.