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i hate my landscape..

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by badplanter on July 04, 2006 05:35 PM
hello, i'm here to tell you about my landscape and its many, many problems. first off, my garden is on a hill, so i had to spend many and hour trying to level it out. right beside my garden, there is a pine tree, that shades some of my plants. this is fine for me, but the leaves form the pine spread all over and interefere with the growing, sowing, and weeding regularly. I really don't know what to do about this problem.

Also, I live on Staten Island, the very south of NY, so my soil is just full of clay. When we get thunderstorms, because of the clay, and because of the slight hill, water pours down, flooding the bottom part of the garden, i have tried to dig holes away form the plants and lead the water to it, but that fails.

I'm open for any suggestions on what i should do! they would really really help me!

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 -  - "I don't want no more of army life, gee mom, I wanna go, but they won't let me go, gee mom, I wanna go home!" My PB!
by Jiffymouse on July 05, 2006 03:46 PM
one thing i would look at is to build a bog garden in part of the bottom of the hill to absorb the run off. i'm sure others will come up with more ideas too.
by Longy on July 06, 2006 02:22 AM
Can you supply a few fotos of this area? I don't see any real problems except maybe the pine tree. A slope is no big deal. Clay soil is not a big deal either. Clay is full of nutrient and minerals, it just packs too tightly and doesn't drain well.
Your water flow needs to be directed and/or slowed down and controlled. Again not anything to worry about. Just some basic drainage or earthmoving may solve the 'problem'.
Pine trees can make the soil acidic, so acid loving plants may be best grown in its vicinity.
So hows about that foto?
(Oh, and with the excess lemons, why not make lemonade?)

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The secret is the soil.
by penny in ontario on July 06, 2006 05:48 AM
I agree with Longy...can you post a few pictures so we can better understand the area and space?

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by badplanter on July 06, 2006 02:14 PM
ok, ill try to post some pics--if i get a chance--its been raining like CRAZY her ethe last week or so......

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 -  - "I don't want no more of army life, gee mom, I wanna go, but they won't let me go, gee mom, I wanna go home!" My PB!
by badplanter on July 06, 2006 02:15 PM
oh!!! lemonade is a good idea....i bet life's lemonade is really strong!!!

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by Longy on July 06, 2006 11:41 PM
i bet life's lemonade is really strong!!!
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
You can always add a little something if it aint;-)

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The secret is the soil.
by Wrennie on July 07, 2006 12:49 AM
Staten Island has hills? [dunno] [Wink] My neighbor lives on Staten Island.Their summer house is up here.
You could make retaining walls to plateau your hill. I have a spot in my yard that puddles big time when it rains. It's just grass now. But right nest to it I have a flower bed,2 actually, that are slightly raised and dont get puddly. Is your garden flowers? Veggies? herbs?
Heres my hill and the stonework we did to raise beds and make beds on the hill. wrennies hill
I like the stone wall look better than the big stones standing on end but now that the plants are filled in it looks better. I'll get a picture soon.{{where is that camera?}}
by tkhooper on July 07, 2006 01:31 AM
Raised beds and terracing are definitely two ways to deal with a hill if the incline is such that straight planting isn't going to work for you. I have a clay slope that is way to steep to plant on with out doing some terraforming. So I definitely feel your pain. Another way to handle that type of situation is using a combination of portland concrete, peatmoss and something else to create a "rock wall" Now I'm going to have to run around and see if I can find that post without being able to remember the name of the stuff. Grrrrh. I promise to look for it. Anyway using that and some pond liner you could create a pond, waterfall and planting beds for all the different plants that you would like to have. With the shade & acid loving plants over by the pine tree and anything else you like located elsewhere. Of course that is just a thought.

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by penny in ontario on July 07, 2006 04:43 AM
Looks good Wrennie!!

TK had a good suggestion too, please post a picture of the area you have, if you can.
Good luck..

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by badplanter on July 07, 2006 05:41 AM
the garden i'm talking about is full of veggies and herbs. the space is limited(because Staten Island is overpopulated, so our yard space is minimum, but i did fit alot of plants. 8 tomato plants, lettuce, radishes, green bell pepers, 2 cucumber plants, eggplant(which are not doing too well, because the water puddles all around these, which is way overwatering), strawberries(i posted a question on them in fruits and veggie gardening-Small strawberry trouble), basil, spearmint,and oregano. The garden I'm talking about is my only veggie garden, and i suppose the slope is managable--its just the puddleing that gets me. Thanks for all your help, ill try to post some pics today. FYI---most of my plants are still on the small side, becasue of my climate, i suppose, but they are getting there. Everything was planted the begining of june, i think.

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 -  - "I don't want no more of army life, gee mom, I wanna go, but they won't let me go, gee mom, I wanna go home!" My PB!
by Longy on July 07, 2006 10:59 AM
If the water is pooling, then you need to improve the drainage underneath the beds. Creating a place where water can runoff will do nothing to allow your soil itself to drain. Plants require air in the soil as well as moisture, so waterlogged soil is impossible for them to thrive in. Raising the beds is possibly the simplest way to do this. They don't have to be retained, depends on how high you go.
To improve your soils natural drainage, spread gypsum over the surface at a handful to the square yard and dig it into the soil along with large amounts of organic matter like compost, leaf mold, manures etc. Whatever you can get your hands on. Best to do this a small area at a time if sourcing the stuff is difficult. Not sure how available organic matter will be on Staten Is but if there is a horse racetrack or any animal husbandry ops going on there then you may have a source. There are always leaves available from parks and other public places.
Good luck. I look forward to your foto to get a better idea of your garden.

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The secret is the soil.
by badplanter on July 11, 2006 04:09 AM


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 -  - "I don't want no more of army life, gee mom, I wanna go, but they won't let me go, gee mom, I wanna go home!" My PB!
by badplanter on July 11, 2006 04:10 AM
sorry to keep you all waiting for the pics, but i finally took them--they should be on sometime today!

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 -  - "I don't want no more of army life, gee mom, I wanna go, but they won't let me go, gee mom, I wanna go home!" My PB!
by badplanter on July 11, 2006 06:25 AM
i got some pics of my garden--terrible quality, but they're there.(i hope )

http://s72.photobucket.com/albums/i191/JamesBonnd/

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by badplanter on July 11, 2006 06:26 AM
um..i dont think i did it right....but it was worth a shot

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by tkhooper on July 11, 2006 09:33 AM
there is the name of that stuff I mentioned in my earlier post. Jiffymouse knew what it was called and saved me.

hypertuffa

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by Longy on July 11, 2006 10:41 AM
Had a look at your fotos bp, i think the only problem you have is the clay soil needs breaking up. Add a bag of gypsum next season and dig it all over to a spade depth. Also add a few wheelbarrowloads of compost. If you can leave a mulch of straw or well rotted manure over the soil thru winter too it will help. Your soil is just too heavy and the water can't run thru it properly. The gypsum and compost will improve the texture of the soil. Your vegies seem to be growing OK so with some minor soil improvement you can have a great vegie garden

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The secret is the soil.
by badplanter on July 11, 2006 11:33 AM
ok, thanks for the help; i started composting recently, so that will help for next season. Now that i think aobut it, the soil does need to be "improved". I'll work it all out in the fall and early spring. Where can i buy gypsum? my local flowerist? a home/gardening store?

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by tkhooper on July 12, 2006 11:40 AM
www.planetnatural.com has it online I believe.

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by Longy on July 12, 2006 01:22 PM
You should be able to get it locally from a larger store that stocks a good amount of gardening stuff.

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The secret is the soil.
by badplanter on July 12, 2006 02:04 PM
ok, thanks so much everybody!!!!

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 -  - "I don't want no more of army life, gee mom, I wanna go, but they won't let me go, gee mom, I wanna go home!" My PB!
by Wrennie on July 13, 2006 01:02 AM
Lowes should have gypsum.
Steal...errr..... take everyones leaves that they rake up this fall. FREE compost! and lots more than you'd have from just your yard. [grin]

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