Backyard Bonanza | General Home & Garden | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
Last Updated: 08/13/2013 4:04 pm

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8. Compost
A well-managed compost pile is a repository for both organic kitchen and garden clippings, eliminating the need for cartage and providing a source of nutrient-rich soil amendment, diminishing the overall garden costs. General composition requirements for a compost pile are one-third dry materials (leaf litters, straw), one-third green materials (kitchen waste including bones, tea leaves, coffee grounds, eggshells, and citrus rinds but excluding meats and oils), and one-third soil—the top layer to speed decomposition and keep the odor down to a minimal level. If space allows, a three-bin system is the most dynamic according to Bellar. “One is ready to use, one is almost there and only gets new material that breaks down really quickly, and one that is just starting where most new garden debris gets dumped.” Winter doesn’t have to halt composting—Bellar keeps a garbage can with air holes outside the back door for his kitchen scraps. “It is so heavy in the spring that I have to use a hand truck to get it to the compost bin to dump it.”

9. Hardscapes

Inanimate garden elements such as trellises, fences, fountains, and other structures are considered hardscapes. During Northeast winters, movement can take place in the Earth, causing stones to shift and posts to get shaky. Bellar advises to “check where a screw is loose (except your own) or a piece of wood is rotting. A little attention now can keep people from tripping on a tippy stone or stop a trellis from collapsing midseason.” Lehmuhler believes that “in this area fences are a must not only for deer but for resident woodchucks, skunks, and rabbits. A fine wire-mesh-with-cedar-post fence can disappear into the landscape, or, better yet, become a sculptural/decorative part of the garden.” Greenberg encourages “adding a fountain to drown out undesirable noise.” Consider adding objets d’art—“found or otherwise obtained and change the compositions throughout the year as inspiration bids, be it hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonally. Start planning and gathering materials now,” recommends Oppenheimer.

10. Critter Control

Defending delectable garden smorgasbords against the region’s resident critters is constant component of gardening. Fences provide fool-proof protection from hungry critters yet are costly to build. Chemicals and toxins are out. In are natural repellants like Liquid Fence and Plantskyyd—both very smelly and not pleasant to apply but effective. Bellar tried Plantskyyd, a blood product, this past year and over the winter to save his evergreens, and admits, “It is a little harder to use but lasts longer and does not have to be reapplied after every rain like Liquid Fence.” Milorganite is a small pellet fertilizer that is also a very effective deer repellent in the early spring, when the young shoots are extra-tasty and close to the ground.” Roland promotes the use of “aromatic pest confusers”—members of the allium family. Critters’ sensitive noses avoid strongly scented chives, onions, shallots, garlic, and bunching onions. Interplant freely amidst ornamentals and edibles. Alliums usually have strongly defined blue-green leaf structure and interesting round seed heads for aesthetics. Plus, humans enjoy eating them too.

Appleseed Permaculture
Catskill Native Nursery
Fox Stoneworks
Inner Garden
Ninebark LLC
Lee Reich
Zone 4 Landscapes
Licorice Root Mulch (860) 619-8028


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