Saturday, March 05, 2011

March on the Paths

March is the month I love my garden paths the most.

I have a long list of things to do in the garden from March through May – cleanup leaves, branches, dried plants; prune the crepe myrtle, pussy willow, euonymus, japonica, roses; divide liriope, black-eyed susan, phlox, daylilies, mums. Soon there will be mulch to spread and weeds to pull followed by deadheading and planting. As the snow melts, the temptation get on with the job is overwhelming.

But the ground is soft and spongy

Good soil consists of 45% mineral materials and 5% living and dead organic materials and 50% pore space for air and water. All are necessary for good plant growth. Damp soils compact easily, squeezing out air and water. Roots have trouble growing and taking up nutrients. I try not to walk on the spongy soil (or on the sleeping perennials hidden under the soil).

This is when I really I appreciate the paths in the garden. I can reach a lot from the paths. Some paths are for wandering from place to place but almost every garden that is wider than 4 feet has a path for maintenance. That way I can keep my big feet out of the garden and march on the paths.

More information from the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension “Combating Soil Compaction.” (PDF)


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