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Eskimo Joe

2018 Mid Atlantic Lawn/Garden/Pool Thread

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With winter now behind us, it's time to get into summer mode and that means: lawn, gardens and pools!  Started off yesterday by roto tilling the side garden and looking to put a couple more 4' x 10' raised beds in the next year or so.  

So far I've planted:

  • Music garlic (100 cloves)
  • Georgian Red garlic (60 cloves)

So far I've ordered these seeds:

  • Squash - Waltham Butternut & Long Island Cheese
  • Cucumber - Early Fortune & ISIS
  • Beets - Bull's Blood & Burpee Golden
  • Pepper - Jalapeno Traveler Strain
  • Tomatillo - Purple
  • Radish - French Breakfast
  • Tomato - Berkley Pink Tie Dye , Black Beauty, Kellogg's Breakfast, Rutgers, German Gold
  • Poppy - Black Swan
  • Sunflower - Russian Mammoth, Autumn Surprise
  • Lupine - Purple Cosmos
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I've been waiting for this thread...

I'm putting in a fence in my backyard, which is sadly mostly dirt and moss with a little bit of grass. Facing NE and with trees above, I need a good shady grass seed solution. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. My neighbor's lawn is basically all dirt and it hurts my soul.

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1 hour ago, Ellinwood said:

I've been waiting for this thread...

I'm putting in a fence in my backyard, which is sadly mostly dirt and moss with a little bit of grass. Facing NE and with trees above, I need a good shady grass seed solution. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. My neighbor's lawn is basically all dirt and it hurts my soul.

Does it have to be grass or would a nice green ground cover work for you? I'm not sure how big a yard you've got, but a smaller lot with nice ground cover with crushed stone paths leading to a patio seating area is very do-able and easy to maintain. But if you have a larger lot, kids, or are trying to make a play area, it would depend on the degree of shade. Fine fescues do well in shade, but they are not as desirable as tall fescues nor as durable. If there's enough light filtering through, you may get away with a tall fescue.

The southwest side of the fence will probably be very shady but azaleas and rhododendrons do well in those situations if you want to put a garden bed along the fence.

 

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34 minutes ago, nw baltimore wx said:

Does it have to be grass or would a nice green ground cover work for you? I'm not sure how big a yard you've got, but a smaller lot with nice ground cover with crushed stone paths leading to a patio seating area is very do-able and easy to maintain. But if you have a larger lot, kids, or are trying to make a play area, it would depend on the degree of shade. Fine fescues do well in shade, but they are not as desirable as tall fescues nor as durable. If there's enough light filtering through, you may get away with a tall fescue.

The southwest side of the fence will probably be very shady but azaleas and rhododendrons do well in those situations if you want to put a garden bed along the fence.

 

The moss may be an indication of poor soil. From my experience, rhodos don’t do too well unless they’re in complete shade, with good, moist soil. I agree with the azaleas.

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3 minutes ago, Jandurin said:

I should take pics of my yard at various times of day and get suggestions on what to plant

A good rule is less than 2 hours, shade, under 4, partial shade, 4-6, partial sun, 7+ full sun.

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1 minute ago, Jandurin said:

Sounds close to what I'd had set in mind

Obviously you’re gonna get some individual specimens that normally need full sun, thrive in a shady spot. And vice versa. Also, if you’ve seen a deer within 2000 miles in the past decade, do not plant hostas. Or Black-eyed Susans, or cone flowers.

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Obviously you’re gonna get some individual specimens that normally need full sun, thrive in a shady spot. And vice versa. Also, if you’ve seen a deer within 2000 miles in the past decade, do not plant hostas. Or Black-eyed Susans, or cone flowers.
I have roving herds
They even eat my azaleas in winter

Even the branches

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1 hour ago, T. August said:

Obviously you’re gonna get some individual specimens that normally need full sun, thrive in a shady spot. And vice versa. Also, if you’ve seen a deer within 2000 miles in the past decade, do not plant hostas. Or Black-eyed Susans, or cone flowers.

That's interesting, we haven't had any problem with cone flowers.  Hostas are basically just deer food.  They also love cucumber plants for some reason.

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12 hours ago, nw baltimore wx said:

Does it have to be grass or would a nice green ground cover work for you? I'm not sure how big a yard you've got, but a smaller lot with nice ground cover with crushed stone paths leading to a patio seating area is very do-able and easy to maintain. But if you have a larger lot, kids, or are trying to make a play area, it would depend on the degree of shade. Fine fescues do well in shade, but they are not as desirable as tall fescues nor as durable. If there's enough light filtering through, you may get away with a tall fescue.

The southwest side of the fence will probably be very shady but azaleas and rhododendrons do well in those situations if you want to put a garden bed along the fence.

 

Thanks for the tips. I would prefer all/mostly grass since I have a dog (soon to be 2) that I want to give maximum yard space to. The area is about 12×16 feet. We have the same amount of space within the fence area that is stone under a deck. Can't really do fertilizer because the yard drains directly into a lake, but I can look at rototilling in some new dirt.

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56 minutes ago, Ellinwood said:

Thanks for the tips. I would prefer all/mostly grass since I have a dog (soon to be 2) that I want to give maximum yard space to. The area is about 12×16 feet. We have the same amount of space within the fence area that is stone under a deck. Can't really do fertilizer because the yard drains directly into a lake, but I can look at rototilling in some new dirt.

Does the area get any sunlight?  With an area that size, if you get any sunlight, I'd go with sod.  There's a sod distribution center west of Burtonsville on Spencerville Rd that you can go to directly and pick up the rolls that you need and you'd have an instant yard.  It's grown near Annapolis and I've had great success with it.  The rolls are about 10 sq ft and I seem to remember them being under $5 a roll so you'd have a great looking yard for about a hundred bucks.  If you only have a car, you might need to do a couple of trips because sod is heavy, but here's the website that you'll want to read through. 

https://www.southernstatesturf.com/sod/

Notice on the bottom that they recommend at least 6 hours of sunlight for the tall fescue but even without the sunlight, you can put it down and overseed with a fine fescue.  I'd wait for fall to do that.

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1 hour ago, nw baltimore wx said:

Does the area get any sunlight?  With an area that size, if you get any sunlight, I'd go with sod.  There's a sod distribution center west of Burtonsville on Spencerville Rd that you can go to directly and pick up the rolls that you need and you'd have an instant yard.  It's grown near Annapolis and I've had great success with it.  The rolls are about 10 sq ft and I seem to remember them being under $5 a roll so you'd have a great looking yard for about a hundred bucks.  If you only have a car, you might need to do a couple of trips because sod is heavy, but here's the website that you'll want to read through. 

https://www.southernstatesturf.com/sod/

Notice on the bottom that they recommend at least 6 hours of sunlight for the tall fescue but even without the sunlight, you can put it down and overseed with a fine fescue.  I'd wait for fall to do that.

Interesting. I'd say the yard gets about 2-3 hours of sunlight per day... with trees bordering the grass to the east and my house to the west, it's no wonder the whole row of houses I'm along struggle with their backyards.

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Gonna try and do a lot of hardscaping this year, it’ll really tie in the property. Curved stamped concrete is verrrrrry tough and expensive though. I mean this one job I have concocted in my head will prob run 10-12k. 

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Sod will need way too much sun. You are likely to need to go with finer fescue like creeping red or others. May want to listen to this. https://ext.vt.edu/lawn-garden/turfandgardentips/tips/turfgrass-varieties-mid-atlantic-lawns-2008.html#

 

Also, some peat and dried and treated manure can do great for fertilizer alternatives. Corn gluten meal can deter weeds once you have a good lawn(not before) and I recommend compost as well. Aerate in the fall, and overseed again then. Fall is the best time to plant! One potential challenge will be fungus and I do not know how to keep that away other than chemicals which I would steer clear of with dogs. Even natural treatments for fungus can be a problem. Weeding is something I would do by hand or just work with after the lawn is doing well. Because it is shaded you may want to test the ph level as well.

if you do go with thicker fescue, mow as high as you are comfortable with, but at least 3 inches . For bugs I like permethrin, but use carefully 

 

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I've been putting pine needles as the bed for my azaleas

Am I helping or hindering

I think I read they like slightly acidic which pine needles would help with?

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1 hour ago, Jandurin said:

I've been putting pine needles as the bed for my azaleas

Am I helping or hindering

I think I read they like slightly acidic which pine needles would help with?

It must be good. It's what they use at Augusta. ;)

Pine needles are nature's Holly Tone. So yes, helping.

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On 3/19/2018 at 3:34 PM, Ellinwood said:

I've been waiting for this thread...

I'm putting in a fence in my backyard, which is sadly mostly dirt and moss with a little bit of grass. Facing NE and with trees above, I need a good shady grass seed solution. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. My neighbor's lawn is basically all dirt and it hurts my soul.

A picture or two would help.  I've got some ideas.

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On 3/25/2018 at 4:48 PM, Eskimo Joe said:

A picture or two would help.  I've got some ideas.

Will do after the fence goes in next week.

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Planted potatoes, carrots, and onions today, first time I have ever planted them. I also planted seeds for basil, spinach, and kale. I recently bought a small greenhouse, I will hopefully set that up soon. 

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11 hours ago, ThePhotoGuy said:

Planted potatoes, carrots, and onions today, first time I have ever planted them. I also planted seeds for basil, spinach, and kale. I recently bought a small greenhouse, I will hopefully set that up soon. 

Onions will do well as the cool weather will allow them to slowly grow.  They do not like a fast transition to hot weather.  Carrots are a tad finiky with soil temperature and type.  Heavy clay soil that is not properly broken up and aerated will stunt growth.  Be careful with the greenhouse once May rolls around.  If you do not provide some basic ventilation you will literally steam the plants.  It happened to us the other year.  I put a small mobile greenhouse on the deck and came home to steamed tomato seedlings.  

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On 3/29/2018 at 9:45 AM, Eskimo Joe said:

Onions will do well as the cool weather will allow them to slowly grow.  They do not like a fast transition to hot weather.  Carrots are a tad finiky with soil temperature and type.  Heavy clay soil that is not properly broken up and aerated will stunt growth.  Be careful with the greenhouse once May rolls around.  If you do not provide some basic ventilation you will literally steam the plants.  It happened to us the other year.  I put a small mobile greenhouse on the deck and came home to steamed tomato seedlings.  

Thank you for the tips! I am home most days so I can monitor it. I will probably get one of the cheaper thermometers with the inside display so I can monitor temperatures inside the greenhouse. 

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Current look at the yard, facing east. Trees to the east, row of townhouses to the west. The plants are just there temporarily, as I had to pull them last week in order for the fence to go up. The raised garden area hides tree roots, so I'm not quite sure what to do with that spot. Non-stone area inside the fence is ~12x25 feet. Gonna plan on putting grass in toward the end of the month.

20180410_yard.jpg

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^^

Cute dog.  Keeping it simple, sod on the left in the 16 X 12 area as well as the area to the right nearest the stone.  I'd mulch around the tree in the back corner to the right. If you can get into the ground between the roots of the tree, that liriope can be re-planted or you can mulch the area between the stone and the tree roots to the right instead of sodding and put the liriope in there.

Finally, I'd screw a bottle opener and cap collector on one of those 4 X 4 posts. ;)

 

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Officially taking out my raised bed this year. We have been part of a CSA for close to 7 years now and get all of what I used to plant. My last garden got attacked by stink bugs so much that nothing stopped them. Our yard backs to farm land and what ever is over there comes over to my yard. 

Going to take the spot where the bed was and make a small rock patio to place our fire pit on. Also need to remove/transplant a Hydrangea that was supposed to be a mini but got way too large for the place it is.  

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moved about 60 concrete cylinders that are 1x0.5 from around our pool area to hardscape a garden space out in the yard a couple weekends ago (the nice 80 degree Saturday). Going to use it as a brush pile/burn pit during off growing season. Trimmed trees for spring and burned it all last weekend. Going to till it all up this weekend. Need to put a fence around to keep the deer/rabbits out and all plants go in Mothers Day weekend.

I am so excited to finally have a real hardscaped plot in the yard for a garden. I've been planting things in random places where I can find space, or in containers on the deck. 

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Going to harden the tomatoes off starting Tuesday.  I plan on getting all our flower beds ready over the course of the week and then planting out next weekend.  Sunflowers, pumpkins and squash seeds will be planted this week as well.  We are going to experiment with a Russian Mammoth sunflower cultivar and I'm super excited to see what happens.  They apparently grow 10' - 12' and have a flower head at least one foot in diameter.

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