michellepotter
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 5:38 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Newbie gardener, old dead garden, & a can of wildflower

Ok. I'll start by saying that I know NOTHING about gardening. I have never even kept a potted plant alive. We recently bought a house that has been neglected. It's obvious that there used to be a lot of gardens, but they are all either dead or overgrown. There are two plots by the driveway that I thought I'd start with.

These are two small rectangular plots, bordered by wood planks, side by side. They get plenty of sunshine pretty much all day long. In one of them, the dirt has gotten hard and packed and nothing grows there. In the other, grass and weeds have totally taken over.

My husband bought me a little garden rake (the hand-held kind) and a canister of wildflower seeds. It's 19 different kinds of flowers (annuals and perennials) to attract butterflies. So I used the rake to break up the hard dirt and pull out the grass and weeds. Underneath the dirt I found this black fabric. I guess this was the floor of the garden, to keep weeds from coming up underneath? Anyway, it's all torn up and useless and pokes out of the dirt in some places, but I can't pull it out.

I followed the instructions on the can of seeds and broke up the dirt to three inches down. Then I covered the seeds with about 1/8" of dirt and watered. It says to use a "fine mist," so I used a spray bottle that I only use for water. I sprayed enough to make sure the dirt was good and moist, and then when it immediately sucked up all the water and looked dry again, I sprayed again. I assumed that the idea of a "fine mist" was to keep the seeds from washing away, right?

So here's the thing. I planted yesterday, and I went out today and there's grass growing in the garden again already! I know it can't be the flowers, yet. I tried to pull the grass up by the roots, but it's very strong and I couldn't get it all. Plus I was afraid I was disrupting the seeds too much. I suppose I could keep going out there and pulling it up every day, but when the flowers start to come up, how will I know them from the weeds? I'm afraid to use weedkiller, because aren't wildflowers essentially pretty weeds? I don't want to kill them!

A friend suggested that I grow the flowers in a pot and then transfer them to the garden. I will try that soon, but in the meantime I am hoping I didn't waste the seeds I already planted. I'm wondering if I need to get like a shovel and just take out all the dirt in those gardens, lay down some more of that black fabric, and then put store-bought soil down to plant in. Do I need to be that drastic, or can I work with the garden as it is?

Also... In the spring and summertime these pretty little pink clover flowers and little white flowers (I think they are called Stars of Bethlehem?) and what looks like tiny wild strawberries all grow wild in the backyard. I like them, and I want to encourage them. (My kids have more fun playing in grass that's a bit long with flowers growing in it than a perfectly manicured lawn.) I was wondering if I sprinkled some of these wildflower seeds in the grass, if they would grow. Do you think they would?
Michelle
wife to 1, mommy to 7

bullthistle
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:26 pm
Location: North Carolina

Since you are new no sense biting off too much and have a stroke. Weeds and their seeds will always exist. Transferring seedlings from a pot will be a pain too. First if the boards are rotted remove them. Second, get the weed barrier out of the bed. All of it. Third, by some composted cow manure at a big box store, and use a shovel or a pitch fork and turn the manure under the existing soil. Some of the seeds will still germinate that you already planted, it just may take longer. And throw and handful of bonemeal on the soil and rake it under. Bonemeal will promote root growth. Re-seed if you want or wait and see what germinates. Do one area at a time.

michellepotter
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 5:38 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Thank you for the advice! A couple of questions:

1) What's a big box store? Is that like slang for Home Depot, etc.? Or something else?

2) What is bonemeal?

3) How much composted manure and bonemeal do you think for just under 12 square feet of garden?
Michelle
wife to 1, mommy to 7

bullthistle
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:26 pm
Location: North Carolina

Bone meal promotes root growth, usually in a 4lb. box at Wal Mart. A 40 lb. bag of cow manure would be great for 12 sq. ft. 3X4? Try to turn it over at least six inches deep. Read the ingredients in the cow manure. Sometimes there is sand which is a filler.

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