All Things Gardening forum: Before and after. Bye bye thistles!!

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Tracy, CA 9a
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Apr 10, 2018 11:04 AM CST

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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Apr 10, 2018 5:35 PM CST
Good job! You have some mighty pretty soil in that bed. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Tracy, CA 9a
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Apr 10, 2018 7:30 PM CST
Thank you greene! I had a bag of good soil that had been laying around for awhile and I thought it would be good for seeds. That will be a seed bed for wild flowers and some other random seeds. I have to get the seeds in the ground before it's too late. I had planned to plant the seeds in an area where there is crab grass but removing that is just taking too long. I'll keep taking my time adding transplants to my big garden where the crab grass is but this bed was my race against time. The seeds weren't expensive so if It's too late at least I tried lol. Iam in 9a so I think Iam about a month behind. Our growing season is pretty much year round so I'll be positive and assume they will be ok. They are all perennials. But our summers get really hot and windy. I'll be driving my husband mad with all the watering, but if you want a pretty front yard you have to keep care of the pretty babies you worked hard to plant. Thank You!
Tracy, CA 9a
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Apr 11, 2018 12:01 PM CST

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Seeds are sown and fertilized and bug repellent put out and watered. This will be my wonder garden. I'll keep this beds progress on this thread 😀 Crossing Fingers!

Name: Tia Doskocil
Texas
tiadoskocil
Apr 11, 2018 3:06 PM CST
Looks great!
Tracy, CA 9a
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Apr 11, 2018 4:19 PM CST
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Apr 11, 2018 4:47 PM CST
Very nice! I, too, covet the soil.

Thistles can be very difficult to eradicate once they have moved in. When I lived in NJ I had some that came back from the roots repeatedly over three or four years. Then I sprayed them with Roundup a couple times and they went away for good. But the roses in that part of the garden were ruined.

What did you use to kill the thistles?
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Apr 11, 2018 4:52 PM CST
Hand pulling?
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Tracy, CA 9a
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Apr 11, 2018 4:58 PM CST
Hand pulling. I was hoping that getting them out before they had a chance to drop seeds would kind of weed them out, no pun intended...lol. I didn't even think about them coming back from roots though I did try to get all the roots. And then you feel a snap and know you didn't get the entire root. Iam scared of herbicides. I am sorry about your 🌹 roses. And thistles sometimes stab you through your gloves. I dislike those things very much. My neighbor doesn't seem to mind them unfortunately.
[Last edited by MindiHammerstone - Apr 11, 2018 5:00 PM (+)]
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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Beavers
Dragonflies Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers
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Bonehead
Apr 11, 2018 5:05 PM CST
Great job! My experience with thistles is if you just keep after new growth, they will eventually die off. Be persistent.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Tracy, CA 9a
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Apr 11, 2018 5:43 PM CST
Thank you!! 😀😀😀
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Apr 11, 2018 5:45 PM CST
I know what you mean about thistle spines. I always forget to use gloves. So whenever I pull one up I recall advice of an ancient Greek or Roman writer who advised "If you must pull up a thistle, grip it tightly..." Interestingly, it works. For prickly pear cactus, not so much. Leather gloves are definitely a better choice in both cases.

I'm lucky enough to live in a place almost devoid of thistles. Bindweed's the thing here. Pulling (digging) it up a few times a season - if you get all of it - seems to keep it in bounds. Six years of practice has not eradicated it, yet. At least here it's more pleasant to be in the garden than it was in NJ in the heat of summer or cold of winter, so jobs like this are getting done a little better.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Tracy, CA 9a
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Apr 11, 2018 5:55 PM CST
Here where I live it's so windy at times you come in with wind burn on your face. I'm kind of encroaching further and further into the lawn. Our lawn is crappy anyway. Filled with crab grass and stuff from when the people who owned the house before us had a roll out lawn. I have to cut it bit by bit. It's like fishing line in small squares under the topsoil. Then there's the droppings from the pepper tree...and a plum tree that puts out a ton of two inch fruit. It's pretty for about a week but it is an amazing ladybug breeding place. Seriously. Thousand of ladybugs in all stages cover that tree. So there is a benefit to it. I don't know if the birds eat the pepper seeds though. They sure hang out on it though!!
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Apr 11, 2018 6:13 PM CST
Here the burn is from sun. High altitude, low humidity. I do hope my own plum trees eventually draw more ladybugs. I need them to eat the aphids and thrips that infest my roses early in the season.

I've never been a big fan of turf, though I do understand who small patches of it can provide a lovely flat plane to sort of frame all other more vertical plants. Have you considered growing xeriscape plants as part of your garden pallet. Hot, dry wind can suck the moisture out of pansies (and the like) pretty quickly. Of course, wild flowers are also a great start. Any California poppies? Showy primrose? Batchelors Buttons?
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Tracy, CA 9a
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Apr 11, 2018 7:08 PM CST
Yeah I just got home from my daughters tutoring and one of my pansies was flat. I watered this morning but not in the afternoon thinking a storm is coming so I didn't need to do it. I looked at the soil and it was already dry so I watered everything. It's always a plant that you are particularly fond of that goes flat or something. I gently loosened the flat pansies little stems, flowers, and leaves just so they didn't really adhere to the soil and hopefully comes back up. A bright happy yellow one.

I believe that the wildflowers had all of those and I also put in the rest of my seed pockets that I didn't want to waste as the planting time is probably a month past. I had plans for them but getting the crabgrass out was taking too long. I am sure I overplanted but I'll let nature take its course now and let what comes up do just that. I think it would be fun to play a game with this bed and see if and when people here can guess what the seedlings are. I added more poppies, I edged with two kinds of sunflowers and there are sweet peas mixed with the sunflowers. Some cosmos. And the wild mix. So I know I overdid it. But I'll see what happens and I threw away the packages so I'll be surprised when stuff blooms lol. There was nowhere else to plant the packs of seeds I accumulated. Kind of a gardening crime I think lol but we'll see!!!
Tracy, CA 9a
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Apr 11, 2018 7:16 PM CST
Oh and out here we have hot hot and windy summers. Over 100 F is not unusual. I'll be doing a lot of watering this season. I hope I can keep everything going!!
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Apr 11, 2018 8:55 PM CST
MindiHammerstone said:Hand pulling. I was hoping that getting them out before they had a chance to drop seeds would kind of weed them out, no pun intended...lol. I didn't even think about them coming back from roots though I did try to get all the roots. And then you feel a snap and know you didn't get the entire root. Iam scared of herbicides. I am sorry about your 🌹 roses. And thistles sometimes stab you through your gloves. I dislike those things very much. My neighbor doesn't seem to mind them unfortunately.

IF -- IF -- that is a perennial thistle, Canadian and some others, you are in a world of hurt as it will reproduce and it seems , to me, where there was one plant now there will be two or three.
Those thistles on the edge of the picture will also send rhizomes over now to join the ones you removed.
You will either have use a systemic vegetation killer carefully or you they will never go away and get worse.
You will find out some time later this year if they are the perennial type, plus next spring there will more young'uns coming up.

I am not saying this to scare you but if they are perennial, just the facts ma'am.

[Last edited by RpR - Apr 12, 2018 3:56 PM (+)]
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Tracy, CA 9a
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Apr 11, 2018 9:25 PM CST
Thank you for your response R2R. That left hand side with the missing fence slats is between my house and my neighbors. Lots of thistles and really high sort of dandilion things. We've been here for 3 years and haven't discussed the fence with the neighbors. We have some stuff to fix so we don't want the cost of fixing that fence. Sometimes they mow it down. I hope they mow it before the seeds drop or the Fox tails disperse. Those are a pain too.
Tracy, CA 9a
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Apr 11, 2018 10:38 PM CST
Storm has been here for a half an hour. Dumped a lot of 💦 💧 water.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Apr 12, 2018 6:50 AM CST
When I lived on the east coast I generally did not like rain that much. Now that I live where sunlight is so plentiful I generally feel a sense of joy when it rains. I hope you enjoyed the storm.

With your neighbor's property harboring and cultivating thistles for you, I'm thinking this may be an uphill battle. And maybe at some point you will have to elicit their help - even if that means getting permission to eradicate thistles on their side of the fence periodically. One technique that I have found useful in prepping new and troublesome soil is to cover an area with a tarp for a full four or five months during the growing season. Obviously, while there are thistles at the edge of the area this cannot work. But if all of the thistles were covered over, I think the technique has a fighting chance. I've never used it to kill thistles; but where I have used it, I've ended up with soil that was well suited to new plantings.

Even though I have been gardening for some time I find that I am impatient. But in the case of Canadian thistles, it seems to me that patient eradication before planting (of shrubs and perennials) will save a lot of misery and frustration down the line.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.

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