Wait until the ground has begun to freeze before mulching bulb beds. Mulching earlier will encourage bulb-munching rodents like mice and voles to nest there. A 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch will help prevent freeze-thaw cycles that can heave bulbs out of the ground; however, mulching is not absolutely necessary except in coldest areas.
The most efficient decomposing bacteria thrive in temperatures between 110F and 160F. Thus, the hotter the pile, the faster the composting. If you achieve a good balance of carbon and nitrogen, provide lots of surface area within a large volume of material, and maintain adequate moisture and aeration, the temperature will rise over several days.
Biennials are started from seed the first year then they flower and die the second year. There are many exceptions to this description. Some biennials self seed so appear to be perennial. Others, such as pansy, are grown as annuals. The seed is usually started during the summer of the first year.
Moles don’t usually eat plant matter, focusing instead on insects. However, rodents such as mice and voles use their tunnels like a subway, and they do eat roots and bulbs. As you plant, mix products made from crushed oyster shells into the soil surrounding the bulb. This makes for tough digging for the rodents, and they might be induced to look elsewhere for a meal. Some gardeners resort to planting bulbs in little cages made of hardware cloth (wire mesh) to keep critters from munching on the bulbs.
If the microorganisms have more surface area to feed on, the materials will break down faster. Chopping your garden debris with a machete, or using a chipper, shredder, or lawnmower to shred materials will help them decompose faster.
Cleaners and other chemicals entering drain fields can injure plants when they are leached into soil near plants. Leaf scorch is likely to be the primary symptom.
If deer are hungry enough, they will eat almost any plant. However, some plants are less appealing than others, depending on what your local population has learned to eat so far. Daffodils are often cited as being deerproof, along with glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa) and crocus. Unfortunately, tulips and lilies are deer favorites. You might ask some of your neighbors if they have had luck with any particular plants, then try those in small quantities as an experiment. Many gardeners use repellent sprays with varying success, but to be as effective as possible they must be applied and reapplied according to the instructions. Home remedies include using soap, blood meal, human hair, and so on, but in the end the only truly reliable solution is a deer-proof fence.
The microorganisms in the compost pile function best when the materials are as damp as a wrung-out sponge and have many air passages. Extremes of sun or rain can adversely affect the balance of air and moisture in your pile. The air in the pile is usually used up faster than the moisture, so the materials must be turned or mixed up occasionallly to add air that will sustain high temperatures and control odor. Materials can be turned with a pitchfork, rake, or other garden tool.
Several types of injury occur during construction. Those covered under other sections are grade changes and soil compaction. The other type of injury is mechanical injury to trunks. If the injury is minor, the tree will heal the wound with no difficulty. A major bark removal may kill some portion of the tree. Several wounds may girdle and kill a tree.
Making separate holes is time-consuming, so an easy way to plant a large area is to remove the top layer of soil to the appropriate depth, add low nitrogen fertilizer according to package directions, set the bulbs in place, and then cover the area with soil. For a natural look, some gardeners gently toss the bulbs in and plant them where they land.