Barry from Avoyelles Parish called AHA on behalf of a neighbor who wants to start a garden this spring. His neighbor wants to know how to garden on a concrete slab.
We discussed the idea of container gardening, and then AHA tried to find extension websites about “slab gardening”, but our extension friends had little to share. The best information came from a private blog, “How to Build a Raised Garden Bed on Concrete, Patio, or Hard Surface” on www.homesteadandchill.com . AHA read the blog and then read about the author, DeannaKat. The author had been gardening for 15 years, and she wrote an instructive article about the challenge of gardening on a concrete slab. She also provides excellent photos of her slab garden.
Here is a summary of the blog:
This narrative only summarizes the process of slab gardening, and readers would benefit from seeing the original blog cited above.
Also, the AgCenter has its own articles about both container and raised bed gardening at www.lsuagcenter.com .
Tee from Grant Parish asked if, instead of buying mulch to put around thornless blackberry bushes, can he put oak leaves that he raked?
The short answer is “yes”! Landscape waste such as tree leaves, pine straw, grass clippings and wood chips are excellent mulches. A power shredder can improve tree leaves into a finer texture and avoid the loss of leaves to wind. A layer of two to three inches will prevent weeds, add nutrients, and retain moisture. The only cost is the effort to collecting this organic material for repurposing in the landscape.
Brenda sent an email with pictures of a cool season weed, “I was hoping you could identify the weed I have taking over my lawn. I've attached a picture of it. If you know it, could you please let me know what I can use to kill it.”
Wild strawberry or mock Indian strawberry (MIS) is a cool season weed that prefers to grow where turf is thin. AHA addressed the question about a suitable herbicide, “You can use a product like Weed B Gon™ to kill broadleaf weeds in your lawn. This herbicide is selective and safe for turf.
Another product that I have used is Image™ with atrazine. It is safe for lawns, too and will kill broadleaf weeds. The bottles of Image™ look similar so be sure to look for “atrazine” on the label. A long-term solution is to encourage healthy grass with fertilizing and with correct mowing height. The AgCenter has a publication, Louisiana Home Lawn Series: Indian mock strawberry, which is a downloadable document with details on how to control MIS.
Another weed is called “ponyfoot” or dichondra and is a warm season weed beginning to appear as the winter subsides and as spring emerges.
The treatment for dichondra is very similar to MIL:
Louisiana Home Lawn Series: Dichondra is a downloadable publication from the LSU AgCenter, and it provides specific information about treating dichondra successfully.
George is an Advanced Master Gardeners and shared his success in an email, “After days of winter gloom, the happy place of the greenhouse makes a smile. The sweet 100 tomatoes even have a few marble fruits. The Master Gardener strawberries have small blooms. And seedlings of Celebrity, Grape, and Early Girl tomatoes are enjoying the sun today. Also, many types of squash plants are putting on their first true leaves. Therefore, I should have extra plants for the Master Gardener sale. One tomato plant should produce 10 lbs. of fruit and we have 27 plants growing - we don’t need 270 lbs. of tomatoes!” 😊
“I did change to a higher output heater from two IR [infra-red] heat lamps to a German BioGreen Palma™ thermostat heater. [It is] Good for a small greenhouse of 12 x 16 ft with a curved roof.”
If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337.284.5188 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”
“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”
Figure 1. Gardening on a slab.
Figure 2. Leaf Mulch
Figure 3. Mock Indian Strawberry
Figure 4. Ponyfoot
Figure 5. Happy Greenhouse from Master Gardener George Giltner