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Organize your garden shed

By Staff | Apr 8, 2011

Johnson has refurbished her barn’s old milk room and created a cozy potting/tool shed.

By ROBYN?KRUGER

Farm News staff writer

ASHTON – Spring has officially arrived according to our calendars and even though the weather might feel otherwise, gardeners across the state are becoming anxious to “dig in” to their spring plantings.

If cold temperatures are holding you back from delving into your regular spring activities, now is the time to get you and your supplies organized for the beautiful spring and summer that are bound to arrive.

Independent landscape designer Joan Johnson, of rural Ashton, has been preparing for this year’s growing season all winter.

An old Hoosier cupboard holds vases and fertilizers.

Having a seasonal profession as hers, Johnson said, allows her to stay indoors throughout much of the winter.

In her warm and cozy home office she is able to work on creating and tweaking her computer generated landscape designs.

Though most of Johnson’s job is to solve and create outdoor designs for others, a recent project allowed her to organize a personal gardening storage/work area for her home garden.

Johnson, with help from husband, Bill, has transformed an unused milk room attached to the couple’s old barn, into a gardening shed to house the tools and supplies she needs to streamline her outdoor chores.

“We decided on the project two years ago,” said Joan Johnson. “We started with contributions of old counter tops, cupboards, and brick given to us by friends and family.

An old garden rake holds smaller tools.

“My favorite find is an old screen door that has the same “bang” as the screen door I remember from my childhood.”

With these special items put into place, an old kitchen counter top graces one wall, and a desk with a large table top affixed serves as an island in the middle of the room.

An old Hoosier cupboard given to her by a brother holds vases, fertilizers and other miscellaneous items. Insecticides and fungicides with strong orders are kept in another cupboard.

Bill Johnson hung pegboard from the walls. Using “S” hooks (which can be found at one’s local hardware store) tools are hung for easy visual and physical access.

“Before I had the peg boards and shelves hung, my tools were all leaning in a corner and the pots were stacked as high as I could get them.

Peg board is used to hang gardening tools.

“It took determination to find a pruner when I needed one. I’d have an avalanche when grabbing a shovel. Having tools hanging on the walls and easily accessible has made my gardening experience even more enjoyable,” she said.

It is now that Joan shops at her favorite garden center to replace damaged tools and restock her fertilizers and insecticides.

“When it comes to gardening tools, you get what you pay for.” she said. “Nothing’s worse than a trowel that bends or a handle that falls off.”

As far as chemicals go, Johnson suggests the following items for a well-stocked gardener’s cupboard:

  • Blood meal to green up plants.
  • Bone meal for bulbs.
  • Aluminum sulfate for blue hydrangeas.
  • Rose powder with insecticide and fungicide.
  • Time release fertilizer for all potted plants.
  • Preemergent herbicide to prevent germination of weed seeds.
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer to use in vegetable and flower beds

Johnson also has some tips for going green in the garden. These include:

  • Fertilize with manure, but be sure it is well aged or it can burn tender plants.
  • A wonderful bug spray for plants can be made by combining water and a few squirts of hand soap and placing in a spray bottles.

Plants can be sprayed to rid them of bugs, but do remember to re-spray following rain or heavy dew.

  • To protect plants from pesky critters who nibble on leaves, boil one quart water with 3 tablespoons red pepper flakes (found in the spice section of the grocery store). Strain the mixture and place in a marked spray bottle. Spray directly on the plant. Again, remember to re-spray following rain or heavy dew.
  • An easy way to kill grass in small spaces for a new garden area is to cover the grassy area with wet newspapers and cover with more dirt. Leave black for several weeks.

Many bugs can be deterred with regular checking and a simple spray of water.

On days when the lingering winter weather gives way to the warm spring sun, Johnson said she’ll be busy removing “tree wrap” from her young trees.

Fall wrapping protects them from sunscald, hungry deer and rabbits.

She suggests waiting until the temps stay above 20 degrees before removing cones from roses.

Gardeners can get a little antsy this time of year. Johnson reminds those with spring fever to wait with applying preemergents and allow the new perennials that have seeded themselves to get a good start.

“Now is a good time to pick up sticks, rake the mold off of the grass and cut down last year’s perennials,” she said.

“It’s a beautiful time of year to be a gardener!”

For landscaping questions or ideas you can contact Johnson at jolojohn@gmail.com.

Contact Robyn Kruger at rangerob@hickorytech.net.

korytech.net.by by Robyn Kruger

Spring has officially arrived according to our calendars and even though the weather might feel otherwise, gardeners across the state are becoming anxious to “dig in” to their spring plantings!

If cold temperatures are holding you back from delving into your regular spring activities, now is the time to get you and your supplies organized for the beautiful spring and summer that are bound to arrive!

Independent landscape designer Joan Johnson of rural Ashton Iowa has been preparing for this year’s growing season all winter. Having a seasonal profession such as Joan’s, allows her to stay indoors throughout much of the winter. In her warm and cozy home office she is able to work on creating and tweaking her computer generated landscape designs. Though most of Joan’s job is to solve and create outdoor designs for others, a recent project allowed her to organize a personal gardening storage/work area for her home garden.

Joan, with help of her husband Bill has transformed an unused milk room attached to the couple’s old barn into gardening shed to house the tools and supplies she needs to stream-line her outdoor activities.

“We decided on the project two years ago,” said Joan. “We started with contributions of old counter tops, cupboards, and brick given to us by friends and family. My favorite find is an old screen door that has the same “bang” as the screen door I remember from my childhood.”

With these special items put into place: an old kitchen counter top graces one wall, and a desk with a large table top affixed serves as an island in the middle of the room. An old Hoosier cupboard given to her by a brother holds vases, fertilizers and other misc. items. Insecticides and fungicides with strong orders are kept in another cupboard.

Joan’s husband hung pegboard from the walls. Using “S” hooks (which can be found at your local hardware store) tools are hung for easy visual and physical access.

“Before I had the peg boards and shelves hung, my tools were all leaning in a corner and the pots were stacked as high as I could get them. It took determination to find a pruner when I needed one. I’d have an avalanche when grabbing a shovel. Having tools hanging on the walls and easily accessible has made my gardening experience even more enjoyable.” She proclaimed.

“When it comes to gardening tools, you get what you pay for.” she says. “Nothing’s worse than a trowel that bends or a handle that falls off.”

As far as chemicals go, Joan suggests the following items for a well stocked gardener’s cupboard

Blood meal to green up plants

Bone meal for bulbs

Aluminum sulfate for “blue hydrangea’s”

Rose powder with insecticide and fungicide

Time release fertilizer for all potted plants

Per-emergent herbicide to prevent germination of weed seeds

10-10-10 fertilizer to use in vegetable and flower bed

Joan also has some tips for going green in the garden.

Fertilize with manure but be sure it is well aged or it can burn tender plants.

A wonderful bug spray for plants can be made by combining water and a few squirts of hand soap and placing in a spray bottles. Plants can be sprayed to rid them of bugs but do remember to re-spray following rain or heavy dew.

To protect plants from pesky critters who nibble on leaves, boil one quart water with 3 tablespoons red pepper flakes (found in the spice section of the grocery store). Strain the mixture and place in a marked spray bottle. Spray directly on the plant..again, remember to re-spray following rain or heavy dew.

An easy way to kill grass in small spaces for a new garden area is to cover the grassy area with wet newspapers and cover with more dirt. Leave black for several weeks.

On days when the lingering winter weather gives way to the warm spring sun, Joan will be busy removing “tree wrap” from her young trees. Fall wrapping protects them from sun scald, hungry deer and rabbits.

Gardeners can get a little antsy this time of year. Joan reminds those with spring fever to wait with applying pre-emergent’s, and allow the new perennials that have seeded themselves to get a good start.

“Now is a good time to pick up sticks, rake the mold off of the grass and cut down last year’s perennials.” She suggests. “It’s a beautiful time of year to be a gardener!”

For landscaping questions or ideas you can contact Joan at jolojohn@gmail.com

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