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 Post subject: easy to maintain ideas for 1 acre
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2003 2:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2003 2:42 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Weatherford, Texas
Hi. I hope I'm posting in the right place.

My home is at the front of a once acre site that slopes from front to back. Almost all of the site is mowed weeds and grass. I have no real lawn.

Does anyone have any ideas for ways to utilize this acre that would be useful, interesting and not require mowing. I want to reduce the amount of land that has to be mowed as much as possible.

I have no fences or anything at the moment and very little money for this project - and I have no idea where I want to start.

Thanks for any advice you may have.

Gip


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2003 3:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 4:33 pm
Posts: 526
Location: parker county, texas
Hey, welcome to another Weatherfordite, lol. If I had a one acre lot that I didn't want to mow, (and it would take years to achieve this), I would turn it into a series of native plant gardens with just mulched pathways to walk and I would probably put a pond area in there somewhere and a pretty screened in gazebo (to keep mosquitoes out). The reason I would go with native and desert plants is to keep my water usage down. If you want to keep costs low, you can plant from seed- it just takes alot longer to get good-sized plants this way. Depending on what direction you are from Weatherford, you could have dark heavy clay soil, nice sandy soil, or rocky soil. What kind do you have to work with? Also, to keep costs down, there's all kinds of scavenging for materials that you can do (ie for rocks, stone, bricks, wood scraps). To get your compost or other amendments, and if you have a pick-up, you can drive to Clear Fork Materials or Silvercreek and have them load it into your truck and it will cost alot less, or you can make your own compost. Do you want strictly ornamentals or do you want to grow edibles also?


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2003 3:14 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2003 2:42 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Weatherford, Texas
Thanks for the quick response, dragonfly. I'm actually halfway to Springtown, so it's all rocky soil - or soily rock - around here. I have lots of fairly large rocks I could landscape with if I knew what to do.

I can't even plant trees without an auger, which I need to rent soon.

I want to get a bigger vegetable garden going and find any other kinds of creative solutions I can to cut down on mowing and in general keep it low maintanence.

Gip


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2003 9:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 4:33 pm
Posts: 526
Location: parker county, texas
Ooh, rocky. That sounds like a fun project to me. Really. I would love to have some large rocks to do a rock garden with succulent plants in it. First, is your place pretty much flat, or does it have significant changes in elevation. What kind of grasses and weeds are growing on it? Are the rocks small and scattered all over the site and small enough to mow over, or have you had to move lots of rocks into a pile to get them out of the way for lawn maintenance? Is the soil that you do have light colored and sandy? That seems to be fairly standard around this area, especially out in the Aledo area. For a vegetable garden, your best bet will probably be to build raised beds. Something that makes really nice ones are the huge cedar posts. Do you know where the Mobil station is on the corner of I20 and South Main? The posts on the front of the store are the kind of posts I'm talking about. Large enough to make vegetable beds deep enough to allow for good root development. As for ornamentals, there are lots of succulent plants, cacti, and other drought tolerant plants that would be great for that kind of garden, and you wouldn't have to water them at all, basically. Maybe just enough to get them established. There are also lots of wildflowers that work well in this kind of garden. What are the dimensions of your lot and how is it laid out?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2003 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2003 2:42 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Weatherford, Texas
Basically, the house sits on top of a bluff, then there's a drop off of several feet. The rest of the property, about three-quarters of an acre is what I need to deal with. It slopes gently to the back of the property.

It's small rocks mostly. We moved and cleared a bunch of them to get it where we could mow.

Those posts on that Mobil station are huge... Are you sure they need to be that big? We have a small raised bed garden out of untreated boards. It lasted a year, but it needs to be replaced.

Do you know where around here I could get those posts and where in the Weatherford area has a good selection of succulents? I'm not wild about the way succulents look, but everything I've found to read or look at suggests that's what I need.

Gip


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2003 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2003 2:42 pm
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Location: Weatherford, Texas
Oh, and I'd love to hear some other people's opinions, too!

Gip


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2003 4:01 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 4:33 pm
Posts: 526
Location: parker county, texas
The reason I suggest large posts is because vegetables, for the most part, need room for root systems. Shallower will do, but you'll probably have to water more often and the plants probably won't thrive as well, but it's up to you. If your weeds ang grasses growing there are shallow rooted, you can probably use rocks to border beds for your gardens. You don't really need succulents, but it would be wise to choose plants that can grow well in poor soil with little water, and there are lots of them that fit that description without being succulents and cacti. You could have an herb garden. Many herbs thrive in poor dry soil. You could also use plants like Lantana if you want flowers, and many of the wildflowers in Texas grow in amazingly poor locations.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:55 am 
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Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
How about putting 1/3 to 2/3 into drought tolerant ground cover?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2003 11:51 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2003 2:42 pm
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Location: Weatherford, Texas
Ground cover would definitely be a good idea for some part of my yard. Any suggestions on what types? I don't know much about ground covers.

It's not easy getting the water hose to far parts of the property, so it would need to be something easy to establish.

Gip


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2003 11:22 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 7:10 am
Posts: 52
Location: Salado
I would just love to be in your situation right now! You need a good small nursery that knows native plants and let them help you. There are an incredible selection of stunning native Texas plants that I wish a I had the space to put in :) . I'm not talking those hybrid salvias and pecan trees. Do some research. Good nurserys are Yucca Do and Natives of Texas. Lady Bird Wildflower center too! Buy some wildflower seeds and grow a wild assortment of flowers in full sun. Design a forest, desert, meadow, and shrub areas. You could do ever so much :D . The idea would be something that is beautiful and easy to maintain. Just do it slowly and make it an adventure!


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 Post subject: One acre seeding
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2003 4:13 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2003 6:45 pm
Posts: 354
Location: San Antonio,Tx
Gip,

Try Douglas King Seed Co. in SA Tx for native grassland seed.
Then add wildflower seeds from Wildflower Seed Farms in Stonewall, Tx.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2003 7:13 am 
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Location: Dallas,TEXAS
http://www.seedsource.com/ Native American Seed Company sells organic seed. Organic seed seems to do so much better.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2003 5:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 9:49 pm
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Hi, I just read your post. Don't know how far along you are in the "design" process, but I thought I would throw my 2 cents in (if it's worth that much! lol).

You mention a lot of rocks, but don't say whether you have a lot of soil. If you have some deep soil (with lots of rocks in it) then you may have more options for growing different types of plants. If there is just a thin layer of soil over rocky substrate, then your choices of plant matter will be much more limited. Based on the size of the area and your budget, you probably have a multi year project ahead of you. That's ok though, because as you progress, you will get lots of experience and lots of new ideas and will probably end up with something even better than if you could wave your magic wand and make it happen immediately.

The #1 thing I would try to do is get a hold of a lot of compost. Our property is for the most part unlandscaped and unirrigated. We brought in truckloads of compost to put around the fruit trees and the veggie garden. It sat in huge piles in a number of places in the lawn. When we finally finished moving the compost and raking the areas where it sat for so long, most of the vegetation underneath appeared to be dead. But low and behold, the bermuda (which is scantly scattered throughout the yard) came back and, unfortunately some Dallas grass as well. But what was amazing is how these portions of the lawn have done this summer without any supplemental water. This grass is thick and green and there are no cracks in the clay - and these are the only places in my yard where this is true. So, based on this "experiment", I would say that spreading an inch or so of compost over existing soil may greatly improve the fertility and the ability to retain moisture.

Second thought is to start to create some landscaped areas, meaning areas that you will not mow. Since you want to reduce the chore of mowing, think about the shapes you create to make sure you are not creating more "things" to mow around which will expand your mowing chore. You can work out from the house or in from the corners or some such idea. Personally, I would chose spots that I could easily view from the house or porch, so that I could maximize enjoyment of the fruits of my labors.

I second the idea of using native plants, especially those that are native your part of Texas and those that are used to low water situations. There is a really great book that I have used extensively in my landscaping efforts. It's called "Native Texas Plants", written by Sally and Richard Wasowski. This is where I learned 90% of what I know about native plants. Read through it and see what plants appeal to you. Look for those that will grow in your region and like soil and weather conditions similar to yours. Then start looking for the plants. Some of the plants are not available from garden centers, but I found many of them. Another option is to join a local chapter of the native plant society and see if some of the members will share cuttings. Most are generous. Plant swaps (check for these on Gardening in Texas section of GardenWeb) are another good option.

You have the option to select plants that will be attractive to wildlife such as birds (including hummers) and butterflies. A lot of the garden centes have lists of plants that will attract butterflies and hummers. You can glean some of this information from the Native Texas Plant book as well.

One note on native plants. Although they are much better at surviving our weather conditions than many non-natives and form significant root structures that help them make it through droughts, they will likely need some watering the first season or you will not have a lot of success. You can minimize their difficulty by planting them in the fall (with some supplemental water), giving them the entire fall, winter, spring to become established and build their root structure. If you plant in the spring, you will probably have better luck with small plants. Also, once established, even though many will survive no watering, expect to lose some and realize that without supplemental watering, you will get shorter flowering periods and less growth than if they were given the extra water.

I find heavy mulch to be rather indispensable. It will help your plantings retain moisture and keeping maintenance down. Personally, I think if you don't mulch, you are wasting your time. While I greatly enjoy gardening, I don't get much enjoyment out of weeding nor do I enjoy dragging hoses and sprinklers around. In my book, mulching is a necessary "finishing touch".

Ok, I've babbled on enough. Hope these thoughts are of some use. Good luck!

Marlyn


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 Post subject: Re: easy to maintain ideas for 1 acre
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:20 pm
Posts: 4
ok, its 2010 and I'm just now seeing this post...

At Native American Seed you find no promotion of exotic plants from Morocco, Paraguay, Brazil or Europe. Know that bermudagrass and African daisy are from the other side of the planet. Train your eye to recognize the exotics and their consequences.

Native wildflowers & grasses work for you!

Request a free catalog or order online at www.seedsource.com


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