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March 29, 2013


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Paula H.

You will have to let me know how your composting in place goes. I usually do it with leaves in the fall,but I find it gets too messy when they blow around. I empty my compost bins in the spring when I can't do anything else-sometimes it is ready and sometimes not. I spread it anyway (not the big chunks!) this way room is freed up for the stuff I cut down from winter.


I agree with composting in place. I do it in all our beds. Today I was out removing the large leaves that I was too lazy to shred in order to curtail mould and rot. Upon removing them, I saw some amazingly fresh, fluffy compost underneath! Things definitely can compost in place in Calgary, especially over winter... I have to scoff at everyone who says it is impossible!

This year I discovered that one of the best things to compost in place are dried poppy stems. If they aren't composting properly just go out and break them into smaller pieces. They basically disintegrate when touched!


Ohhhhh! And the poppy stems smell absolutely delicious when you break them up!


How far back do you cut your vines? We just bought a house over the winter and there are some that were cut back in fall and some that weren't.

Calgary Garden Coach

I cut them back to about 1 ft high. However, there are some spring-blooming types of clematis that don't need cutting back (and shouldn't be cut back as then they won't flower). Perhaps wait and see what happens this year and then you'll know whether to cut those others back next year?

Calgary Garden Coach

@Paula - but isn't your compost bin frozen later than you want to be cutting down last year's perennials? Mine is, but perhaps because it is big and in shade.
I'm hoping the little bits I've cut are small enough that they won't blow around too much.
@Jeff - poppy stems? I never knew! I will have to try it.


Spring is a great time to plan ahead for your big summertime projects. If you don’t want to do-it-yourself, you can arrange for a designer to come for an on-site visit and meet to discuss your garden’s problems, potential and what you would like it to be.


I composted in plastic garbage bins last year. Worked incredibly well. It all broke down into compost in one season! I have two bins full of compost ready for spreading this month. I would've done it in October last year but the snow came very early and hard!

Calgary Garden Coach

Interesting! Did the bins have air holes? Did you layer materials? Stir? Just curious. Actually, my problem is just that I have way too much plant material to deal with - I would need too many plastic garbage bins to make that work. If I don't like how the composting in place goes, maybe I'll try garbage bags next year.
Happy spring,


Before plants emerge in the spring, we should take the opportunity to clean up the yard for a more attractive garden. Helpful tips are shared here for spring garden clean up.

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