For the past few years my biggest problem in the garden has been grass and weeds. This past winter I set out to take grass and weeds off of my major problem list, and now that the summer is winding down around here I would have to say that I have succeeded.
Below is a photo of my garden about this time a few years ago. It’s a jungle.
And here are some photos of my garden from this year.
On the one hand I am very proud of having eradicated the overgrowing grass and weeds problem. But on the other hand I am all too conscious that at the moment I have far too much bare dirt.
I titled this post “one thing at a time” but now that I’m writing it I realize that as we move into fall I’m really doing two new things right now. One of them is that I’ve been starting to mulch the garden with dead leaves, which we happen to have an overabundance of right now. We had a really nasty storm right before the fourth of July that broke one of our pear trees in half, so we have a whole tree’s worth of dead leaves several months early. I’ve been scooping these up a few bucketsful at a time and mulching the peppers and eggplants, and covering otherwise bare ground where other plants have already come and gone. I also set out some broccoli, cabbage and kohlrabi transplants the other day and once they were in the ground I mulched them too. Truthfully I was hoping that it might confuse or discourage the groundhogs, that it might as least make it less obvious that there were tender new baby plants there for the taking. Several days later they’re all still in the ground and doing well. So either my plan is working, or the groundhogs just haven’t found them yet.
The other thing I am doing is building some raised beds. I have put together five – two of them from scrap wood around the place and the others from four-foot boards I purchased for the occasion. I have planted some seeds in these raised beds, but nothing is really coming up yet. I plan to put in a few more before next spring.
I have kind of mapped out what I want to do next year, and how I want to divide the garden – architecturally, if you will – into several clearly defined areas. I need to have long rows – at least six, so that I can rotate my tomatoes and potatoes every year. And I want to have raised beds for my root veggies and my greens. And I’m thinking that in the center of the garden I may put a few blueberry bushes, and try some okra. I’ve grown it once before and I remember that it got huge. And also in the center area I would like to have an assortment of flowers, so we’ll see. At the moment I’m thinking it’ll be something like this, with the circles in the four corners being half-barrel planters – some with horseradish and some with flowers. I currently have blackberries growing off to the side of the garden and would like to put in a few rasberry bushes next year too. The onions, leeks, cucumbers and radish jotted down there beneath the berries are just a note to myself that I haven't figured out where to put these crops yet.
For my final thought – this has been a bad tomato year for me. It seems like there’s not much going on out in the garden this time this year, when there ought to be everything going on. And yet, when I actually do go out there I tend to come back in with something like this, and I realize that once again, I’ve underestimated my garden.
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