As fall fast approaches, garden cleanup has begun. Tall weeds have crept into my garden — those nasty grasses with the fox-tail-looking top that seem to have Velcro super-weed abilities. The clinging top of the grass stem are partial to shoelaces, and are never willing to give up their spot on the shoe. I guess there's something to be said about shoes with no laces ... or maybe just better weed control.
The summer has flown by, and as the harvesting diminishes I'm almost glad to see it go. The rest, planning and seed-ordering during the winter months, is a welcome change from the hectic gardening season.
The work on the brick path goes on. It's slow work, but it will be great when it's finished. The spaces that are next to the raised bedrocks will be first filled with pea gravel, then sand. Hopefully it will lock the brick patio blocks together nice and tight.
The tomatoes have now grown up out of the towers that I talked about in the last post. With the nights down in the 60s and some times 50s, the harvesting has diminished to just a handful of tomatoes a day, whereas during August it was a five-gallon bucketful every other day. A makeshift roadside stand was set up in front of Terra Nova Gardens; all the extra tomatoes were set on the stand and would disappear by the next day. It's my way of letting the neighborhood know that I appreciate them putting up with my garden in their space. It's a great concept and will be expanded next year.
The neighborhood is very tight-knit. I have an idea that not just anyone would be accepted into it. When this old, gray-haired guy came and started cleaning up a weed-infested part of the neighborhood that was used for a dumping ground, curiosity set in. Then it turned into fascination with the unorthodox, rock-lined, raised beds, the tomato towers over your head, the sweet-corn fortress, and the mini water tower. Then a strange thing happened. Since this garden is part of the inner city, kids and adults wander past on a regular basis. The neighborhood took over the task of watching my garden and running off anyone who wasn't supposed to be there. And it all started just by waving at passing cars while working in the garden. Soon people stopped to ask questions about what I was doing. Then it became conversations about my life and theirs. I don't live in the neighborhood, so I've learned that being a part of a neighborhood doesn't just mean living there. It takes a contribution to the neighborhood, and meaningful conversations with those that live there.
The next project for the fall is to clean up an area next to my house that has become an eyesore.
It's become a catchall for anything not used over the last couple years. A pickup-load of brush and chunks of an old tree stump were hauled to the brush dump, where they make mulch out of it. This whole area will be a private sitting area when I'm finished. It will take some work, but it will be worth it. The neighbor next to me has never said anything, but it had to be an irritation because his yard is neat and clean. Much of what you see here was taken to Terra Nova Gardens and hidden behind the fences or trees. The rest will go to the dump. The dump load is in progress but has been hindered by rainstorms that put a damper on any outside work. Hopefully by the end of the week a full load will find its way to the landfill.
Because most of my time was spent with Terra Nova Projects this summer, the Urban Ranch (where I live) backyard garden has suffered.
Bind weed will bury a garden if given half a chance. Contending with bind weed has been my garden curse, and ranks right up there with the aforementioned Velcro weed. Given the slightest bit of dirt, bind weed will take over a large section of garden. There has to be no mercy when it comes to bind weed.
Then there's what I've nicknamed the "sequoia weed," named after the monster tree in California. It's taken over the raised bed in the background of the above picture. It will grow over six feet tall, with a root stump that rivals a small tree. Yes, as you can see, I've not been too attentive to my backyard garden. But there's hope, as Jack Frost is still a month away. Then the gardening will move into the basement for the winter.
That's for another post.
That's it for this time. Happy Fall Garden Cleanup everyone!