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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Progress on the New Vegetable Garden

I have a lot of tall Red Cedar trees in my 2 acre yard that make it difficult to find sunny spots for a vegetable garden, so this year I decided to attack the front lawn for a new garden spot, since the trees are at a distance there.  The terrible pernicious stoloniferous grasses there make this a hazardous venture.   I once smothered out the front strip behind some junipers planted at the top of the bank and planted a garden of 4 fig trees, roses, irises, daffodils, daylilies, lilies, and a few perennials.  

I found that the cold air would move down the slope toward the front and pool behind the juniper barrier, and proceed to kill the fig trees to the ground, except for the 2 tall ones.  But last year the large Latterula succumbed, sadly, to the roots as well.  So before winter I dug the 3 struggling figs up and planted them along the driveway bed.  2 seem to have succeeded, though Latterula isn't showing any new growth so probably didn't.  Stella even has one fruit, which if it developes will be a first after several years.

So, the new bed has spent the winter under newspaper, tarps, leaves, cardboard, and later grass clippings.   Weeds are coming up through this that will have to be removed.  The schedule for this is June 15 for the bean beds and July 15 for the greens beds.  It will have a wire fence attached to the
T-posts and additional bamboo posts to keep out deer.  I run wire at 8' along the tops of the bamboo, and try to put in lots of bamboo stakes to give the deer pause about jumping in.

 The portion that was an Italian turnip bed (scroll down former post) last year was not mulched but allowed to bloom this year for the bees, and is now setting seed and getting the full weed removal treatment this week.  Here it is with half the weeds cut down to the ground and grass seed heads removed-
The strip that will be planted with pole beans was then  mattocked to remove the grass and roots.  See the nasty grass at the bottom of the photo.   Rain that was not predicted is interfering with the work.

The evil grass managed to reinvade my "flower bed"  and so I am planning strategies to try to defeat it.  Sowing Columbine seeds resulted in some competition with the grass but I need to bring out the big guns, plants that have been succeeding in some of my other beds.  I am so excited to see the results in a bed by the driveway that is held up with railroad ties and sloped.   The leaning bamboo was wired up to try to keep deer from eating the roses there.  Some Salal, a sword fern, and a squirrel-planted Hazelnut tree which I should remove also grow there.

Self-sown Ladies' Mantle and hardy Geraniums are mostly responsible for taming the weeds here, I moved some of the LM seedlings to places along the driveway slope-
It occurred to me that Ladies' Mantle might be the very plant I should try on the front strip to fight the grass, so I will try to clip the seed heads off later and strew them there.  I just love the airy delicate sprays of chartreuse flowers, and they are very long-lasting as a cut flower as well, not to mention the leaves also being useful for tea and salve.

I wish for you success in your weed-fighting adventures!



  1. Yes, the Lady's Mantle is looking really great right now. You've been very busy, haven't you? I hope the deer stay away so you can have a successful garden.

    1. Thanks, Grace. Actually I started having more problems with rabbits unexpectedly eating my bean seedlings, I haven't had this problem for several years.:-( The ones in the new bed were hit very hard because the rabbits like to hide out in the junipers. I just got back from a 2 week vacation and now have a week to work up the rest of the bed to start the fall/winter greens, turnips, and radishes to harvest and overwinter. I put some netting over the beans that remain and hope they will recover from the buds in the axils.