Monday, June 24, 2013
Turning the Tide on these Weeds
The days of them strangling out my muskmelons and cucumbers while I watch in frustrated impotence from the garden's edge is over. Even with the heavy support torrent of almost an inch and a half of rain we got yesterday afternoon the mulch held firm and I was able to continue my advance today as I delegated the yard mowing to the son.
OK the rider lawn mowing part anyway I still had to do the push mowing.
If the rains hold off tonight I should be able to finish all mulch hauling and finally get enough actual dried grass clippings to fill in the gaps between the plants I have now rescued from the strangling weeds.
Tomato sector is totally cleared and pacified. Small-Hold Bean sector is as well completely clear of all enemy weed activity. Central water depot was liberated today and over half of the Pumpkin and Melon gaps were also carpet bombed with a thick layer of mulch. The weeds were howling in pain as they were covered up with mulch or left with exposed roots to wither in the 96 degree heat.
Take that Weeds!!!!
Now for a little feeling of superiority at the expense of my neighbors I can look across my hayfield and pasture, up the slope in the back of their bean field and see they have once again completely abandoned their garden to the enemy weeds. This will mark the third year in a row they have given up on their garden. They tilled up a section almost as big as my garden for the first time three years ago with the same scenario playing out each year. Late June weed death. When these weeds have complete and frequent air superiority it is almost impossible to turn defeat into victory.
The keys to success for me have been raised beds that allow weeding no matter how much rain we get and as much natural decomposing mulch as you can lay your hands on. Honestly what you use for mulch does not matter one bit. Grass clippings, old hay, wood chips, it's all the same.
Afraid your going to get weed seeds? Bah I say!!! Like I don't already have plenty of weed seed sprouting up everywhere, a few bizillion more weed seeds are not going to matter one bit in this war.
The raised bed areas allow planting of early crops when you absolutely cannot count on having any ground dry enough to work up and standing water is a constant danger. The broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes and peas go into 8'x4' raised beds. The real bonus to these beds are they keep you busy and lessen the urge to plant in the open areas too soon and the size of them is perfect because if the weeds do ever get out of control you just slap a piece of plywood over them and leave them covered for a month or more.
The plants that require a bit more space are the ones that go into the open tilled garden. The tomatoes, corn, beans, melons, and squash/zucchini. Eventually my plan is to have enough raised beds that all of the above mentioned except tomatoes and corn will have raised beds. Event he pole beans as my trellis set up is sized just perfectly to go over a standard 8'x4' raised bed. But at an average cost of $60.00 per raised bed the build up is a slow.
Eventually I plan on only open planting the tomatoes and maybe the punkins/melons while having the lower section enclosed with railroad ties and using the Eden method for corn planting. This should be a section about right to make constant wood chip replacement within my realm of feasibility. Or so I think. Corn is also a pain to mulch around and keep weeded as it has such shallow roots.
Now that Mrs. PP has declared her raised bed section as finally meeting overall size approval and the weeding of the main garden should be coming to a close I can finish the first row of garden raised beds. All the materials are in place and the plywood has been down for months killing the grass underneath it has just been a matter of priorities up to this point.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!