Monday, April 4, 2011

Adventures in the Garden: Early Spring Clean-up

Note: I've extended the deadline of my giveaway to Wednesday, April 6 at 5 p.m. and made a few changes. Check it out if you haven't already!

Adventures in the Garden is an occasional series on how I create my family home with the help of my garden. Gardening and growing my own vegetables and cut flowers is a part of seasonal living, appreciating nature, spending more time outdoors and enjoying the beauty and bounty our land has to offer.

It may be early to start cleaning out my garden beds, but it’s going to take me a while so I got an early start in my kitchen garden over the weekend.  I wish I had taken a true before picture a few weeks ago when I did a preliminary sweep—but here’s what I’m working with now:

I let this garden go to hell when I was pregnant and even more so during the spring after Nathan was born, so I have a lot of perennial weeds to contend with.  Getting this garden back in shape is going to be a lot of work.  I must say, though, that if I keep it up, I won’t have to exercise as much to meet my spring weight-loss-and-get-in-shape goals.  Gardening on this property is like a contact sport.

Here's after:

After clearing just a small area—it took at least an hour—I covered the cleared space with
biodegradable plastic mulch to keep weed seeds from germinating.  Our house is surrounded by invasive ragweed, thistle, wild chrysanthemum and Japanese stiltgrass, so it’s impossible to keep a weed-free garden without this stuff. 

Of course, I managed to keep my garden looking nice without it when I had more free time on my hands… but it was still a major undertaking, and I couldn’t keep up with all of my beds.  The biodegradable plastic mulch isn’t pretty to look at, but it’s the only thing I know of that gets the job done.  It’s such a shame, too, because it used to be such a pretty garden—here’s how it looked in 2008, when it was just an herb and perennial garden:

I'm so glad I took pictures because I feel like I'll never get it back!
I still have so much more work to do in this tiny little space I call my kitchen garden before I can sink my first herb or tomato plant into the ground.  But it’s so worth it.  As I pull up the weeds and rake the earth I can almost taste my first tomato and can see how great my garden will look this year—and I might just be a little too optimistic.
There's at least one bright spot in all of this—on my deck.

1 comment:

  1. It looks amazing. I'm sure you'll get it as lovely as it was before in no time. x


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