Saturday, June 9, 2012

Gardening in the Weeds

On the one hand I was really dreading my gardening task for today.  I postponed, delayed and procrastinated to the best of my ability.

I made potato salad from scratch.  I baked chicken.  I took care of laundry and even did paperwork (ugh!).  When I started contemplating cleaning the bathroom, I realized I was avoiding what was inevitable - the south drive garden.

This garden is 90-feet long and 5-feet wide.  There is no possible comfortable way of weeding it.  You can't sit, if you kneel your kneeling on gravel and you have to bend and stretch for every little weed.  To top it off, it is angled, so you have to be careful pulling out weeds or erosion strikes.

This is only the 2nd year for this garden, so it is still a big job to tend.  We put this in after cutting back the hill to prevent mudslides and washouts from the rain and also to give us a place to pile up the snow when we plow.  Before this, it was a 4-foot deep gully that would turn into an ice sheet in the winter.  If you've never tried driving a pickup truck over an ice sheet in the winter, but you want to know what it is like, just toss an elephant onto a hockey rink and it will give you some idea - out of control terror!  My DH knew it had to be resolved, so last year we cut back the hill and started planting.

Of course, some of the plantings that stayed aren't exactly the type of flowers that I want to keep in my garden - even though this bee had other thoughts on the subject.  But as dandy as he was, the weed had to go.  Last year we planted the garden with annuals because we wanted to start building up some nutrients in the soil that would help a perennial garden grow - and I haven't found anything much better than putting in some sort of plant to start turning dirt into soil.  A lot of the farmer's in our area put down crops just to turn them back into the soil - like clover.  It enriches the soil for the next crop.  We put in flowers.

After too many hours of hand weeding, the bed is finally ready for some power tools.  Once we get the top cut and trimmed, we'll take a look at the angle of the slope and decide whether or not we need to cut back a bit more.  Then it will be time for this year's plants.

We'll be putting in petunias, sweet potato vine, alyssum, coreopsis and the first perennial - hardy geranium.  I chose the hardy geranium because it is a strong grower that will spread out pretty fast and hold the topsoil in place.  It also acts as a deer repellant - they think it really stinks!  It is a pretty plant even though the flowers aren't much to speak of, but it's foliage turns some lovely shades of yellow and red in the autumn.  It's a good start for the perennials in this garden and in a day or two once we finish the rest of the work we should be good to start the planting.

If my back can take it, that is...

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