March 31, 2010

Garden? What Garden?

 

Exactly!  We have a lot to do.  Here, let me take you on a tour of our gorgeous yard!

This whole post is the BEFORE picture for our backyard :) 

After we moved in last summer, we spent the remaining sunny months pulling weeds and raking up bark mulch.  We also pulled out a “Charlie Brown tree” (half dead, right up the middle) and a HUGE pine that was looking pretty sad.  Then we planted two new trees.  In fact, look what we pulled out of the holes we dug for the new trees:

IMG_1514All those rocks came from under our lawn.  How do you like dem apples rocks?  Digging those holes was a chore like none Hubby or I had ever seen.   We later realized it was partly due to very clayey soil (and of course the embedded boulders the shovel hit every.single.time didn’t help either).  We have a compost bin now and hopefully I’ll be able to amend the soil with every plant I plant, to try to combat that awful clay.  Deeper holes….well….those will just be really unpleasant, because I know more huge rocks will be waiting for me.  Hopefully there won’t be too many more deep holes.

First, we’ll start at the gate.  Our fireplace contractors did a great job inside.  But, a few weeks after they left, we noticed the mess they left OUTSIDE.

Splashes of mortar and various forms of plaster/concrete/mortar here and there on the siding and on the ground:

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All in all, not a big deal.  Our mulch and rocks need some serious sorting, so I guess I’ll pick up all the white stuff and sweep the flagstone at the same time.  And trim that evergreen bush.   Clearly, he needs to be shown the meaning of PERSONAL SPACE!

Onward, through the gate.

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This was a weed garden.  Now it’s an empty garden with a few weeds and a scraggly rose bush.  Yes, despite the fact that the bulbs are just BARELY blooming, we are seeing weeds all over the frigging yard.  I have some plants on their way for this space, and I’ll probably put down weed barrier too (another layer if there’s one already there, which I’m not sure about).

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More weeds.  UGH!

This picture is the other half of the former weed garden.  It’s mostly just bare right now, thank goodness.  You can also see our lovely rotting deck skirting, which needs to get fixed ASAP so I can plant here without my plants later being trampled.  I think we’ll need to take the railing off the deck in order to back out the screws holding the deck planks to the skirt boards.  Hubby might have mentioned that he was going to figure out the game plan for the deck repairs this weekend….?

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Next, we have the VAST expanse of “bark gardens.”  All the dirt you see in the next several pictures used to be covered by bark mulch.  (Now it’s more like 1/3 covered by bark that still needs raking or tilling under.)  It was disgusting.  You couldn’t walk across the bark without seeing SEVERAL hobo spiders scurrying around. 

It also became a haven for the sharp, nasty weeds which require leather gloves to pull.  The stickers on those go right through canvas gardening gloves.  Oh, and  I can’t forget the SLUGS, which I used to think were cute….not anymore! This area was basically a nightmare last summer and fall.  I never had a problem wearing flip flops in the garden, until BARK became my garden.  (What’s the point of having huge all-mulch-no-plants areas anyway??)IMG_1516

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That dirt pile in the back corner is one of two.  We ordered “good dirt” when we planted our trees and Hubby wasn’t given a good estimate of just how much one cubic yard was.  I think he ordered a few cubic yards…..and It was too much.  (waaay too much!)  But I will have several potted plants outside too, so I keep telling him some of the pile will be used for those.  We’ll see if it makes a dent ;)

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A nice long pile of bark that still needs to be addressed.  Last year, we filled our city’s yard waste bin every week with the stuff.  This year, I might be able to put some in the compost bin and maybe till the rest under to help amend the soil.

 

And now for the vegetable garden!  This was also a weed garden last summer.  Who plants plants or bothers to pull weeds when they’re selling their house?  Now it’s full of weird little feathery weeds that I’ve never seen before.  And some mangled tomato cages.  I need to get out here and deal with these pests.  I think some weed fabric might come into play to cover the dirt until I can get it planted.  The thought of pulling weeds before any real plants are awake just….. pushes my buttons!IMG_1521

And the extremely effective irrigation system:

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We don’t know why it’s not connected.  It’s on the to-do list to get it in working order.

Tomorrow, I’ll give you a tour of our front yard :)  (It’s much better.)

Plans for this space will progress with the summer.  They include (another list, I know): 

  1. Fixing the deck, pronto.  The sooner I can plant legitimate plants around the deck, the fewer weeds I’ll have to deal with.
  2. Moving the edging to eliminate the side “bark gardens”.  This will leave the back area as well as the planting area around the deck available for flower/veggie gardens.
  3. Along with moving the edging, trying to coax the grass to fill in on the sides.  Hopefully the lawn treatment we hope will make our yard nice and green and weed-free, will also help the grass to spread out.
  4. Fix the irrigation system and get a veggie garden a’growin!
  5. Plant, plant, plant!  Lots of perennials, hopefully a lilac bush somewhere (love lilacs!) and maybe even a fast growing groundcover like alyssum or something to try to keep the weeds crowded out.  (Any recommendations?  We’re in zone 5)
  6. Add weed barrier everywhere I can.  The weeds are unbelievable, and I know Round Up works great, but I really don’t want to have to use it on a daily basis, ya know? (and holy buckets it’s also expensive!)
  7. Figure out what in the heck to do with the rock pile.

 

Any ideas?  Comments?  Anyone dealt with any of these issues before and have some wisdom to share?

Also – I’ve heard layering newspaper  on the ground, and covering that with compost or other mulch (grass clippings?) works well for weed control.  Has anyone tried this?  I know I can’t use our grass clippings as mulch in the veggie garden (due to the lawn chemicals) but could they be used in the flower garden?

Comments are welcome :)

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow! You have a lot of work ahead of you! I do not envy you at all. Our yard was also a mess when we moved in and fortunately we bought a ute and have made many many trips to the tip to get rid of the rubbish. We have laid weed mat under all the garden beds except the vegie garden and as we are in drought we have used sugar cane mulch to help retain water but is also reduces the weeds ( or at least makes them easier to pull out). Have fun, I am looking forward to seeing the progress. xx

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