Monday, November 4, 2013

THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY GARDEN

BUT not necessarily in that order...

I always said this blog would not shy away from the missteps.  Earlier this Summer, I blogged about giving up on the garden.  With the lateness of the fence being built around the raised beds, and the early heatwave we had, coupled with not getting the proper irrigation set up, it was just not possible to get things growing quick enough.  So we gave up the garden for the Summer.  This is what I did recently in between rainy days.

Prepare to be frightened!

Raised bed garden out of control
The Summer was long and hot and dry.  Oh, did I say VERY hot?
Here is what happens when you give it up for a period of time.  Yikes!
Definitely "the ugly".  Where does the grass end and where do the beds begin?  Hard to tell.  Yet another reason I need to get rid of all the grass inside the garden before next Spring.  I suppose there will be plenty of time for that this Winter when it goes dormant.

Mowing inside the garden
Thankfully, 2nd Family let me borrow their push mower with mulching attachment.  This would be "the bad"...do you know this took an hour and a half of work to get it all mowed?  That's almost as much time as it takes to mow EVERYTHING else on the zen machine.  I had to start and stop and push very slowly to keep it from dying.  But I got it mowed!  Phew.

Raised beds
Next, I had to weed the beds and pull out all the grass.  Side note, the rolling cart that I got for Christmas last year was a lifesaver (or is that backsaver?).  As you can see above, I finally got the beds all cleaned out, turned the soil and amended it with some compost I bought at the local feed store.

Fenced in garden area
Lastly, I took the weedeater to it all and cleaned it up.  You can see the fence in the picture above, it had tall grass growing up the sides, but I got it all cleaned up outside as well as inside and around the raised beds.  Didn't get the pictures of the inside after it was all edged, the camera batteries died, but it definitely looks like I turned it into "the good".  

4x4 raised bed ready to go
Here is a closeup of one of the beds (before i edged it, ha).  It's just waiting to be planted with something.  Ah but it's probably too late to plant anything right?  Not for garlic and shallots! I also picked some of those up at the feed store and got those in the ground (another post coming on that).  We're still not too cold yet and so we still have a bit of garden planting time left for a few things.

I will also be working on the drip irrigation that I bought for some of the beds, getting them ready for next Spring, and lastly, I'll be adding several more beds. Just getting them in to cover more of the grass (less to mow!) and to help plan out the future space.  More on all that in future posts as I get it done.

For now, it's all about getting back on track and I think I've done that.  I feel cautiously optimistic and excited once again about the potential.

35 comments:

Kris said...

It all looks great. Lots of hard work though. I bet you could have a good fall and winter garden there. I have collards, l=kale, onions, radishes and Brussels sprouts growing now in mine. I am right below Chatt. Tn. So you could do all this too. ANd cabbage and lettuces and all kinds of cold weather veggies. I would MUCH rather garden in fall than summer.

SmartAlex said...

Wow, you certainly turned that around.

Joani said...

WOW, that was a lot of work. You need to think about putting down something to deter the grass from growing....old carpet, newspapers, pallets....etc. Lots of winter stuff to grow but it'll need water. Keep an eye out for a good used lawn mower....can't keep borrowing cuz if it breaks, U will have to buy them one. Have a great week.

dindin said...

Please consider stapling weed block to the bottom of your beds. Then the grass won't grow through into the bed itself. I also put down "lots" of cardboard on the ground and that has kept the beds fairly weed free for 5 years now. I am 71 (today) and cannot have a garden unless I can keep the weeds from my raised beds. And . . . . plant for winter. You'll not regret it.

Annie*s Granny said...

We should have had a get-together! I spent my entire day raking leaves, then mowing them with the push mower and dumping the shredded leaves into the compost bin. Yours is looking all spiffy now, as is mine, but I'll be getting another windstorm, more leaves, pine cones and branches, and a job to do all over again. with luck, your work will be finished until spring brings on all the new growth.

1st Man said...

Yes, it was hard work and at first I couldn't see the payoff it was so much work and when I was done there was nothing growing, ha. But now I CAN plant. And I did some (more on that in another post). I wonder if it's too late for collards, radishes, cabbages, etc? I'll have to do some googling. Thanks!!

1st Man said...

Ha, thanks, walking in the first time when I was read to tackle it was a bit overwhelming at first. But the more I did the more excited I got, ha. Thanks again!

1st Man said...

I am going to work on the drip irrigation over the next couple of weekends, originally getting it ready and working so next Spring I can hit the dirt running (LOL!). Hmm, now I wonder if I could get some of things to start growing soon?

1st Man said...

I am definitely doing the cardboard at the bottom of the future beds. I thought about weed block but didn't want anything that might hinder roots from going deep? I will work on the irrigation this weekend but not sure if it's too late to plant? Thoughts?

1st Man said...

Ha, I hear ya. You did a lot of work (heck you do a lot of work every day on your garden, you never cease to amaze) and you'll have a bit more before winter huh? I think I'll have one more mowing and edging but I'll still have enough nice days to tweak things. We usually don't get a first freeze until December, mid to late sometimes. I just want all the infrastructure ready so I can plant when I'm supposed to instead of waiting until it's too late.

Take it easy!!! don't overdo!!

Akannie said...

Ah hell...that happens to me at some point every year. I just tell everyone it's green manure ! lol

Good job on the cleanup.

1st Man said...

LOL! Luv that! Green manure, ha, that made me laugh! Thanks!!

Frugal Living UK said...

Haha, Rather frightening looking at first there. Well done though, good job. Still think leaving the grass between all the raised beds is a good idea?

Sue said...

I spent weeks when I first started my garden hand pulling EVERY blade of grass from the whole area. People thought I was nuts ( I am), but now I have nothing but an occasional weed to pull. I think at some point you're going to have to get rid of the grassy rows.

Rachel (Grafixmuse) said...

Wow! The grass really took over! It looks wonderful after all your hard work. I have grass paths in between my beds and mow it once a week or so. I am sure once things are planted it will be easier to keep up.

Jane and Chris said...

I felt bad about our raised bed veggy patch until I saw the top pic. I felt much better...then I continued reading. Now your raised bed garden is all tarted up I feel bad again!
Jane x

Lynda said...

Between reading this post and Annie's Granny' s last posts, I'm exhausted! AND totally embarrassed about the condition of my garden. Soooo...I'm gonna' get off my butt and get out there and CLEAN UP! Maybe I'll even blog about it! :)

Sandy said...

1st Man,

Have you considered tilling up the remaining area instead of putting raised boxes and make a large ground garden? Then you wouldn't have to cut the grass inside the fenced area, that is after you get rid of the existing grass. It's just a thought.

Annie*s Granny said...

December? Great! That means you can plant lots of stuff now, using Zone 6 in that guide I sent you!

Thomas Generazio said...

I'm not too found of grass in a vegetable garden plot either, which is why I plan to do the same next year. I can't decide whether to put pea stone or wood chips in between my raised beds.

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

I've seen the Texas Gardener planting all sorts of things throughout your 'winter'. You still have time!!

You know, if you take all of that grass, and put in in cylinders of chicken mesh fencing. say 3ft diameter and 4-5ft tall, it composts down very fast. (learned on yt from a guy in Minnesota.)

Tammy said...

Happy birthday!

Tammy said...

Oh, you did a fabulous job! I appreciate your honesty and authenticity.

I should think you could grow a multitude of things through what passes for winter in Houston, but honestly, it's good to take a break to relax and dream and plan.

Tombstone Livestock said...

Now is the time to plant brocolli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, lettuce, cood weather crops.

1st Man said...

You should have seen it in person, lol. It was definitely scary and intimidating. Of course I planned to work on it every weekend, then it rained, and rained again and again. Then it got worse and worse, ha. I am definitely not leaving the grass in between, it's just that I haven't gotten rid of it yet. Hoping to do some sort of 'green' solution to killing it off. Next Spring it will be covered with bark or gravel or something.

1st Man said...

You wanna come help? HA! I can imagine that it a nice pay off in the end. I'm going to have to figure out something. Grass was never the plan, just part 2 (or 3 or 4, ha) of the process of getting the garden infrastructure done. Now I just have to start getting rid of it. There will be more beds going in, so there won't be those wide expanses of grass, but will still have to come up with some method of disposing of the grass. By the way, your garden has always been one of my inspirations. It's simply beautiful.

1st Man said...

Nature finds a way huh? Ha. Yep, lot os work now I just need to keep it up. Yes, once I have more beds in, even if not filled just yet, they will create the paths and then I can figure out something and at least be easier to mow until then, ha.

1st Man said...

LOL! Tarted up!!! Ha, that made me laugh out loud. Hey, it might go from tart to whatever if I don't keep it up, ha.

1st Man said...

Yay! Actually, Granny inspired me to get off my butt and get after it!

1st Man said...

Actually 2nd Man suggested something similar (you and he, great minds, ha!). I'm not sure, in my head I can picture the way I want it to look when I'm done but I'm definitely considering options. Of course i already bought 10 more of those cool corner brackets, ha. It's evolving as we speak. ;-)

1st Man said...

I'm trying to decide between gravel and wood chips as well. I'm leaning toward the chips, less expensive and not so permanent in case I want to change things up a bit. We'll see what happens. Thanks for stopping by, your garden always inspired me too. I'm slow but steady, ha.

1st Man said...

Yes, I think there is a longer season. I'm going to see what I can do over the next couple of weekends. I'm not going to kill myself and get worried about getting it done if I can't make the timeline, I'd rather have it all ready for Spring, ha.

Speaking of compost, I have something coming soon that will hopefully help in that. More on that later.

1st Man said...

Well thank you for that. Hey, I don't want it to always be all perfect all the time. Maybe if I can inspire someone else, then it will pay it forward. And yes, I'm leaning toward that break. I don't want to get frustrated, i'd rather just get it all planned and ready for early Spring. Planning is half the fun right? LOL! Thanks for commenting and stopping by!

1st Man said...

See, just when I think I may relax a bit, you get me excited to plant. I'll see what I can do in moderation, maybe that's a good compromise, ha. Thanks!!

1st Man said...

Thank you for that, will email you this weekend! Just haven't had a chance yet. Did I ever tell you that you're awesome? :-)