Monday, October 19, 2015

GARDEN CLEANED UP

You don't have any idea how much of a relief this is...it's been weighing heavily on me and the more it got out of control, the more it weighed on me.  I kept thinking, how could we possibly get beyond this?  So I jumped in on this first cool weekend, rolled up my sleeves and went to work.  

I'll share the story in pics (click to enlarge)...






Part of it before...




...and after (peek inside) with a little bit of the outside, where I went ahead and worked on some new planting beds on either side of the entrance gate.






Another before...






...and the same direction after.





And again, before.  Notice the clay pot for frame of reference...





...and here it is after.



This is another before (note the barn for another frame of reference)...yes believe it or not, there really are raised beds in there...somewhere...





...and here it is after.  There are those raised beds after all!!
Raised bed garden
This is such a relief for us.  It was a LOT of work, and yep, I did it all by myself as 2nd Man had to stay in town and work on things for the house sale/eventual move to the apartment.  I was in my element, thoroughly enjoying it...mostly anyway, I won't lie, I did have a few moments where I thought "I just can't finish this..." but I pushed on through.  I would work about 45 minutes at a time and then take 15 minute porch breaks with lots of water.  I had to pull the tall weeds first, and even with gloves, I have blisters on my hands today.  Next, I used 2nd Family's push mower to take down the tall grass that was left.  Then I went back to the beds and pulled everything growing in each one, again by hand.  Finally, I cleaned it all up with the string trimmer.  

After all that, I still had a bit of time to work on some future flower beds along the front of the garden, on each side of the entrance gate.  Eventually, we'd like to have them run along both sides and the rear, but for now, we're OK with just the front.  When I looked back after it was done, I think I had a tear in my eye. 

I really thought this was so out of control that it would take several weekends to clean up but it only took one day.  9am-6pm.  Just like a regular office work day, ha!  I still need to rake up some of the dead grass (or maybe just let it blow away in the wind).  Next season we will order more mulch to put down, but for now, we can pull weeds as they come up...and with cold weather coming soon, they will be much fewer and farther between.  

The garden is back from edge of oblivion!
Tomorrow I'll have a question for all you gardeners...

45 comments:

Dani said...

Very nice, 1st man - well done!! :)

Dani said...

P.S. The magic of before and afters belie the effort required to achieve that state.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

wow...what a job! good for you!

Sandy said...

1st Man,

What a great job!!! You're ready for your next planting :-)

Melissa said...

Doesn't it always take so much longer then you think it will? Oh, but the gratification of seeing the Before and After shots is truly worth the extra effort :-)

Gail said...

Fantastic job. This is one of times when the old saying, Hard work has its own rewards, is very true.

Jacquelineand.... said...

You did a fabulous job; hope you've rewarded yourself suitably. =)

Elephant's Child said...

Well done.
Blood, sweat and tears go into my garden. Often. Fortunately by the time things bloom/fruit that effort is a memory...

Colleen said...

Sorry, had to hit the reply button.
A job well done and it looks Grrrrrrrrrreat.
When it comes for me to clean out my beds, I don't look at how much I have left to do, I look at just how much I have accomplished.
If it's going to be awhile before you plant anything I would lay a thick layer of newspapers or cardboard wetted down really good and then cover with black plastic and that will help to control he weeds until you are ready to plant. Remove the black plastic and cover the newspaper with some good rich top soil

kymber said...

BRAVO! anyone here who gardens knows exactly how much effort went into the before and after - it was an awful lot of work! so congrats on getting a job that was hanging over your head good and done! colleen above has some good advice for getting the garden prepped and ready for next year. and i hope that after your long day's work that you rewarded yourself with a nice glass of something (beer, wine, whatever!)! good job buddy!

sending much love to both of you! your friend,
kymber

FionaG said...

Man! Are you for hire? I have a garden bed that needs attention and clearly, you are the man for the job!! I admit to feeling somewhat supported when reading about your feral garden but now I am just green with envy. Job well done. Hope you had a nice cool beer (or anything alcoholic) afterwards.

SmartAlex said...

Oh I believed there was a raised bed in there, I just wasn't certain there was a FENCE!

MaryJo said...

Amazing, well done!
It was great to see the before & after pictures.
You deserved that pasta meal & a few wines!!

Kate said...

Don't rake the dead grass - call it mulch and leave it to suppress the weeds!! Every little bit helps.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain! Your garden looked exactly like mine does every year starting in June, except I am able to mow around my raised beds with the riding mower. After numerous years of getting it all whipped into shape each January, and being defeated by bugs, heat and weeds by June, I have a new plan. Keep in mind that I am with my garden 365/24/7 and it still looks like yours. I can't imagine trying to keep up just on the weekends.


I am going to move my raised beds closer to the house and the faucets. Currently I have to run the hose out to the beds and take them up again so I can mow; a real pain when it is hot and humid, not so much in April. I am going to put hardware cloth on the bottoms of the boxes to try and foil the gophers and moles. After they tore up the rest of the yard they finally found their way to my boxes a couple of years ago. No matter what the cost, I am going to install either pavestone bricks or concrete pavers in the walkways between the beds. Less weeds in the walkways means less weeds in the boxes. Every time I have to weedeat around the boxes, some of the weeds are always flung into the beds where I don't want them. At least if a weed dares to come up between the bricks I can easily spray them with something to kill them. I am going to use drip irrigation tape instead of soaker hoses. This is what they use at Home Sweet Farm (a CSA) out near Brenham. I volunteered there for a while and saw that these work great, much more efficient than the hoses. Believe me I have already tried everything you are trying and nothing has changed. Colleen has some good suggestions for the beds themselves this winter.

I would also suggest that you plant some nice winter crops right now like Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cilantro, Cabbage, etc. These will grow well here and are so much easier to maintain this time of year. Not having to battle so many weeds and the heat will enable you to actually enjoy your garden for a change. I also had to laugh at the optimism that you've shown by putting in the new beds next to the fence. I do the exact same thing! Which just means more weeds next year. LOL. If I could find a gardener I'd hire one just to pull weeds in the summer. If it can't be mowed with a riding mower and trimmed with the weedeater in 15 minutes, nobody is interested. Good luck to you!
Kathy in Sealy

Joani said...

WOW, it looks great. You may think of putting salt down on the areas that are giving you the most trouble. Weeds is one of the reasons that I don't like planting in the ground. I'm planting in wal-mart bags and putting them in kiddie pools with a float to manage the water at all times. Works great, no weeds and no watering. Have a great week.

Texas Rose said...

You did a LOT of work!! That was a BIG job. But it was all worth it - it looks great and it’s all ready for planting next spring.

Sarah said...

Wow! Incredible job! Go you!!!!

1st Man said...

Ha, thank you so much. You're right, it seems so simple with a before and after, ha. The before was taken about 9am, the after about 6pm, LOL.

1st Man said...

It was, but dang it feels so good to think about now. Thank you!!

1st Man said...

Yep, thank you so much! Already thinking about it, ha.

1st Man said...

Amen! But yes, seeing it done, and just looking at the pics today, two days later, it still feels like an accomplishment. Thank you!!!

1st Man said...

Wise words!! Yes, a true reward for sure. Thanks again!!

1st Man said...

Kind of but still feel the need to do something else as reward, ha. Thanks!!

1st Man said...

EC - Yes definitely sweat and tears and I think I did poke myself with a thorn so I guess that counts for blood, right? Ha. But oh so true, next year when we have veggies (fingers crossed) growing, this will be a distant memory.

1st Man said...

Colleen - I have no idea what's going on. Dang that makes me so upset. I'll email google again and see if they can explain. You touched on my question for tomorrow, thanks for the info. I was wondering what to do. Thank you sweet lady!!

1st Man said...

Hey you!!! Aww, thanks for that...I had a few good glasses of wine, it was worth it (and soothed the sore muscles, ha). I'll have a post tomorrow about the beds, so come back with some more advice. :-) Much love to you both!!

1st Man said...

Ha, thanks for that. "Feral Garden..." I'm so stealing, er, borrowing, that phrase. Great descirption. It had been that way ALL Spring and Summer, just getting worse and worse. I hope you tame yours soon. I have learned my lesson the hard way, I HAVE to pull the weeds and grass when I see them, I can't just put it off next year. Thanks for the kind words and yes, had a few glasses of wine, most rewarding!! ;-)

1st Man said...

Ha, now that's funny!!! So true. I looked back at the picture and you're right, is there even a fence in that before pic? HA!!!

1st Man said...

Thank you very much. I figured I could either just post the after and not bore anyone with the before photos but then I realized that it might inspire people to see that they DO get out of control and sometimes we just have to take the bull by the horns and jump in. The carbs (and wine) were worth it!! :-)

1st Man said...

Thank you, I didn't realize that. Hey, I'm ok with that. ;-)

Actually we may have heavy rain later this week so it will get broken down into the ground eventually anyway. Thanks!!

1st Man said...

Hi Kathy! Wow, what a great comment, thank you for all this info. I had the problem the first year with watering, same thing. I have a post a year or so back where I dug a trench and put a long, loooong hose into it and covered it up. It runs from the faucet at the house to the the garden. It was a godsend to have water there in the garden with a faucet. Someday I'll change to PVC pipe or something.

I hear ya though on the weeds, ugh. I did put down some really good landscape fabric/weed cloth, overlapping it often and then put the mulch down. (click on the label "raised beds" at the bottom of the post and you can see the progress in seasons past). So anyway, even though the weeds took over, honestly they did pull up pretty easily. My problem was I just let them go. The old "I'll do it next weekend" plan and then that never comes.

I think what I got last season was soaker hose. You're right, it really flooded the garden and I lost a few plants. I think I need the drip irrigation. That's on this Winter's planning list, to figure out the best way to do to it. I have a timer on the faucet so I have that part figured out but I just need to get a good drip system I believe.

Fingers crossed about the front beds...hey I'm an optimist at heart, ha. Thank you for the great comment post!!! Come back and visit!!!

1st Man said...

Would the salt leach toward the beds? Weeds are a pain in the butt aren't they? I've seen something similar with the kiddie pools. I'll have to look into that if this doesn't work out again. We always wanted the raised beds and fenced area as part of the future infrastructure...for when we are out there full time and can maintain it. We'll see!!! Thank you so much for the kind words!!

1st Man said...

Thank you very much!!!! Yep, I'm already wanting to plan, but we'll get other things done first...thanks!! Might need your advice for tomorrow post!! :-)

1st Man said...

Aww, that's very sweet, thank you! It was work but oh so worth it and such a relief!!

Practical Parsimony said...

That is an incredible transformation. Good job.

Practical Parsimony said...

Salt will make the ground sterile forever, and yes, it will leach into the beds. Maybe you could cover the whole area inside the fence with black plastic, weighted with anything. Then, after it has been heating all winter, all weed seeds will be dead and you can put down something you can control.

Alison said...

Nice work! And that's for the feeling of accomplishment even though you did all the work. I really like before and after pictures. Wish there could have been one in between showing you working so hard. Looking for to seeing fruits of your labor next Spring.

Quinn said...

Good job! I find this kind of before-and-after so much more satisfying than when I do the same thing with housework.

Tonya @ My Cozy Little Farmhouse said...

Great job! Now will you come to Ohio and clear my gardens.? Haha

Joani said...

All one needs for watering is a timer and/or float at the point of watering.

Linda said...

He could stop off in Alabama and do mine, too!

Leigh said...

What a difference! Maybe there's hope for my garden too, LOL

1st Man said...

thank you Parsimony and Joani, great advice and I appreciate it!!!

1st Man said...

Coming from you and all the hard work you do means a lot. I'm sure yours will be beautiful cleaned up in no time. Cause you always do awesome. :-)