It’s easy for bloggers to give off the impression that their lives are perfect…
Obviously, we get most excited over sharing our successes with you- we run to the computer to write up tips for gardening, and animal care, and home cooking when we find something that works for us.
It’s not quite as exciting to talk about all the times that things are a big.fat.flop. That doesn’t mean that those flops don’t occur, it just means that we’d rather share the fun, successful things with you.
However, I’m afraid that this phenomenon can often give the impression that we are super-human… And let me tell ya, we most definitely are NOT.
Today I would like to share one of my current flops: this year’s garden.
I’ve had pretty successful gardens in the past. Sure, I’d have a few seeds not germinate, and one year my sweet corn was devoured by nasty worms, but other than that? It’s been pretty darn good.
I set out this year doing things the exact same way I had in the past. I ordered my seeds from the same company, worked lots of composted manure into the soil, and even planted a few days earlier than I had planned. Things were going smoothly.
It’s a beautiful looking lawn, huh? But, it’s not a lawn… It’s my garden.
I’m no stranger to weeds- I’m used to dealing with plenty of them. I spend quite a bit of time each summer with my fingernails in the dirt, pulling out the offenders by their roots.
But this year has left me speechless.
The weeds came in so thick and so fast, that for WEEKS it was nearly impossible to tell if any of my seeds were sprouting or not… It’s like a thick, green carpet.
Now that my seedlings are a little bigger (that is, the ones that actually germinated… I’m only at about 60% this year…) I am able to weed between the seedlings. But sometimes it’s horribly difficult to find the baby veggies, since the weeds are so thick. I spent an hour one day just weeding one small row of carrots.
I suspect the culprit is the manure I added to the soil this year. I *thought* it had composted enough to kill the weed seeds, but apparently it hadn’t. Live and learn…
As I was thinking about writing this post, I realized that I was actually kind of embarassed to share it with you… And that’s when I knew I had to do it.
I suppose I was afraid to get rebuked by a seasoned gardener and be told that I’m “unfit” to raise veggies. Or maybe these pictures will cause someone to turn me into the Gardening Police… Silly.
I’m hoping that by posting my flop today. you will be reassured that my homesteading journeys do NOT always go smoothly, despite what you may think…
Now, I know my weed nightmare could be resolved if I had several days I could completely devote to the garden.
The problem? I don’t have that much time…
Between potty training, being pregnant, blogging, constant watering (we’re in a horrible drought…), cooking our meals, doing barn chores, and working on a major outside remodel project (we are totally re-doing our chicken coop and pens), I’m lucky if I get a 1/2 hour a day to devote to my garden. But I’m doing the best that I can.
I’ve stolen a few evenings here and there when it cools off (did I mention we are having 100 degree days with hot wind?) and thankfully have been able to weed around most of the seedlings so they aren’t having to compete as much for the water and food, but that’s about it. Next, I plan to hoe between the rows, but I haven’t gotten quite that far, yet…
I plan to keep poking along on it as I have time, but as of right now, it’s pretty much a mess.
So, I’m writing this post to encourage you- don’t feel bad if and when your homesteading plans aren’t quite what you had hoped they would be… We ALL make mistakes and struggle to balance our schedules- it’s just a part of the homesteading package.
And I hope that you’ll extend me a bit of grace if you ever happen to drop in… Expect to see some dog poop in the yard, me walking around in old barn clothes, and weeds in my garden…
I’m having a major weed problem this year too. Mine was because of other things that came up that made it nearly impossible to spend the time in the garden I needed to. We’re slowly (very slowly) getting ahead of the problem. But there was one part of the garden where I harvested what I could in spite of the weeds and then had my husband mow it down and till it in and I’m starting over.
When I am planting my seeds in the garden, I put a row of plastic down and then cover with mulch to hold it down.between the rows of seeds. It doesn’t cut out all the weeds, but at least I know where my rows of seeds are and can find those areas so it’s easier to weed. Once the seedlings are a few inches tall, I put lots of mulch around them to keep the weeds at a minimum. It helps considerably ‘coz there isn’t anything like spending weeks weeding the garden only to find that you accidentally pulled out some of the seedlings and left the weeds.
This post is awesome. I have thought about (and written about!) blog envy before. It is easy to see people at different points in the journey and envy what they have, forgetting that blessings are sprinkled all along the path, and that everyone has problems.
I have a weed patch myself this year in one very unfortunate area of my school garden and it makes me feel queasy to think about my principal walking past that area. Like you, I suspect a long period of time in the garden would help, but also like you, it’s been about 100 degrees every day.
Thanks again for this reassurance! No one should feel that their garden needs to look like it came from a magazine to be productive and a blessing to the home!
Cranky Puppy says
Same problem here as well. I’m fighting a serious weed infestation in our strawberry beds. You have to stay on top of it or it just gets way out of hand (like mine!) Try newspaper or cardboard. We mulch over the top and it keeps the weeds out.
Oh, lady — you have NO IDEA how much I empathize with this post. The largest part of my garden is at a couple of community garden plots this year (our lawn is roughly the size of a medium-sized postage stamp), and the plots have been just *infested* with Creeping Jenny this year. (We had *some* last year, but the mild winter and the heat this summer have turned it into a giant knot of Jenny.) Even with my friend (another gardener) and my husband helping, we could only get through about one-and-a-half 20’x10′ plots in FOUR HOURS the other day, and even then, we didn’t get everything. It’s CRAZY this year!
We just moved into our new home in October last year, only days before the Snowpocalypse that cancelled Halloween. We had *no* time to prepare any garden plots. We were buried in snow, then mud, until mid-March. I had three days of beautiful weather, in which I planned out where things would be (you don’t plant *anything* in mid-March in New England lol), and then we had a dump of snow that was huge. So…
My brand new raised beds, which should have been made of untreated planks, ended up being made of recycled tractor tires (thank heavens, and *those* at least look good) and fallen logs (not so happy about those). They were kind of cobbled together in a weekend out of desperation to get *something* in the ground. I got my compost from the dump, so I’ve been mercifully free of weeds for the most part. But stuff got put in the ground late, my corn isn’t even in yet (it sure won’t be “knee high by 4th of July”!) and I haven’t built its bed.
Time slips away. I’m lucky about the weeds… this is the first year I’ve ever had so little weeds. Normally my garden (which used to be a full acre and is now about 120 sq. ft. sigh) is drowning in weeds with just the veggies themselves weeded free. If I were a dedicated homesteader, I’m sure I’d have time to deal with it all… but I’m not. I’m a minister, an author, a columnist… and that’s on top of being a mom and a dozen other things. We don’t live now as we did 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago. There’s so much more to do.
But I do think I’ll share some of my less flattering pictures, now. Thanks for the thumb’s up on weeds! 😉
Rebecca Haughn says
I hear you about frustration with weeding with all you have on your plate. If you can take chunks of time each mornin before it gets hot you will have it manageable soon. Also use mulch, we like to let our grass grow and mow and then rake it up so that all our veges are nestled into grass mulch. It sure makes it easier to weed and to keep moisture levels more consistent in these temps. We too are getting 90 degree days with humidty that makes everything sticky. No air conditioning and the electric bill is only 38 dollars. we are very happy about that. Good luck with all you do and thank you for keeping us posted.
I have a solution for your manure situation…
I cover mine with a tarp (dark colored) for 2 weeks before putting in my garden. Even tho it has “aged”, it still gets seeds on it. the heat generated will kill those stray seeds.
After I put down the manure/compost, I cover with ground leaves. It shades the seeds left so they won’t germinate and the added benefit is that it helps keep the moisture in the ground.
When a weed does pop up, (and there will be few) just pluck it out and Voila !!! Done.
Hope this helps and goodluck with your new child when he/she arrives.
Great idea AuntiEm! THANK YOU for sharing!
To go along with this idea…I paper my whole garden after tilling in my compost (I only have the household variety, not manure 🙁 .) I save my newspapers in boxes, and lay them out over the garden in thick layers, then cover with snow fencing to hold it down-the fencing has the added benefit of keeping my neighbor’s cat from trying to rip up the papers to access what it considers it’s litter box!. When I go to plant, I just cup small holes int he paper and plant right through it, leaving the paper around the plants. Boy does this help keep down the weeds! The quack grass fights it’s way through, sometimes, but, it’s a lot weaker than normal, and is easy to pullout. Best part? The paper just composts itself, and I can add layers in the fall as I need it.
I’m betting one could use a tarp in place of the paper and leave it all year long, if they wanted to.
Thanks for keeping it real sister, I feel a little more human this morning 🙂
Noel McNeil says
Well, I don’t have your weed problem…yet, but I planted our garden a little late and only about 2/3rds of it has germinated. I’m due with my 3rd in the end of July so motivation to be bent over planting seeds was lacking a bit. I am hoping to just get something from my garden. I am sure you’ll eventually get to all the weeding, but I know it can be overwhelming. Keep up the good work and it is NICE (it doesn’t make me happy, just lets me know that it’s not abnormal) to see that other people’s plans have a few twists and turns too. I always think it’s just me. 😉
I can empathize too! I have spent much of our financial resources this year to improve our garden, and have been dismally disappointed! The ANTS have been apocalyptic! They have burrowed down and laid eggs on the roots of my plants, and I think carried off my seeds before they could germinate. I think they somehow hitched a ride here in the garden soil I ordered from the nursery, because there were none when I roto-tilled and prepared my soil. I needed more dirt, so I got more soil, and then I got ants! To top it off, the weather was cold, hot, cold(with snow on memorial day!) and now super hot with a hot wind, and everything that was growing has seemed to stop. I raised almost all of my starts from seeds inside my house, and have nursed them for the past 3 months, only to see them wither or get eaten. It is so disheartening…. Gives me a feel for what the old-time farmers dealt with when there was a terrible drought, storm, or infestation that ruined their crops. Nothing to do but try to salvage something and hope the next year is better. Thank goodness this isn’t our livelihood, just our “hobby”!!
Thank you for this! I so needed it today with the garden a mess, the barn a disaster. teenage ducks finding escape routes and it is going to be triple digits all weekend so likely not going to change much in the next week!
Oh Kitty, I hear ya… There is only so much we can do, huh? 🙂
We always have tons of weeds, seeds in the compost and manure usually. We are trying lasagna style gardening this year but have already run out of cardboard, papers and old rugs let alone not being able to afford anymore peat moss. Nothing left to layer besides hot manure. Even straw costs money. We did get a good garlic and green onion crop though, woo hoo. And yes, we are lucky we aren’t trying to love off the land yet. Blessings.
That happened to us last year! We had other things come up so that the garden could not be checked each day and before we knew it, not only were the raised beds overrun with weeds but the rows BETWEEN the beds grew huge weeds.
My bloggy friend, Sharon Lovejoy (garden writer par excellent) told me everything she has learned about gardening she learned when things went wrong.
This year we put down a new layer of weed fabric and mulch between the rows (and we still had one particular weed break through) and I was out almost every day weeding (even though we were in the midst of my son’s wedding preparations at the same time).
Now we are experiencing record breaking heat, too. Some of our garden can’t handle it and there is nothing we can do about that.
Really enjoy your writing!
You could harvest your wild greens. Looks like you have a great crop of lamb’s quarter! 😀 My garden is nonexistent this year because of some serious interruptions. How many ways can you use perennial herbs??? I have a handful of strawberries and some volunteer tomatoes competing with the smartweed, ragweed, and the rest of the weeds. I didn’t know that strawberries could get so tall, trying to get some sunlight! Luckily, the volunteer tomatoes are doing great with the heat and drought…..maybe the shade from all the weeds helps? I’ll just be happy for whatever grows this year and I’ll try again next year.
I love this post, this is how my garden looks most years! Your honesty and willingness to show how hard it is to do everything! Blessings to you.
should read ~ your honesty and willingness to show how hard it is to do everything is refreshing.
I am pretty sure all gardeners can relate to this at some point! Maybe someone already mentioned this but what has saved my weeding sanity is straw and newspaper. When everything is freshly tilled and I get my plants in, I line the walkways with a couple of layers of newspaper, water it down and then cover it with a good layer of straw. SO worth it! Now I have started using raised square foot beds for my plants and just have straw walkways, hardly any weeds and those that do pop up are so easy to pull. I am so thankful we made those raised beds last year because being pregnant this year and having it be so hot here I would have completely let my garden go this year.
Thank for keeping it real!
Welcome to the club!! Here is a tip for those of you who hate to weed and it is an easy “no till” solution. I put out cardboard on top of my garden space, right on top of the grass or weeds works fine. then cover it with your compost/soil, be sure to put soil on thick. Plant your seeds or put your bedding plants in and away you go. Poof! no weeds to mess with and the cardboard breaks down in the soil. I have “recovered” several old beds at our newly purchased home. It had been vaccant for 2 years and believe me when i say we had weeds to the sky!! The beds i “recovered” like this last year are still free of weeds and doing fabulous. I am quite surprised as some of them were so filled with weeds and old dead shrubs you couldn’t even see the ground! I know it sounds a little crazy but it really works. Another tip for gardens in hot dry climates that burn your plants is to plant under trees. Mesquite trees work great because the leaves are light and feathery. Locusts would work too, or a sunshade if you don’t have trees to use. It worked great for us at our place in Texas and extened our cooler crops like the lettuce, and spinach. so try the cardboard….it has really savd me time and back breaking work.
Michelle Scott says
Consider sheet mulching. Even if your manure had aged properly, it is a breeding ground for every airborne, creeping weed. Fresh, soft dirt? Yum!
After you’ve spread the manure, cover the spots you don’t want anything to grow with LOTS of sheets of newspaper or a layer of cardboard. All the worms & bugs that live under ground will hear about it from their friends & come on over to party there. They love dark, moist places & will decompose whatever paper you’ve put down. Making the soil rich & nummy with all that worm poop.
I’ve been doing it for years & do it to my raised beds every fall so nothing germinates over the winter. Except the garlic! Garlic is determined.
I am trying to create islands of plants in my yard & put down a few sheets of cardboard on the lawn, put pots of plants on top of that & Voila! in a two or three months the grass is gone. I use magazines too. Just put a pot on it & nothing will grow under it.
I also put small pots upside down on huge dandelions & they disappear in a week or two. Just move them to mow.
Plants need sun to grow. Block the sun & they won’t grow. Also, by using paper products, you’re upcycling. It takes gas & man power to get them to the place they’re going to get recycled. By doing it all on site, you’re helping the environment, the bugs & worms & making your soil richer.
Just something to consider
We’re getting a bumper crop of weeds in New England this year; mostly garlic mustard. I’d find a way to till that soil over before those things go to seed. If you can’t do that, you can spray them with straight vinegar (10% works best, but even regular 5% will do). Try to avoid the plants you want to keep. It’s much easier than pulling them all- especially the grasses! At least the plants you chose to have there are doing well too!
Melissa K. Norris says
One thing we do is to make sure our rows are wide enough to fit the hand tiller between them. Then we just till between the rows when the weeds start in and only have to weed around the seedlings. It saves a lot of time and just costs a little bit of gas.
It’s important to be transparent, it’s what helps others to learn. Thanks for being real and sharing your flops as well as your success.
Amanda Perez says
Try getting a hold of some wood chips and lay them down in the garden at least 3 inches thick. That should help control those weeds, and help conserve moisture. It’s working great for me so far…that said, you’re doing great! I’m just starting out…in a little suburban home and this is my first year doing any real gardening and I’m 5 months pregnant too so I am totally impressed with everything you are accomplishing with baby on board. It’s very inspirational. Thanks for sharing!!
Thank you for the encouragement, Jill! I love reading about the realities of “the simple life” as it helps me in my journey there too. With the long days of watering, cleaning up a once neglected property, picking pounds and pounds of plums and doing something with them, caring for chickens, chicks, dogs, active boy and husband, trying to keep the house in some kind of state of clean and order and then trying to stay in touch with family and friends who don’t get this life your post is a burst of fresh cool air on a hot summer day. 🙂 Take care of yourself and the little one and don’t worry too much about the weeds. Your lettuce looks beautiful!
We tilled and tilled then planted, then went on vacation for two weeks with the neighbor agreeing to watering. We came home to find the weeds knee high! My husband who always tries to find the “easy” way to do things got his weed eater out and promptly cut off one of my tomato plants… I have put down newspaper right on top of the weeds and it is slowly getting better. The weeds are so thick however that many of my rows of okra didn’t even come up. I am replanting this weekend. Thank God we live in a long growing season and I still have time. We don’t get rain thru the summer and fall months so our area looks much like the other side of your garden fence all year long. If I don’t water regularly everything looks drought stricken. I am putting down more news paper and I tear some up and soak in water then take the “mush” and make collars around my plants leaving an inch or two opening , this seems to have helped a lot. This year the little grasshoppers or leaf hoppers are just terrible and so are the earwigs. I have to find a way to deal with them as they are eating my chard and bok choy almost to the stalk. Anyone have any treatment for that?
Have you seen the free movie on gardening at http://backtoedenfilm.com?
The website describes it well… “BACK TO EDEN shares the story of one man’s lifelong journey, walking with God and learning how to get back to the simple, productive methods of sustainable provision that were given to man in the garden of Eden. The organic growing system that has resulted from Paul Gautschi’s incredible experiences has garnered the interest of visitors from around the world. However, never until now have Paul’s methods been documented and shared like this!”
I plan to try to follow this method of gardening in the future.
Yes! I have seen it and meant to mention it in the post. I really wanted to do it this year, but wasn’t up to it b/c of my pregnancy. However, it’s DEFINITELY on the list for next year or the following!!
I agree many blogs give an unrealistic view of what life on a homestead/farm is like. I have to share the good and the bad; otherwise, I think it would be a disservice. I think you are admirable for having a garden. I couldn’t even get mine planted this year because my kidding season has been so horrible. Looks great!
Wow, that’s kind of what my garden looks like, too! I was feeling kind of bad about it, but what can you do? I have been out a few times to weed, and they just won’t go away. I rototilled in the spring, and still the weeds are there. But also growing are lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, squash, cukes, zucchini, and some corn, so I am not too worried. Thanks for sharing your trials and tribulations, it helps to know I’m not the only one!
It seems that everybody has had bad seed germination this year. We also have had our garden taken over by weeds (pigweed mostly). So far we are mowing between the rows and then I weed around the plant and spread shavings from the chick brooders around the base of the plants. I was a little worried it would burn them, but it hasn’t. At least I can find all the plants now.
A friend suggested to me carpet remnants for weed block. I haven’t tried it, but someone else out there might want to, if they have some laying around.
Oh Jill…welcome to my garden. It looks just like mine. Not only the flower beds but the vegetable garden. We had a very mild winter here, so that may be a part of it, but I was also very busy. Then came a week were I was down with a virus, so no weeding. Now, it’s blazing hot and I won’t weed in this heat. I will wait until dusk when it is cooler, but if I’m working it isn’t done.
So the garden is under-producing due to the weeds taking over and I just can’t get to it. :-/ I feel so bad for my little plants!
This year we did mostly raised beds and hilled rows. I saved all of our feed bags over the winter and put them down around the beds and in the walking rows and then put wood chips (we get them free from the power company) over the top of the bags. I really haven’t had to do to much weeding which is good because I think our days look really similar in business. We home school (4 kids) all year long, gardening and learning practical farm skills takes up most of the summer curriculum so I have a little bit of help (about 10 minutes before the novelty of weeding wears off, lol.)
I just left my “garden” it’s depressing seeing all the weeds. They grow so darn fast. Being preggo makes weeding next to impossible too. Do what you can and hopefully the plant will will the battle. Lol.
Our homestead gets the better of us sometimes too. In fact, before we wrangled it under control, we referred to it as the Battle House, which led to a cat born on the property and brought inside to be nicknamed the Battle Cat. Thankfully weeds haven’t been the issue this year for us, just tortoises of all things!
kasse duffy says
I loved reading this. It is easy to get discouraged with all the pretty pictures floating around online. Thanks for keeping it real. We’d love to feature you. Go take a peek, if you have any interest, shoot me an email.
Oh man that looks like my garden also. It took me soooo many hours/ days to weed it.
I also noticed this year the insects are horrible. They have half chewed through most of my beans and peppers. I think I finally have a handle on the bugs and weeds after a month of daily hard work. ugghh
Does anyone have problems with stink bugs they have infested my blueberry bushes cucumbers and tomatoes I have tried an onion and garlic spray with no luck please any advice is welcomed. Oh and we wont even talk weeds with this heat I have lost that battle. lol
I love bloggers who are “real” I like to learn from others mistakes as it saves me time and money! But your garden looks like mine. the weeds are everywhere and I swear as fast as we pull on one end of the garden the are growing thicker at the other end. My beans and beets did not germinate but I do have a bumper crop of cucumbers! And potatoes galore. Hubby just said tonight we are pulling up those weeds and will plant the whole garden in potatoes! Thanks for posting this. Sometimes I do get overwhelmed by bloggers who are super human!
As I’ve said to other bloggers with similar posts, I read blogs for inspiration and ideas. So mostly reading about successes is a good thing. But a post like this just every once in a while is good to read, too, before I start envying everyone else’s perfect lives!
This is great… but your garden still looks better than mine. 🙂 Last year (3rd try around the yard) I put down tractor tires for raised beds and put a little fence around those. I thought Oh yah I’ll put this woody mulch I got from the recycle place down to kill all the grass. What’s crazy is then this insane grass took over that doesnt match the rest of the yard grass! This year I tried again- I put down thick wet newspapers and topped with grass clippings, etc, to weigh it down. But it just overtook that like it was nothing. So I’m just living with it. I finally got a weedeater and knocked it down a bit and am just going with it. 🙂
Thanks for all the great posts!
I feel your pain. My garden here in southern CO is barely gasping by. No rain, just wind. Last year’s garden did much better. Not only that, but I have a new dairy goat that is a PIA to milk. She just will not stand still. Looking to make my stand more like yours, maybe have a visgrip at the head of it. Hang in there.
Thanks miss Laura- you too. 🙂
I feel your pain! I made the same mistake this year. I’ve had years of beautiful gardens but not this time. To top it off, whatever is growing, the deer are munching on! Why can’t they eat weeds? Ok, enough venting. There’s always the fall garden, right?
I hear ya Jill! The past couple of years we’ve had the same problems with weeds. In our case it was some strange weed seed that has infested our garden we believe came from some hay we were feeding our goats. That and bermuda which is very difficult to control. And the drought! Since I’m working away from home for awhile we’ve decided to hang it up for this season. My husband has decided to start fresh next spring, taking some time this winter to try to get things under better control.
Gardening is definately a learning process. I always had success with gardening, but this time I’m trying organic. So I began to put in raised beds in what has always been the sunniest part of my yard. I bought a tumbler composter, but since that was taking a long time to fill and make compost, I purchased store bought bags of organic compost. My organic, heirloom settings are wimpy and my open-pollinated seeds are not really growing too much. Then I looked up and realized since spring, my neighbor’s giant trees have grown out and are shading my new garden. The vegetables are not getting a full day’s sunshine.
My heart sank for you, as I was looking at the pictures of your weeds. That was ME last year. I was ready to take a tiller to the garden in June, and in July, I did just that and planted pumpkins in the WHOLE thing. We had more pumpkins then we knew what to do with, but at least, I got something out of my garden, and they covered the weeds. I totally understand the time issues as well. We had just moved in to our home, from out of state, so I was unpacking, had five kids, and was preparing to homeschool them all for the first time, and my garden just didn’t fit into that busy, hectic schedule. There is always next year!
That is a lot of weeds! And thank you for posting them, because you’re right, it really is easy, as a reader, to feel overwhelmed sometimes by how together and *there* many bloggers are. It’s funny, but it does help to know y’all are human too.
Hi, by the way, this is my first visit here. I just surfed in from somewhere 🙂
The “weeds” in the top photo are called Lamb’s Quarters. They are edible. A few dedicated enthusiasts put the young leaves in salads. I don’t like the flavor much myself, but they are very good animal fodder. Feed them to your goats, sheep, geese and cooped chickens. Go out in the cool of the evening and harvest a few bunches each day for your critters and treat them, every evening. Don’t work too hard over it. Soon you will have less herbage in your garden. They are annuals, so harvest most of them before they go to seed again. If anyone “comments” on your weed problem, say, “Oh, that’s my Lamb’s Quarters. It’s a member of the goosefoot herb family. I raise it as a natural fodder for my animals.” Embarrassment problem solved.
So funny you should post this comment- I just finished drafting up a post all about lamb’s quarters! 🙂 Love your “explanation” idea, too!
I love your transparency, Jill. It’s definitely encouraging.
We have had massive weed problems this year. Thanks for posting yours! It makes me feel comfortable writing my own post about it this week.
I realize it’s quite late to respond to this but I just found it & I thought I’d share my thoughts with you. I, too, have had a lovely green lawn of weeds where my garden is supposed to be & it’s pretty daunting. I finally decided to mow them down so the tiller wouldn’t bind up with the tall ones (yes, they got 1-2′ tall before I got busy) & let the mowed parts be composted into the soil. I did manage to run my big (ish) tiller around the whole 1/4 acre garden at least twice to till things under. Phew! Then I got a little of this & that planted. As time went by the seeds germinated & so did weed seeds that were still lying dormant somewhere in the soil I had tilled. I tended my rows of veggies pretty carefully for the first few weeks so I could tell where they were. I had also built a hoop house this spring and that took a whole lot of my attention, more than the big garden. Aaanyway, as time went by (and I never seem to learn….. I’ve done this many times in the past) my little veggies grew but the weeds grew faster. Every time I got a few minutes to weed by hand around the young veggies I shake as much dirt off as possible from the roots of the weeds & then lay the weeds down around my desirable plants to act as mulch. It’s FABULOUS. They aren’t pretty but it works VERY well to hold moisture and even smother new weeds if I get them thick enough. I don’t like to do it if the weeds have already set seed because they often mature enough to germinate even after the weed is pulled.
So, there you have it. Let all those healthy, hardy weeds work for you if you can. If they haven’t decomposed much by the end of the season I just rake them up when I pull the veggies that are finished for the season. If they’re small weeds I like to leave them & till them under to enrich the soil.
Hope you at least find this an interesting comment if not helpful.
PS My hoop house is still protecting some tomatoes, garden huckleberries, beets, chard & carrots. Our first hard freeze was in early Sept and we got down to about 20 degrees F. I just picked the last of the green beans last week. In my climate I can’t even winter over the hardy things. Too bitter for too long. Alrighty then,
Cheers to you! Thanks for a lovely blog. I’d love to hear from you if you’re so inclined!
I know I’m late to read this, but THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting a “failure” as something you can learn from. You’re right, sometimes posting constant success gives off the impression that failures don’t happen, but I feel so much better now! I’ve been historically bad at gardening. You should see the single “ear” of corn I got from my corn plants (it’s tiny!!!) or the three tomatoes I got from my four plants. My only success was the watermelon, and that thing pretty much just took over and thrived all on its own. Thank you so much!!!
I had same problems as you a few times, I finally started seedlings and mulched before planting them.
Yes, I’m doing major mulching next time around!
Linda Center says
Jill you are human and you admit – big pat on the back girl! Lambs quarters are SO hard to get rid of. Their roots sprawl under the ground and sprout and sprout and sprout. The idea of laying down newspapers is a real good idea. I have used it around flower beds and where I have taken out lawn to create beds. A tip is to put down about three layers of newspaper (less than that doesn’t give good prevention coverage) and immediately sprinkle it with water because then it “sticks” to the ground and doesn’t blow away. I then covered it with mulch and boy oh boy! Really keeps down the weeds. If you use any type of plastic, it can turn the ground sour and doesn’t allow moisture thru. Manure is interesting – seems like cow manure doesn’t sprout so much since the seeds go through all those stomachs! Horse manure can be prolific with seeds. I like the ideas presented here – love your website. Never too old to learn (I’m a Gramma). Take care and keep up the posts – I really enjoy them. Hugs!
Jill Winger says
Yes- I prefer the newspaper idea over plastic as well. I’ve been collecting newspapers to use this spring!