I've been lamenting about the weeds in my backyard that have been reaching astronomic proportions. I got the main walkway area and under the dining table cleared a few weeks ago before a party, and I've pulled a handful or two around the side gate, but in reality? Out of control. Add to that the 2-3 days of rain, and then some 80 degree days, and.... Something epic needed to happen.
Yesterday I got out there about 3:30 in the afternoon, and I didn't go inside until after 7 p.m. Even my dog gave up on me at dinner time and went and stood at the back door, staring inside at her empty food bowl.
Here's the first wheelbarrow full after I filled one lawn bag. I'm normally opposed to bagging things - I prefer to either redistribute to the alley or add to my compost. But this volume (trust me, you'll see) is far too great for my compost tumblers, and I fear that if my compost doesn't get hot enough to kill the seeds, I'll just scatter weed seeds later, when I use my compost. So, bagging is going to have to happen...
I found these little guys, popping up from last year's butterfly garden -- and I really want to encourage their growth and blooming -- the monarch butterfly and hummingbird migrations are happening so early this year! All I have blooming so far is one large borage plant...
Then there was this massive pull -- you can't tell from the photo, but this pile is 3 feet across and 2 feet high!
From which my lavender was liberated:
|Happy lavender... some smaller weeds still remaining...|
I rescued my Natchez Mock Orange, and the American Beauty Berry, just beginning to sprout:
|With another huge pile of weeds slipping out of the photo...|
|More nectar plants - volunteers from last year's other butterfly garden...|
All in all -- about 5 wheelbarrow loads of weeds. FIVE. That's just insane. If anyone had told me that I would have made it all the way around the yard, pulling weeds, even I would have bet against myself. I knew yesterday after previous days' rain would be the easiest time to pull them out roots and all, but I didn't count on it going so fast, or it being quite so... addictive. Once I got going, I just couldn't quite stop -- there was always just one more area to tackle, one more corner to turn...
So today - feeling very accomplished! And yes, a little sore.
I have this weedy area remaining:
They are very low weeds, and just too many to pull manually. I did one vinegar treatment on them a few weeks ago, with very little reward. I may tarp it and smother them... or I might till the area up and rake the weeds out... but then what? I'm thinking I might buy a huge quantity of mixed butterfly garden seeds and toss them out - and have a meadow area. I thought about planting a cover crop like Hairy Vetch or Clover as I have before, but ... I'm not sure I want to go that route again. Yes, it prevents erosion and weeds, but it really doesn't serve much of a purpose. The clover would make bees happy, but so would other things, that the butterflies and hummingbirds would also enjoy. And let's not forget -- doggy is allergic to things that sting -- awesome, right?
Ultimately what will happen to this large area is a layer of sand, and another layer of composite granite. But I don't see that happening immediately -- having the materials delivered, taking days off work, organizing some day labor... just not in the current cards. Do you have suggestions? I'd love to hear them.
Here's the yard overview this morning. It looks and feels sooo much better! (Despite needing to bag all the piles around the yard...) And however strange it is, I really did enjoy those hours of labor!
In my raised beds I have the first sprouts up -- marigolds, radish and kale. And I'm getting asparagus sprouts which I am mostly dutifully cutting back to encourage more growth in the new bed.
Oh, Happy Spring!