Thursday, May 2, 2013

Weeding and Mucking, Ad Infinitum

Last year's horrendous mess in the garden (it really was horrendous--I still cringe to think about it) is coming back to haunt me in the form of an intimidating number of weeds already trying to establish dominance in my soil.


I refuse to be beaten down by them, however, and have been fighting back now, before they can totally take over and before I have actual harvests to contend with. Now is the time to smack those weeds down.

Or, more often, dig them up. As I did with some truly terrifying grass that was growing in the blackberry patch. All grass has an impressive root system, but this shit was ROOTED. All over the damn place. I had to dig a crater, no lie, about a foot deep to get it out. I don't even know what it is, except that it is surely in league with the devil. Satan Grass? Sounds about right.

I've also been digging up quite a few dock plants and dandelions (and, in the case of the dandelions, eating them, because why not), as well as yanking by hand the evil horse mint. It must be pulled out by hand and carried out of the garden, or else it will re-root. And it's already flowering.

Man, do I hate horse mint.

My other weapon in the epic battle of the weeds is sheep-shit straw. Good thing there's an inexhaustible supply of it right at hand in the barn adjacent to the garden. The wheelbarrow and pitchfork are permanently parked by the barn and whenever I have a few minutes, I fill the wheelbarrow with the noxious, ammonia-heavy straw from the bottom layers and dump it on any weedy areas. If it can (almost) kill my tomatoes, I figure it should be quite effective against the pigweed.

I have learned, however, that there's no point in spreading it after it's dumped. To be of any use, it pretty much has to be the thickness of the pile as dumped out of the wheelbarrow. Any spreading means it gets too thin and the weeds can come up through it.

So I'm weeding and mucking and weeding and mucking, until my shoulders give up or the baby wakes up, whichever comes first.

The war is just beginning, but dammit, I intend to triumph this year. Or at least win some of the skirmishes, which is about all I can hope for.


Lindsey at NW Backyard Veggies said...

YES. I have grass growing everywhere and getting it out of my garden beds has been the world's biggest hassle.

Also, some sort of alien ivy that is apparently taking over my entire backyard. But it's not ivy because it flowers and the bees love it. So if the bees love it, so must I - except I hate it and it's ugly and I want it gone.

I too had the year (immediately after childbirth) where the garden was completely neglected. It happens. You can't be superwoman ALL the time, you know.

Anonymous said...

If the pigweed is chenopodium album you should eat it. It tastes even better than the dandelions.

mil said...

We do have Chenopodium album, but I call it "lamb's quarters." I haven't eaten it, though I know it's edible.

mil said...

I should have added that our horrible pigweed is the redroot pigweed, Amaranthus retroflexus.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought... if there are weeds or any kind of seeds in the straw/hay...they will sprout in the garden or wherever you spread the ol' SSS.
mil....retroflexus- sounds like a techinical term for throwing up.

FinnyKnits said...

It's not Bermuda grass is it? Because if so...move.

Do you use a Hula Ho? I'm in love with that thing.