Embarrassing because, from the evidence, I could have had the greens in the ground three weeks ago. But I just had to do some other things to do first…
Oh, and more slugs than usual this year, it seems.
But then cliches are cliches because they touch on certain truths. The truth of this photograph being that it’s almost impossible to take a close up with the iPad’s miserably inadequate lens because iPad’s fovea is not the center of the screen but the top left, or bottom left, or top right, or bottom right, depending on which way you’re holding it.
Just as I took this photo the sun came out, so in a half-an-hour the line of droplets along the vein of the leaf will have been gone.
I have a No Man’s land full of every kind of weed between my property and the adjoining property. Not only is the area really ugly, the switch grass invades the beds — an assault so powerful it overwhelms the clover, which does prevent seeding, but can’t prevent rhizomes.
But the light is partial, the soil is bad, and I don’t have time to ameliorate. So I decided to cover up the entire area with black plastic weed blocker from Fedco, as you see.
Here’s a close-up. So now the beds are defended from weeds by the plastic, which hopefully will cause everything underneath it to rot, and by the clover (which I think, since it is so tender and succulent, is also bait for woodchucks). The few weeds that remain I can pull, and soon the sheet mulch will protect that area as well.
Above is the existing arrangement. You see the problems: I don’t know why I put the bin there, but whatever the reason, it wasn’t good enough to steal the afternoon sun from even the weediest, ugliest patch. Also, since the compost bin has a wire frame, weeds grow enthusiastically on the outer surface of the aged layer. So I decided to move the bin.
First, I flattened a new area for the bin. I don’t know why I ended that path where I did, but it’s where I should have put the bin in the first place.
Then I laid down weed blocker. I used FedCo’s paper weed blocker because I wanted to hang onto the plastic weed blocker for the bottom layer of more paths. I know the paper will rot, but I’m not sure plastic would be a ultimate solution (and then, if I didn’t want the plastic, I’d have to cut it away).
Then I opened the bin to get the compost out. Notice that contrast between last year’s aged layer, and this year’s. Notice also the weeds. Annoying and ugly!
Having ready my shovel, I moved this year’s compost into a wheelbarrow (not shown).
Then I took the bin apart and moved it to the new location: Three of its edges are hinged, and I closed the forth with twisties, pegging the edge in place with a bamboo stick. (The weight of the compost will stabilize the bin, so it does not need to be staked, but I didn’t want it to moved around when I was filling it.)
Then I shoveled the new compost out of the wheelbarrow into the compost bin at its new location.
Here is the aged compost from the old bin. It’s retaining its cubical shape, much like a chocolate cake does when you remove it from the cake pan!
Nice and dark. I now draw a merciful veil over moving the aged compost to what I hope will become the daikon patch, because I overturned the wheelbarrow.
Here’s the more-or-less completed job. The bin is relocated, so the sunflowers have light. The bin rests of blocker, which hopefully acts as a No Weed’s Land. There is now a convenient path to the compost, with a (rather unfinished) entrance. (Also, in the project that got me going on this project, the nasty weedy area is covered with blocker, so the weeds don’t invade the clover and head for the garden.
I say almost finished because I seem to be doing construction this year, rather than planting, and… Look at the area around the sunflowers. It’s neither edible nor beautiful. Something has to be done.
Estimated time: 3 hours, including the weed blocker.
When last we left the paths, I had dumped the left-over stones and bricks where I stopped work, because I didn’t know how to go on. Well, when I was doing another project, which I’ll get to in a bit, I had the idea of making a visual pun in the stone dust: Instead of burying marble scraps, I would “cut a hole” in the path and then plant green ground cover in it. Certainly not grass, but maybe clover, or possibly an herb. I’d border the “hole” with marble scraps “mortared” with stone dust, and otherwise take measures to ensure the ground cover didn’t invade under the path.
This idea is pretty and also would be a different texture and temperature under bare feet.
Here’s a second version of the “hole in the path” concept, but closed, and not open. There’s a little bit of context: The woodchuck fence round the garden, and the compost bin (the project I mentioned).
The big problem, which is just black space in the picture, is what goes outside the path. The whole area has been nothing but weeds recently; I’m reclaiming it. But the soil isn’t ready for vegetables. And I refuse to put in a lawn. What to do? Clover, perhaps….
Wildflowers, I hope, and not weeds. Read the rest of this entry »
The raspberries, being thorny, are my living fence against two- and four-legged critters on the sidewalk. So any fruit I get from them is a bonus.
Last fall, I mistreated at least half of them pretty badly; my understanding is that you should cut back only those raspberry canes that bear. But I was in a rush, so I cut back everything. (Also, I got a lot of fruit, but the Japanese beetles fouled most of it before I could eat it).
This spring, for whatever reason, the raspberries seem to be thriving, invading everywhere. That straw is from last year’s sheet mulch, plus some compost from this year, and “green compost” from a nearby path of (not quack) grass, clipped with garden shears (and not a mover).
I gave them some azomite on the forlorn theory that it would make their stems and leaves prickly, and so less likely to be eaten. The theory I really like is chitinase as a soil amendment or a foliar spray; I like the picture of their little chitin mandibles dissolving after they chew on my plants. Rumor has it that mussel shells contain chitinase — but then so do bananas!