Garden

War against weeds – Long overdue update

A campaign was finally launched to regain the ground lost in the garden due to 2 years of neglect. With all of the rain this spring, the garden was overrun by chest-high grasses, weeds and even a few trees consisting of locust, walnut, ailanthus and an elm of some sort. It was in such bad shape that the terraced garden beds could not be located!

Three hours with the weedwacker is what it took to be able to find the original garden beds. Then another 2 hours was spent pulling weeds by hand.

The invasion of one interesting weed seems to have been beneficial. It had a fleshy stem from which many spatulate leaves originated. It formed dense thickets that collapsed into dense mats. Shallow roots allowed single-handed removal of entire mats. The uprooted mass could be rolled into a self-containing bail resembling hay. Some sort of barb scratched the daylights out of skin and caused a mild reaction to the irritation that lasted a few hours. Water content of this plant seemed to be incredibly high as it felt very lush and fleshy, easily bruised but very heavy. They should compost beautifully!

On that note, the massive amount of uprooted plant matter was piled at the end of the garden beds. Or more accurately, the bricks/bails of the aforementioned weed were used in a weird sort of biological masonry. The two purposes of this exercise were providing a marker to locate the garden beds during the next battle as well as to burn out the invading weeds as decomposition produces heat and nitrogen.

Over 3 yards of mulch was used in the garden, to reclaim the boundary mulch bed that contains the grapes and brambles, and to supplement the vacant tree beds created 2 years ago. More grapes and Rubus brambles were added. Five pounds of buckwheat was spread in the garden beds as a biological weapon against re-encroachment of the weeds that were just cut or removed.

Many of those tree beds are no longer vacant!

Those new trees plus a surprising find after completing the cleanup efforts will be in the next posts.

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4 thoughts on “War against weeds – Long overdue update

    • Thank you for the comment and I hope you enjoyed reading! I’m still pursuing the blog and the subjects it covers but have been doing so less actively. I moved away from the farm for a new day job and am attempting to maintain it with infrequent visits. The distance I moved is just barely significant enough to make visiting difficult; it either has to be a full day trip or an overnight trip which has been hard to work into the schedule.

      To give some closure to this post, I originally had mostly lost control of the garden again – the buckwheat failed to establish itself to the degree necessary to out-compete the weeds. A long, severe drought at the end of summer stressed all of the perennial plants and trees. I won’t know if there was lasting damage until next spring. On the other hand, the drought helped me get out ahead of the weeds…for now at least.

      I’ve had a post saved for nearly 2 years that explains why I stopped focusing primarily on the farm but I have not been brave enough to publish it. I promise I will soon.

      Currently, I’m casually browsing listings for a piece of property closer to my new home. I can’t afford one yet, but I want to be familiar with the market if/when I am able to buy. Since leaving the farm, I picked up a few new hobbies that have been time-consuming. They aren’t relevant to this blog, and I didn’t want to shoehorn them into here.

      The result is I haven’t been maintaining this blog or curating content as much as I had hoped. I apologize for that and I plan to pick this back up soon, even if my posting schedule is less frequent.

      For the near future I’ll try to at least get the backlog of content, like the allusions in this post, finished and published!

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  1. dave willmore says:

    Hey, no problem. Life moves quickly and changes direction often. I found your blog fascinating because our views on nature and homesteading are similar. I’m not as educated as you in silviculture or agriculture so I enjoyed reading your angle on things I had observed in the natural world. I’m also looking for a property, but on a larger scale, and a few hours south where I can semi-retire but do some agriculture work. It sounds like the greenergrassfarm blog is near the end of it’s life and you’ve moved into a new direction. But I’d guess your heart will always be with homesteads and working with the land.

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    • Your comment is incredibly accurate. The main reason for my departure is due to a quick analysis I cobbled together of similar enterprises that did not bode well for economical sustainability. Hopefully, a long hiatus is more accurate than a complete departure. I have every desire to build a food production system (at any scale) that is equally ecologically and economically sustainable.

      Luckily I found a role with a renewable energy company that I find personally fulfilling opposed to just being a source of income. My plan now is to achieve some level of financial independence before pursuing the farm full time. By avoiding dependence on monetizing the food system, I can work at a more manageable pace.

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