Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Weird (to us) Looking Gardens

Ever since we've lived here (ten years this January), we've used the no-till gardening method- using lots of straw, leaves and grass clippings to keep weeds down and moisture in.  We had several very successful years using this method.  Our gardens thrived and were a pleasure to walk around in since our shoes never got muddy!  But the past couple summers life has gotten busier and we slacked on making sure there was enough mulch put down.  When you don't lay a thick enough layer of mulch the weeds NOTICE and they take full advantage of your full schedule, lack of mulch, and they. take. over.

So this year, we decided to till and hoe.  Because of this we have strange-looking gardens because...well, of the tilling and hoeing.  This may not be weird to you, but it sure looks weird to us.

The gardens still aren't perfect.  There are still a few weeds and other garden-relating things hanging about but to us, they look rather neat and a dirty sort of way.

The pros are that we don't have to go hunting for mulch and hoeing out small weeds is a breeze.  The cons are that moisture isn't readily available under the (nonexistent) mulch (although we've had a wet spring which has helped) and our shoes get muddy when we walk the rows after it rains.

sunflowers (which we never mulched)

It's been a welcome change of pace and our gardens look more "normal" to others.  We occasionally mulch with grass clippings as we have them but I'm still not used to our gardens' new look.  Don't get me wrong- I like it. I just have to remind myself that you can't judge a garden by its naked paths...or something like that.

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  1. It's been so wet we haven't even planted our garden yet. Hoping to plant some fall green beans soon. The fall beans seem to do better for us anyway. Your garden looks GREAT to me!!

  2. Were TOTALLY mulchers, primarily using grass clipping from the city park out our back door on our 20 x 30 garden, as it's free, unsprayed and (usually) plentiful. What is NOT plentiful is time, so I know what you mean on the weed invasion... I bought a stirrup hoe and it's been wonderful in nipping little weeds (bindweed especially) in the bud if I get out there and do it, but we definitely prefer the mulch.

  3. How funny. I've never done a lot of mulching though I know the benefits. It's as you said - life just gets busy. Sometimes I feel like I do good to get the seeds in the ground. Our issue is volunteer tomatoes, parsley, and borage as well as weeds. Your garden looks beautiful and I'm sure the veggies will taste just as good:)

  4. We had planned to do a lot more mulching with grass clippings this year. Like you, being too busy kept us from getting out to mow (to get the clippings) on the nice days, and the rain kept us from mowing on other days. There is still time and I hope to get some mulch down soon.

    Your 'traditional' garden does look great and, mulch or not, will fill the pantry and freezer.

  5. This sparks a question for you, as we are the opposite. This is our first year (primarily because of a bigger space) of being 'mulchers' however, we are wondering what do you do with it once the year is all done and you clean out all the plants. At times I have mulched a bit with grass clippings which obviously just break down quickly, but now we are mulching with coconut husk (from local greenhouse growers) I feel it functions somewhat similar to wood chips and wouldn't breakdown in one year. I'm thinking that it would be to bulky to leave on top, and how would you seed next you rake the mulch to the side?

    1. Hi, Simone:-). I don't know much about coconut husks but after all the work of getting mulch on your garden- don't remove it! :-) The mulch will break down adding wonderful organic matter to your soil. If some of it is still around next year, that's less you have to mulch, too. Pull out dead plants, covering bare spots with mulch to prevent new weeds. Some people add mulch to their gardens in the fall to "put it to bed" for the winter. Come spring, just rake your mulch aside where you want to plant. Once the plants are up and a few inches tall, bring the mulch in around them to keep moisture in and weeds down. Best of luck! :-)

  6. Just that easy eh? Ok, maybe I was overthinking it....I like the thought of some of my mulching effort this year meaning less work I have to do next year. Thanks! :)


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