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Quote of the Day: Organic Gardening

May 4th, 2014

“The only two herbicides we recommend are cultivation and mulching.”…Organic Gardening Magazine

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I noticed while working in the garden yesterday that the weeds are starting to germinate. Mulching and smothering is my preferred method of dealing with weeds, especially the tenacious ones. Right now half of my main garden is being smothered, it will remain fallow this year and I should be able to plant next year.
I’m also adding cardboard and feed bags around the little pottage in the back to smother the weeds around the edges. Every year in grows by a few feet thanks to smothering. This method takes patience, but it works very well. Sometimes you’ll need to smother for two years to get rid of vigorous perennial weeds.
My biggest method for controlling weeds is no till gardening. It’s amazing how much of a difference that makes in the number of weeds you have. The first year or two are spent hand weeding to get rid of any weeds from seed or root, after that initial flush the garden settles into a calm. There are weeds here and there, but nothing like there are when tilling.

How do you deal with weeds in your garden?

And So It Begins Again…

April 12th, 2014

What? Weeding of course…
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My biggest opponent is quack or couch grass. It’s a tenacious foe, but I will come out on top! Last year I battled valiantly and it receded, this year will be the same. Perhaps by next year I will have it eradicated from the potager behind the house and most of the big garden behind the garage.

What’s your most tenacious weed?

Stay On Top of It

July 10th, 2013

Now that your 5×5 Challenge garden in growing like a champ, the weeds are probably growing as well.  The key to keeping your gardening chores to a minimum is to weed often.  If you pull any weeds you see when you’re checking on the garden, it is never a huge chore.  Weeding will happen without you even noticing.
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I’ve been pulling the weeds when they’re tiny, this is the best way.  They don’t have big roots and don’t disturb the soil as much when you pull them. They’re also much easier to pull when they’re so small.
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Mulching is also a great way to keep weeding chores to a minimum. A couple inches of mulch will help keep weed seeds from germinating and it helps the soil retain moisture.  I wouldn’t use that brown bark stuff most people use on their flowerbeds, some shredded leaves or good compost will do. Spread an even layer around your plants, you can skip the lettuce patch and the scallions as they’re probably too close together and too small yet.

Any tips to stay on top of the weeds?

Friday Favorite: Weeding

April 26th, 2013

Weeding is a garden chore that I don’t mind, there’s something very relaxing about it.  I guess it’s the repetitious nature of it, it allows me the freedom to let my mind wander.   Once again, it’s the season for weeding.  I spent a half hour outside yesterday evening trying to rid an area of quack grass.
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For me, it’s a wonderful way to spend an evening.

What’s your favorite garden chore?

Le Potager du Chiot’s Run

October 4th, 2012

My to-do list is super long, especially when it comes to cleaning, office work, and other things. All of those things are being put off in order to get the small potager behind the house planted in crops that will hopefully provide something fresh for our plates this winter. It may be too late to plant things, but I’ve got nothing to lose but a few packs of seeds.

This garden is approximately 20 feet wide on all sides making it almost a perfect square.

Before I could plant anything, the garden needed clearing of weeds and past prime plants. The weed were tall and all going to seed, not a good thing. Letting weeds go to seed only means much more work in the future. Surely you’ve heard the quote “one year of seed equals seven years of weeds”. I will do just about anything to not let weeds go to seed in my garden.

This garden is a small kitchen garden located right off the enclosed back porch. I will use it for herbs, lettuces, and other edibles that I want to grow in small quantities and things that are harvested while I’m cooking. Back in Ohio, I had all my herbs growing in the flowerbeds directly around the house for quick harvests.

While I was filling my wheelbarrow with weeds, I spent my time making future plans for this space. I’ve always wanted a traditional four square garden filled with mostly herbs (here’s a great illustration of a four square garden). This little garden will eventually morph into that. There will be rock walls on the lower side to hold the soil back in the garden, on the upper side there will also be rock walls to hold the lawn back out of the garden. By doing this I can level this space a little more for my traditional four square garden.

I’m going to call it “Le Potager du Chiot’s Run”. It’s kind of funny that the name of this blog is French, since I don’t speak it, but I do speak Spanish. I decided that all things around here will keep with the French theme. The chicken coop will be named something French as well, perhaps “Chez Poulet” or “Maison pour le Poulets” (any suggestions?).

Until that happens, it’s going to be a small working kitchen garden. Yesterday I managed to plant a whole mess of mesclun, ‘Winterbor’ kale, a few different kinds of carrots, and cilantro. Then I got rained out.

Hopefully today I can plant the remainder of the cleared area with beets, more kale, spinach and radishes. While I’m doing that I’ll keep dreaming and planning the future of this space.

Do you have different garden zones for different kinds of edibles, close to the house for quick harvests, main crop areas, etc?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.