Monday, November 2, 2015

Incredible November Day

Having missed ten consecutive weeks of being able to work in the garden since August first, now four hours of outside work in a day is possible.  The weeds enjoyed my absence and they took giant steps toward reclaiming my planting beds as their own.  With a beautiful day today, steps were taken to reclaim what I view as mine.  We are working toward the mess in the right foreground.  If we are given a few more days like today, order will be restored to more garden beds.

Peas were planted here this spring.  As has been the case for the past several years, an early season hot and dry spell ended the tender young plants.  Spinach and beet plants were also hammered. We tried to carry enough water to these plants to keep them alive but no usable crop was seen this year.  Neglect following the crop failure produced this mess.  We  did not work here today but this bed should be cleared soon.  The weeds can be pulled and the chicken wire can be taken down but the countless number of new weed seeds will remain.  This season's neglect will bring an impressive weed crop next year.

The center bed also held peas this year.  These suffered the same fate as those in the upper photo.  All of the weeds here have been cleared.  We are trying something new.  Usually the cleared beds are left bare for the winter.  Exposed to sunlight, disease and pests would face unfavorable conditions resulting in a decline in their numbers.  Our experience has been that many weeds start to grow before the snow clears.  With the huge number of fresh seeds dropped this year, we had to try something different.  Nearby leaves have been gathered and placed on the freshly weeded planting soil.  We hope the leaf cover will prevent weed seeds from germinating.  In the spring, these leaves will be close at hand to be used as mulch during the next growing season.  Now the inverted wire cages will prevent the leaves from simply blowing away.  Some decomposition may occur before planting time and that will enrich the soil.  We shall see what these leaf covered beds look like at winter's end.  For now the bed in the background has been weeded and is awaiting its leaf blanket.

We go to bed tonight tired and a little sore, but happy.  It is exciting to see things headed in the right direction!


Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

I had the same fate...just recently gardening to clear areas since an injury in late July...and what a mess. I use leaf mulch on my beds for does help some.

Beth @ PlantPostings said...

Sounds like you have a good system going. I use marsh hay on my vegetable/cut flower bed. The marsh hay, unlike straw and field hay, doesn't contain weed seeds. And it decomposes faster than leaves. This link explains it: Marsh Hay Info. I use leaves, too, on some of my perennial beds, and then I usually rake some of them away in the spring. But I agree: Leaf mulch is excellent cover for soil and plants during the winter. This El Nino weather sure is comfortable!