Wild Things Farm

  (Crab Orchard, Tennessee)
Farm life adventures of the Happy Hoer

Posts tagged [landscaping]

The many faces of weeding

I'm not exactly sure how much of a gardener's time is spent weeding, but I think it's a large percentage of the time spent in the garden.  This year, in the veggie gardens, I used leaves as mulch and it is working wonders!  Sure, there are places where the crabgrass is attempting to take over and I have to pull a weed or three now and then, but percentage of time in the garden spent weeding?---I'd say less than 10%.  Another big perk is that as the leaves rot away they are feeding the soil, which has a large percentage of clay in it anyway. 

The flower beds around the house are another story.  Last fall and winter were spent working on house things--cabinets, floors, and a couple of landscape beds around the house.  The one in the front got more attention than the side garden, and I was able to get most of the plants in that I wanted to, and spread a layer of leaves before growing season hit.  I've enjoyed watching the bed come alive with hummingbirds on the coral honeysuckle, columbine,  and bee balm, hummingbird moths and a myriad of butterflies and goldfinches on the anise hyssop, and butterflies galore on the purple coneflower, black-eyed susans and coreopsis.  Also, it's one of those beds that has gotten so full, that weeds don't take over and aren't really so noticeable.   As a matter of fact, a HUGE clump of millet came up on its own on the corner and the goldfinches and Indigo Buntings have been wearing it out!

The side garden is another story.  It's a sort of a rock garden in that I used a bunch of big flagstones to cover areas and left cracks and spaces between them for plants.  I did get a few Black Eyed Susans and a few native shrubs in before garden season hit, but no mulch.   The weeds stayed pretty low as long as it was hot and dry out,


 but we got a few showers, and today, after a few days of regular showers, I noticed the beginnings of a forest--a ragweed forest!   Ragweed can get REALLY tall, like 8 feet plus.  Crab grass nicely covers the rest of the ground in this ragweed forest.  I've always heard that "Mother Nature" abhors bare ground.   Being a CSA farmer consumes all daylight hours during the summer, so when garden season hit, the "pretty beds" were "pretty much" on their own. 

Today I couldn't stand it any more.  It's too wet to work in the veggie gardens, so I went to the shop, picked up my trusty loppers and cut all the ragweed to ground level.  Hey, at least it isn't hampering my vision any more, and I did catch it before it set seed.   One can actually see across the bed now. 

I won't say that using loppers is the most efficient way to weed, but it will at least keep the bed down to a "dull roar" until it reaches a higher priority on my list.


Scotch in the rocks, please

I've always had a fascination for moss.  I remember my grandmother had a root cellar that we always called the "dairy" that was a really scary concrete building dug back into the hill behind their house.  It was scary because I was a little girl and there were great humongous katydids all over the ceiling and saggy wooden shelves with all the canned vegetables and fruits that my nanny would preserve in the summer. 

Well, on the top of the dairy was my favorite place.  Moss would grow so well up there--I would collect all different kinds from the woods around the house then carry it up there and make different "rooms" in my imaginary house on the roof of the dairy.  I had to sneak up there though because she was afraid I would make ruts in the hillside climbing up there and cause it to wash out.  But I was always real careful (and sneaky). 

That fascination with moss has carried into my adulthood.   I've owned two books on moss, still don't know the names of any of them, but still love it.  When I found this plant at the nursery I was really excited.  It's called "Scotch Moss" and it's not really a moss at all, but a plant that looks like moss.  I don't have gutters on the house so I placed flat stones at the drip line to carry the water away from the house.  On the front of the house I saw the perfect scenario for a Scotch Moss garden. 


The Scotch Moss is blooming right now, with teeny tiny white blooms. 


The stones at the top of the picture (on the left side of the bed) are actually grinding stones (mortars) with grinding rocks (pestles) that were used by the Indians to grind up acorns, roots, berries, and whatever else they ground up to eat--they make a pretty cool border at the front entrance to the house. 

If you don't have a spot where you can grow moss in the shade then try Scotch Moss, or the other one which is a darker green color, called Irish Moss.

Scotch in the rocks----it's really cool!

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