Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Community Garden Plot Update: Weeds-Be-Gone

I know this doesn't look like much.  But oh my word, I have never been so proud of dirt in my entire life!  It was HARD work to get to this point!

This is what my allotment looked like on Day 1: Weed Heaven.  My plot is between the two wooden stakes and then from there to the fence.

And this was after hours of weeding.  Not complete but this felt like a huge step.

So you can see...I worked really hard.  Many of the weeds had roots that were 12" (or more) deep.  Dandelions are a Bitch!  It took two people a lot of back-breaking hours to dig up this 10' x 24' parcel of land.

I know it's hard to see but if you compare the fence line in the photo above to the fence line in the photo below, you can see a huge difference.  The weeds along the fence are amazing in strength.  I spent 5 minutes trying to pull one up today and the weed totally won.  It's still there.  But I took the piles of decaying weeds (shown above but they were much more decayed) and layered them on top of the weeds that were impossible to pull by the fence.  In an effort to build up my soil.

That space is pretty much unusable this year.  Because in addition to weeds, it is FULL of ROCKS, too!  A house once stood on this site.  The soil is full of rocks and bricks.  It's awesome!  So I'm not planting anything along the fence line this year.  I will just do my best to maintain it this summer and then amend it more over the fall and winter months in prep for next year (that is...if I survive this year).  Instead, I have it planned out to allow large squash and melons to use that space to spread out.  Hopefully that will aid in shading out more weeds, too.

The onion (I think it's onion...unless it's garlic...which would send me over the moon in excitement) clump you see is the only non-weed treat in my garden left by the previous occupant.  It's right in the middle of my planned walkway but whatever.  I'll just step over and around it.  Behind it (so towards the fence), you can see several melons and squash.  They are planted a little close together but that's because I am banking on a few not surviving (This ain't my first trip to the rodeo...I'm amazing at having plants die the day after I proclaim them to be strong and healthy.) and them also using that unusable space of weedy rocks to spread out.

The prize piece (so far) is my squash house.  An A-frame structure made of two found wood pallets that were hinged together.  I am growing several varieties of squash and melons that are very small.  So they are perfect for climbing as the fruit isn't terribly heavy.  At the moment it feels like I've sacrificed a lot of valuable space for this thing, but as long as the plants survive and grow, it should prove to be a great space saver.  The plants won't have to sprawl all over the ground.  Which not only saves space but also keeps the fruits from being quite as vulnerable to rot and pests.  (Though last year I grew these same varieties up a trellis and the squirrels ate all but two tiny it's not fool all.)

Here's hoping round two of the rains this week won't drown these babies!  I've been growing them since the last week in February.  And I again recognize that they are tight.  But I am expecting a few to die.  It always happens.  It will work itself out in the end.  I hope!

Now a confession.

I'm nervous!

You fellow gardeners are all growing in a similar style.  Very traditional rows with these deep ditches between each row (for the life of me I can't figure out what the deep ditches do).  And I have my garden planned in a more square foot gardening method.  (I'll be sure to take a photo soon so you can see the difference.)  I'm super nervous that my differences will be off-putting.  There are lists of rules about keeping your plot up to standards.  And you can get in trouble (sort of like earning demerits and fines) if you don't keep things just so.

So while I am excited as can be over my trash-to-treasure squash house...I am on edge waiting for an email telling me it has to go. (I have no plan B by the if I am told it's not allowed to stay because they think it's solution will obviously be to just cry.)  I don't know these people and am just not sure what they will think of my against the grain ways.


Flo said...

That's a great re-purpose of those pallets! Wishing you lots of luck with your garden. What I have planted so far is doing well, I need to finish planting my last two things.

REBrown said...

I love square foot gardening. We did it this first year and so far we've had a lot of luck with it.

Casey said...

I'd be surprised if they tell you it has to go. What about recycling? Isn't it better to reuse it that throw it in a landfill or something? I'm curious about your community garden. Is it truely run by the city or is it more "private"? Ours is run by the city and they take care of prepping the ground, etc. Is there a compost area for this community garden?

amy said...

I love these posts and wish you great success! This is a goal of mine for next year. (And I can totally appreciate how tedious/challenging it is to pull weeds - looks AWESOME!)

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

Casey- My garden is not run by the city. Actually, I've never heard of community garden run by a city. Though I admit to only being familiar with a few around the country. Interesting!

It's a non profit group that works with the city though. They have gardens here in my city, where their home base is, and in two other cities that are next door to mine. All urban. Most of the land used is actually owned by the group.

The group does take care of some of the soil in other gardens in other cities. But to my knowledge, none of the land in my city is ever tilled. Sad face! That would have saved me a ton of time. But as long as I keep up with it from here on out, it should be a MUCH easier task in the coming years.

It's an awesome organization but they are so strict. As a first time gardener (with them), I am just learning all of their rules.


Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

And no, my garden doesn't have a compost. My particular garden is quite small. Other larger gardens in the city do have compost areas and even some fruit trees. I compost at home though so that's not really an issue for me, personally.


BroncoMom said...

It won't be long now before you see changes in the garden!
This is so nice to be able to follow along with your planting journey.
Your spot looks great Farmer Crocodile!!

Dr. Blondie said...

I love your squash house--what a brilliant idea! Good luck!


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