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Cheerleaders needed, please. This is daunting.

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Post  mollyhespra on 9/4/2019, 4:45 pm

Quick update: work and other distractions have prevented me from doing much lately but I'm catching up with the help of a local high school student.

Cheerleaders needed, please. This is daunting. - Page 3 20190910
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 9/4/2019, 8:06 pm

Cool!  Anything is everything!  Cheerleaders needed, please. This is daunting. - Page 3 3170584802
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Post  sanderson on 9/5/2019, 3:02 pm

Cheerleaders needed, please. This is daunting. - Page 3 3170584802

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Post  mollyhespra on 9/6/2019, 6:06 pm

And after today this is where we're at:

Cheerleaders needed, please. This is daunting. - Page 3 20190911

Not too bad considering this is what the garden looked like when I started:

Cheerleaders needed, please. This is daunting. - Page 3 20190824

I'm so glad it occurred to me to ask a local HS kid I know if he wanted to make a few bucks helping me weed. He's been here about 5 hours this week and he's an awesome little weeder! Turns out he used to help his grandparents weed when he was younger and he enjoys it. Who knew?!! So between the two of us, we're back on track! I might just make it before the snow flies. bounce
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Post  Kelejan on 9/6/2019, 7:10 pm

Should give you a good start in the spring. Well done. happy banana
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Post  mollyhespra on 9/8/2019, 8:12 pm

@Kelejan wrote:Should give you a good start in the spring. Well done. happy banana

Thanks,  Kelejan.  I feel so fortunate to have found a garden helper.  

Today he came by and worked some more even though I couldn't be here.  He texted me some pictures but it looks even better in person.  I can actually walk all around the perimeter of the garden for the first time in 3 years.  It's hard to see because there's still a lot of growth between the last two beds, shielding the weeded area from view,  but it feels like we're over the hump at least.

There's still the outside perimeter of the fence to weed as well as some more raised beds along the side wall and in the back of the house.

Here's a different view,  looking back from what was an impenetrable thicket this morning.

Cheerleaders needed, please. This is daunting. - Page 3 20190913
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Post  Kelejan on 9/8/2019, 8:40 pm

After my five-week visit to England I came back to long grass and overgrown beds but I have not made such good progress as you have. the cable that I use for my lawn-mower had to be mended so that cut out a few days an then of course it rained, but now my lawn is almost under control but my main job at the moment is to deal with the literal avalanche of falling apples. Each day I pick up two buckets of apples that I have a hard time carrying back to my house to deal with.

I keep telling myself that it will end but there are still hundreds on the tree. The falling apples are getting larger and larger and I am dehydrating the largest and best ones. Then I get rid of the little ones, the green ones, the damaged ones then concentrate on drying the good ones as they are the quickest to deal with.

Next time I go away it will not be five weeks, two or three perhaps, as the health insurance for an oldie is more than the cost of the flight.  As I had not flown for twenty years, I was completely out of the picture as to the costs of travelling to another country.

We must both try and do a little each day even though we may not feel like it.  today I did absolutely nothing, but will get down to it tomorrow.
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 9/9/2019, 1:12 pm

Slow and steady wins the race, they say, and I believe they’re right!
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Post  mollyhespra on 3/13/2020, 8:22 pm

Hi, Friends.

I figure it's high time for an update.

I'll take pictures during the day tomorrow even though all you'll see are snow-covered beds, but you can use your imagination.

We got through weeding the lanes between the beds in the whole garden.  We pulled out the larger weeds that were growing in the beds and the ones that weren't too noxious we just threw on top of the beds in the hope that they'd smother anything underneath.  The noxious weeds we threw out.  

So now I'm wondering if I shouldn't maybe keep the beds covered this year and just use 5 gallon buckets so that I can really smother the weeds?

I'm going to need to start some seeds within the next few weeks, but on a very small scale.

Hope everyone is doing well and staying calm during this interesting time.  BIG hug
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Post  Kelejan on 3/14/2020, 2:39 am

Good to see you again Molly and hope you can get your garden under control. I am sure we have  enough imagination when we see your pictures.
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/14/2020, 12:14 pm

Hi Molly!!!!  So glad for the update, that may be a good idea to give it a rest this year, just because you don’t know how many seeds are in the beds, is that your thought too?  

I had a similar problem in a 3x7 bed that I put some cow poo on for compost; lo and behold, all the grass the cows ate was full of grass seeds, making a nice little yard in my bed.  I solarized it for a while, then re-composted and let it rest.  It is now my strawberry bed!
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Post  yolos on 3/14/2020, 4:46 pm

No, seeds are pretty cheap.  Try sowing directly when the weather is appropriate.  If too many weeds, forget about vegetables and solarize.  But if not properly done, your weed seeds willl just germinate next year.  Let them germinate and then kill them.
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Post  mollyhespra on 3/14/2020, 5:51 pm

Cheerleaders needed, please. This is daunting. - Page 3 20200310Ok, so here's what the beds are looking like today.   

My concern isn't so much weed seeds germinating as weed roots re-sprouting. 

We barely had time to get the lanes pretty throughly hand weeded last year and only roughly weeded the actual beds.  

In my quick little walkabout to take this picture I see where some raspberry canes were hiding between some ornamentals that I purposely left behind so those will have to get pulled carefully and thoroughly unless I want to end up with a bed of brambles. 

Still lots to do before it's any semblance of its former self.  cyclops
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Post  mollyhespra on 3/14/2020, 6:18 pm

Actually, I think I have an idea.  

My beds are 10.5" deep.  The MM has been consumed down to maybe 7"? 

If I remove the weed carcasses that remain and then cover the beds in cardboard and then put fresh compost on top of the cardboard and plant into that, I'll be achieving the same goal.

Thoughts?
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Post  sanderson on 3/15/2020, 4:58 am

Or, try solarizing after removing the plant material on top of the beds. After a few weeks, add 2" of compost.

http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74145.html

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Post  OhioGardener on 3/15/2020, 8:41 am

@mollyhespra wrote:Actually, I think I have an idea.  

My beds are 10.5" deep.  The MM has been consumed down to maybe 7"? 

If I remove the weed carcasses that remain and then cover the beds in cardboard and then put fresh compost on top of the cardboard and plant into that, I'll be achieving the same goal.

Thoughts?

That would probably work very well.  I have used a similar method of killing the cover crops in beds - I knocked down the cover crop, completely covered it with 4 or 5 layers of newspaper, an then covered it with several inches of compost. I let that sit for 2 or 3 weeks, and than I planted through the compost and had wonderful results. The cover crops and newspaper completely decomposed and fed the soil food web.

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Post  mollyhespra on 3/18/2020, 2:41 pm

Hm...what if I do both? Solarize one bed and cardboard another and see what happens? Might be revealing though my initial thoughts are that I don't have enough sun power to properly solarize up here in the Frozen North.

So the saga continues...we're having unseasonably warm temps here (40s today) so I went out to see if I could get a jump on cleaning up at least but the ground is still frozen solid after about an inch or so.

Stay healthy and safe everyone!
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Post  Kelejan on 3/18/2020, 3:36 pm

@mollyhespra wrote:---
So the saga continues...we're having unseasonably warm temps here (40s today) so I went out to see if I could get a jump on cleaning up at least but the ground is still frozen solid after about an inch or so.

Stay healthy and safe everyone!

Same here, Molly, looks lovely out but snow still solid. As is the compost heap on the top,  I have not dug into it yet.
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Post  sanderson on 3/18/2020, 5:38 pm

Molly, One thing that will happen with solarization is it will force weed seeds to germinate. You can then pull them when they are small.

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Post  mollyhespra on 3/19/2020, 8:23 pm

That's a GOOD point, Sanderson.  Cheerleaders needed, please. This is daunting. - Page 3 3170584802

Maybe the thing to do is solarize first, THEN put cardboard on top to smother.

When I think  of solarization, I think of total anhilation like when you've got RKN.  This is more like a mini greenhouse effect. 

Yea, I think that's the way to go. Solarize first then smother. Thanks!
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/22/2020, 10:19 am

Sounds like a plan, Molly!
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Post  NHGardener on 3/29/2020, 6:47 am

Hi Molly! I have been absent here for several years (southern NH) but after years of neglect I am trying to get my garden into shape, and here I find your story doing the same thing! Your photos are amazing and in such short time you've come a long way.

I jumped to the end of this thread so I need to go back and study what you've done, but last week my husband weed whacked most of my garden area, fixed the fencing that had collapsed, I put black plastic over most of the garden, beds and rows, until I ran out of plastic. I wonder if the grocery store is giving out cardboard but these days I'm hesitant to ask. One 4x8 box I did spruce up in the fall with fresh Coast of Maine bagged soil and planted garlic. 

Good to see you still here! And funny to read your story that your garden ended up pretty much just like mine, and is now hopefully coming out of hibernation. Maybe the soil rest was good for it. Smile
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Post  NHGardener on 3/29/2020, 9:13 am

After reading through, I see your thoughts Molly on plasticking everything this year and waiting until next year to plant, or solarizing, cardboarding, and planting this year. I have thought through the same things. My husband said: This year you're going to have to cover in plastic and leave it until next year. But gee. I already ordered my seeds. How can I wait until next year? Right now things are black plasticked, and I just ordered another roll of black plastic from Lowes to cover the rest of the garden, but I would really like to plastic it for now, while also turning it over with a shovel and weeding in spurts. Another thought is keep it covered in black plastic, but cut out holes to put the tomatoes, etc. I don't have the clear plastic to solarize at this point. 

Your material between your beds looks beautiful, like wood shavings. ? Mine is pretty much pure grass at this point. Very hard to weed.

As far as raspberries, they grow so beautifully and they're so delicious that I'm trying to keep one long stand of them, but controlled.
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Post  OhioGardener on 3/29/2020, 9:36 am

@NHGardener wrote: Another thought is keep it covered in black plastic, but cut out holes to put the tomatoes, etc.

A local truck farm does this with their strawberries, and seems to have good success with it. But, they have drip irrigation running along the rows under the plastic.

But, I would think using heavy cardboard would work better than plastic, as it would allow the soil to breathe. The cardboard would smother the weeds, but not block the air/water movement. And the cardboard would decompose in the garden providing carbon for the worms and microbes. Many commercial vegetable farms use paper "mulch" for this purpose - paper mulch is sold by the roll for this purpose, such as this one: Paper Biodegradable Mulch

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Post  Kelejan on 3/29/2020, 9:46 am

I clicked on the site  and everything on it is out of stock right now.
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