Ok so here comes a BIG LOAD of truth that y'all never asked for - and please do not judge my weeds too harshly! In the beginning, those first few years after we'd purchased the property, I was learning SO SO much about native plants, (Thx Jannell!!). We have a rule for weeding in the Natives Bed at the Teaching Garden: If you don't know what it is, let it grow! So my focus was identifying what I saw around me and how&where it grew and introducing as many native plants as I could. (I really do love a good before and after sequence, don't you???)
So here's Mom, standing in the middle of the yard where my vegetable garden will go. We had just bought the property. It was 2015.
--> Here's my little side-quest tip about vegetable garden placement: WHEN YOU'RE LOOKING TO START A VEGETABLE GARDEN, LOOK FOR THE SUN FIRST. That's it. Seems reasonable, yes? But most everyone, it seems, wants to stick a veggie garden in the back corner where it won't look - well, like a veggie garden in the front yard! But THIS is where my sun is! I have a lot of troubles with my veggies - but enough sun is NOT one of them!). :0)
So here's what things looked like when the raised beds got installed, (left pic). I used untreated furring strips to build, knowing that they'd rot in a few years but feeling like I'd have better ideas by the time that happened. WELL. These days my raised beds have been ~80% taken over by Bermuda Grass. (another post on the wretched, ever-growing, impossible to kill Bermuda Grass here. Well. It'll be here once I write it. ;0))
But here are the fresh-built veggie beds vs their current state of affairs:
So WTF HAPPENED HERE???
The Raised Beds: CLEARLY the furring strips have rotted. This was, actually, expected. What I did NOT plan for is 1)the Bermuda grass that i thought i'd dealt with well-before we got here. and 2) the absolute abandonment of my veg garden /weeding goals with sudden onset of a deep depression. (it happens. more about that later...when we know each other better!) But the few weeks of neglect was a substantial force in the outcome of this bed. Neglect, depression, Bermuda Grass. Baaaaad combo. HOWEVER!!! THIS BIRDHOUSE remained active through the season! And the Milkweed that popped up in this "bed" (I think "mass" might work better than "bed" at this point), created a patch that found many Monarchs happy, fed, and reproducing this past season. Nature will be ok. It's the HOA that's gonna get pissed. ;0)
OOOO!!! RANDOM THOUGHT!! WANNA SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN KIM GETS HER SIGHTS SET ON A BLOWTORCH!?!?!
B/C THIS WAS A LOT OF FUN LAST FALL. Not sure how effective it was, but it sure-as-hell felt pretty dam groovy. (random left-turn. go with it.)
The Black Locust Corner:
I was SO excited and got to planting right away! (we're back in 2015 now). I started (my first big-girl-gardeny decision!!!) by moving a big Black Locust from its' volunteer position beside the driveway to the far corner of the property -- to begin/anchor my screen-from-the-road. I was so proud. I had identified a fast-growing native tree, already on the property, that I could transplant to serve a very specific purpose! FREE TREE!! (This made the hubby very happy!!) And yet this was both good AND bad, as I've found. LOL As I've found it is with most things! Yes, it's a native tree. Yes, it's fast growing! As priority was a screen from the road, it hit all the right buttons. Now it's big and happy - and reproducing at a fantastic rate. The Black Locust spreads underground and creates little thickets. On this particular corner, it has merged with my (also native!) blackberries to create quite the thorny barrier! An incredibly effective deterrent to the eventual zombie invaders from the south!! ROFL!
My garden has been overtaken. By a Black Locust Tree. By Bermuda Grass, by Bittersweet Vines&Stiltgrass ohmy! By a thousand tiny battles that I might never even notice muchless get around to fixing. But it's okay.
Because here's the thing: My plants are still there, waiting for me to return. MOST of the plants - they KNOW what to do. They've evolved to do this! My garden does not need me to live, it just needs me to thrive. While the plant will do better when the surrounding weeds are removed, their presence doesn't mean certain death either!
This beautiful mess is always functional. Always evolving. My garden. My head. My life. We're in it together. :0)
And so on it goes!!! 2023 gonna be my best gardening year yet. :0)
And everything's just all going to be alright. :0)
peace n chicken grease, myfriends. ;0)