I cleared another three beds yesterday. Or should I say I cleared 10% of the garden. That sounds way better described like this. I am such a hard worker doing 10%! But if the truth be known, it was actually kind of easy. The soil is soft and crumbly and not too wet, so the weed roots just slipped right out. The other thing is the weeds weren’t that bad either. A few large weeds as opposed to millions of tenacious little ones. All I needed to do was loosen the soil with my fork and then lift them out. It was temping to do more beds but I am trying to be sensible and not overdoing things… there is still heaps of time
I started out on my bean bed. The frost had done its thing and they were all mushy and there was no kidding myself – they were dead. So as I worked my way through the garden I noticed a few of the weeds had a familiar look to them. There were some really large, really healthy parsley plants. I have no idea how they got there – I certainly didn’t put them there. There was also a nice bok choi kinda plant. I don’t know which one because I didn’t plant it! But a weed is a plant in the wrong place, and I didn’t want them there so I pulled them out.
All was not lost, I took the parsley into the kitchen and blitzed it all up and froze it flat in zip lock bags so if I need any parsley and it is too cold and dark outside, I can grab some from the freezer. I lied about the bok choi thingy – it is still there and I shall look up the best recipe for it, then it will be outta there.
Next I moved on to the odds and sods bed, which is where I plant things I don’t have room for anywhere else or new and exciting must haves that don’t fit into my plan, or things that I really don’t know where to put in my crop rotation system. I pulled out squishy tall okra stalks, a few soggy peppers, a sunflower whose seeds had long since been stolen by the birds, some tomatoes I couldn’t fit into the big bed and my peanuts. I had forgotten I’d planted them and while they had been hit by the frost, only the tops were crisp and slimy and the same time. I got a great little haul from my four plants. Some of them were even big enough to pass for shop bought ones!
Then I turned my attentions to the bedraggled peppers. They were completely stuffed. Short of some kind of miracle there was no coming back from their encounter with the Mr Jack Frost. As I worked my way across the bed I began to notice something I’d seen every year, but not thought much of. Looking at the carcass of the pepper plants I noticed they were very shallow rooted. Which makes sense – as the moment they get a bit of weight on the fruit they start to fall over.
But the light bulb moment came when I looked across at the next bed in my crop rotation cycle. This bed will be filled with carrots and root crops next season. These need soil that is soft and fluffy deep down and following a shallow rooted crop isn’t going to save my poor back from a bit of heavy digging to prepare the soil. I need to work smarter, not harder. I have three things from the Solanaceae family in my garden and each of them are in three separate crop rotation cycles. The tomatoes are in the best place for them so they can’t be moved, but I had a look at the spuds and thought the peppers and the spuds need to swap places. The spuds will loosen the soil nicely before the carrots get in there and grow straight and big.
So I made the move. At this point there are no plants so all I did was swap the labels. Simple!
Come again soon – I think I may need to mow again.
Sarah the Gardener : o )