My current home boasts tons of land, which is a great thing for a dirt lover like me. When we got here though, there was nothing but a lot of that dirt. That is why we dubbed it “the dirt farm.” Well actually, there was something else. Weeds.
I think it is fair to say that weeds are the bane of my existence. I am one of those weirdos who will be in a parking lot on the way to my car and stop to pull random weeds from cracks and the streetlight beds. I feel like I am doing a service in a small way. When it comes to my home, I rule with an iron rod. No weeds! Ever.
So, when I saw my new landscape for the first time my heart sunk a bit. I don’t use chemicals, which meant endless hand pulling in 100 degree F. (38 C.) heat. I tried to smother some of the worst under black plastic, but it only worked on some of the pests. Overtime, I mastered my domain, and it was time to plant.
How to Control Weeds
I have learned from past landscapes. One big thing I learned was to avoid going against natural topography. By following the lines of what is there, I can minimize my workload, plants grow better, and I have naturally developed mini climates for a variety of species. I watched my new land daily. Overtime, the landscape design just came to me. In the lawn there were some areas that wouldn’t grow. I had tried to re-seed them, but they never did come back fully. So, these would be beds. I just had to expand them a bit and now had a place to put ornamentals.
I wouldn’t say I am attempting desert gardening, but our climate in summer is similar to a desert. We are well into scorching temperatures most of the day. The only time I can tackle chores outside is by waking as the sun comes up. By noon all bets are off, and I generally have to retire to the garage or the covered patio. This has made the landscape design challenging, to say the least. So, I am targeting a xeriscape, or drought tolerant vision.
I planted clumping bamboo along the fence. It likes water but is in a bit of a depression that collects moisture and keeps damp. I had to have some fruit, so a mini orchard appeared, along with fun things like strawberries, raspberries, and grapes. I am used to an edible landscape, so of course, I needed a large herb garden. I adore ornamental grasses, and they seem to love it out here. Pampas, maiden hair, zebra, fescue, etc.
Although this is akin to desert gardening, an edible landscape wouldn’t be much without a veggie garden. With a few hiccups, this year we had everything and more that we could want. Rhubarb, Brussels sprouts, several types of cabbage, two varieties of corn, three beans, broccoli, carrots, rutabaga, turnips, all sorts of allium, beets, seven kinds of pepper, tomatoes, tomatillos, and the list goes on. As I write, Covid and a supply chain have put a kink in our grocery supplies and amped up prices. I am a fat cat sitting on all the goodies I grew in our very hot and dry dirt farm.