Sunday, 6 April 2014

Garden Do Over - Minus the Grass

Take a look at it now because this Kikuyu grass is going going (soon to be) gone.  I know its lush and soft to walk on but its a right royal pain in the butt.  It runs everywhere and through my beds, despite the layers of cardboard and newspaper that were put down when we built the beds. It steals all the moisture from my veggies.  I will miss being able to garden in bare feet but I'm sure ill manage to find a comfy pair of garden shoes.  The plan is to add lots of vertical beds using pallets and gutters supported by upright poles along the fence, some of which will have espaliered fruit trees between them.  With a solid ground cover (probably Tuscan toppings like the front nature strip here)  ill be able to group pots together giving me more growing space and soften the look of the garden.  Its looking like an accountants garden, all straight lines.  

 As you can see once the surrounding iron was removed (surprisingly easily) the grass has well and truly taken over.  I'm getting ready for winter crops and i couldn't imagine planting in this nor continuing to pull the runners out every few weeks.

Step 1 - Shovel all this soil onto a mat for cleaning up later.

Step 2 - Use the dreaded Roundup to spray all the grass up to 2m from the bed.  I know, i should do it all at once but its such a big job and well, i finally ran out of the stuff which I've had for years.  Tilly has been locked in the house for the day so that there is no danger of her coming into contact with the poison.

Once I've killed it all, anything that pops up with be dealt with using a kettle of hot water - tip from Gavin (Greening of Gavin).  We were joking a few weeks ago about how if anything green started coming up in the wrong place id be out there like a female warrior with a garden wand raised in my right hand and a kettle in the other.

This is how i picture myself !!!

This is more like reality!!!

Step 3 - Put down weed mat.  Ive doubled mine and pegged it down tight.

Eventually this will go everywhere under the gravel.  
Step 4 - Return the iron surround and put a layer of strong cardboard down.  More Roundup in corners where i had to cut the mat to put the legs into the soil.

Lucky i have skips full of this stuff at work
So, do you think I've gone overboard?  I don't, this stuff would still be around after a nuclear holocaust.

Step 5 - I then filled the bottom of the bed with a huge pile of leaf litter.  Food for the worms and hopefully a moisture layer.

I sprinkled pelleted organic fertiliser right through this layer and watered it in.

Step 6  - This one took some time.  I shovelled that grass ridden soil into a wheel barrow (make that about 15 of them) and went through by hand and broke up all the clay lumps and removed every rock and runner i could find.  It took a while but this soil was worth keeping, take a look at all the worms.

Seriously, this wasn't staged.  This is how many were in there.  Every time i broke open a clod it was filled with worms.  I felt like a worm condo wrecker.  
Step 7 - As i refilled the bed, Hubby was catching any i missed and generally having fun playing in the dirt.
He even said it was therapeutic running his hand through the soil and talking to the worms.

Got to admit this soil is looking pretty good.   Lots or organic matter and a blend of both my clay and introduced soil and compost.   All ready for some plants and mulch.  
I have a lovely collection of onion bulbs that were plaited by Jess from Rabidlittlehippy and an onion bag full of garlic bulbs just waiting for the bed to be ready.  Next will be the other low bed which is 2m x 1.25m.

The lettuce bed is still flourishing.  

As are the zucchinis and peppers.


Just in case you think I'm neglecting my family, despite my aching feet i did some cooking with whatever i could find.  I had a full dozen eggs and some staples only - after yesterdays disaster i didn't feel up to shopping.

Always, always, always have home made pasta sauce in the freezer.   Hubby's (son wont eat it) and another serve in the fridge for tomorrow.  

Bacon and cheese quiche for the young man.

Onion, potato and bacon quiche served with my zucchini relish (here) which i made in January for me with lots left over for tomorrow.  
Zucchini Slice - Still using them up.  Good for the freezer.
So have i redeemed myself from yesterday's wimp of the year?

Thanks for Visiting Living In The Land of Oz


  1. Wow you certainly made up for the day before you are superwoman today you have been extra busy. Sounds like lots of work to be done. Can't wait to see it all finished you have some great ideas

  2. You're not the only condo wrecker. I dug up spuds yesterday and felt like a murderer. I'm sure I chopped dozens of worms in half (and no the halves don't automatically live to become new worms - you have to chop in the right place) and the kids had a blast talking to and relocating the worms.
    I don't tink that's overkill with the weedmat and roundup. I despise roundup though as it's MonSatan (Monsanto) crap but you can buy non-MonSatan glyphosate but if you need more come and demolish my stash of the stuff. Bought before I realised.
    Your gardens are fantabulous and I can't wait to see what else you fit in your gardens. :)

  3. That's a lot of effort to get rid of the grass in your beds....well done...I suffer through it and pull it out, but it does keep coming back.....I don't go near round-up though...scared it will leach from soil to the veggies.

    1. Oh Suzie i wouldnt ever use it in the beds, just the paths around them. I think im actually going to cover it all with the weed mat and then when im sure that is all dead ill pull it up and put down gravel and toppings. I need a fairly firm footing as i have bad feet. Even the squishy thick grass makes my ankles hurt and wobble all over the place. My low beds are separated from the underlying soil and the high ones have a barrier so that my vegie soil depth is only about 45 cms deep.

  4. Wow you have been busy. Your cooking looks great it made my mouth water. i love good honest home cooking.


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