The Question Becomes “Will The Plants Kill Me Before I Kill the Plants?”

When the Butcher got home, I was still on the couch, in pretty much the same position he’d left me.

“Take the dog out,” I said.

“Then you at least have to get up and feed the animals.”

“I can’t.  Gardening is trying to kill me.”

“It’s called ‘exercise.’  It’s good for you.”

“I’m too out of shape to garden.”

“Gardening will get you in shape for gardening.”

“Oh great, then I’ll be ready for next year.  Apparently I’m a biennial.”

“It could be worse.  You could be one of those plants that dies at the end of the season.”

Anyway, the end result of my hard work on Friday and yesterday is that the big bed with the bottle tree (which is only two bottles away from being completed, and I have word that the two bottles are in transit) is prepped and planted.  There’s something coming up in the south end already which I’m going to take a “wait and see” attitude towards, but I’ve got Mexican sunflowers at the other end, hollyhocks all along the back, marigolds lining the front and a mix of daisies (which I don’t think will bloom until next year) , black eyed susans, columbine, and some other stuff scattered around.  Last year Leslie gave me a bunch of holiday cards embedded with wildflower seeds that her workplace had left over and I planted those near the bottle tree where the morning glories will be.  I didn’t bother to soak or knick the morning glories, though, because I don’t read instructions until it’s too late.

And I left myself a place for the coneflowers that should be arriving next week.  And I planted parsley in the bed, because Saraclark said the caterpillars will like it.

And there were peonies already there, of course, so it should be very flowery and awesome.

Then the Butcher and I ripped out some privet.  And really, I just need a macro so that I can hit “shift+control+P” and have it type “ripped out some privet” because I swear that’s 90% of what this yard needs.  So, we ripped out some privet along the back fence and put in our raspberry.  And yes, probably, I should have bought more than one, but I’m trying to strike a balance between splurging a little because my soul needs it and living frugally.

Anyway, it was while planting the raspberry that the Butcher and I noticed something very interesting.  Mud blob does not appear to live on the other side of the creek.  The dirt in the hole that we dug for the raspberry was the same color as the potting soil we brought back to fill in the hole with.

I don’t know if this is why they had their garden clear back there or if this is a result of 50 years of gardening back there and amending the soil or a mix of both, but you could have knocked us both over with a stick.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I found Illinois dirt back there or anything, but it is remarkably better than the stuff in the rest of the yard.  (For instance, while I was loosening the soil up around the bottle tree, I found this triangle thing that I thought was a piece of plastic.  I bent down to pick it up and realized that it was just some mudblob that had come to the surface when we dug the hole for the pole and then dried against the pole–so that it had a straight flat side.  I could have killed someone with its sharp edge.  I hope they don’t have Mud Blob under the prison or prisoners who read my blog have just discovered a whole new way to construct a shiv.)

Anyway, we’re going to till the garden today, so I do have a question.  I have been taking Bridgett’s advice to heart about not tilling what you don’t want to weed, so I was planning on having a garden that was a series of beds separated by grass.  But then I thought, “Oh god, how wide would those grass strips have to be to get a lawnmower down them?”

So, here’s my question (and here’s the garden plan as it stands now as a reminder).  Instead of doing what I have planned here, would I be better off to turn all the rows so that I have the three three-sister plots at the top and then two long beds at least the width of the lawn mower apart that run north and south instead of a bunch of short east-west beds like I have planned here?

Here, let me show you a sketch.


What do y’all think?

9 thoughts on “The Question Becomes “Will The Plants Kill Me Before I Kill the Plants?”

  1. It depends on whether this new plan will cut down on what you’re actually going to plant. Because if so, stick with your older plan, keep the strips between the beds narrow (but walkable), and mulch them with leaves, newspaper, or even some mulch from the store. If this will give you the same growing area, though, it sure looks like a lot less work.

  2. I think that when orienting your beds you should consider that your plants themselves will cast shadows. This means that east-west oriented beds will get more consistent sunshine along their length than beds oriented north-south, simply because the plants at the south end of a north-south bed will shade those further north. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, you want dappled sunlight; taller plants on the south end can provide that. It’s just something to take into account when planning.

  3. Hollyhocks, where I come from (Illinois), were the most pest-ridden plants in the garden. They were also near as tall as sunflowers. My dad planted them near the back fence (N/S), so they wouldn’t shade the peppers and tomatoes (yes, bigger than tomato plants). Keeping the size of the plants in mind sounds like a good idea, as Dianne said.

  4. A couple questions about the raspberry… is it red or black (or some other variety I know naught of?) cause I do know that red raspberries IMO are tastier, but will get choked out by Black raspberries (that’s why I never knew the farm I grew up on ever had red, cause they were choked by the time I was old enough to remember) any whoo… said farm is still own by my dad and the black raspberry briars are *everywhere*

    I am thinking, in the spirit of spreading the goodness that is raspberries [tangent: my favorite food ever cause its sweet, tasty, delicate, loaded with vitamins and fiber, and is best with chocolate!] I would be willing to dig up some and give them to you… my dad doesn’t pick them ever so he’d never miss them and in a couple years you’d never know. But again they are black raspberries. Also… I haven’t done my research on transplanting… would it even take? survive transit?

  5. Are they black raspberries or blackberries? Because I’ve heard of blackberries choking out a raspberry, but I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of one raspberry chocking out another. Hmm. But what do I know? I’m certainly not going to turn down some raspberries. Yum!

    Folks, do you know? Can they survive transit and, if so, what’s the best way?

  6. They are definitely black raspberries. I grew up picking them. My sisters and I, three of us, would each take a gallon bucket out and each come back with it full… and there would be places where the vines stung hung heavily with berries ^_^

    My ma used to make Black Raspberry Preserves out of the berries… mm good stuff… I digress. Anyway it was my mom who told me that the black raspberries choked out the patch of red raspberries she had planted (she thought it’d be great to go to one spot and get both varieties… too bad it didn’t pan out)

    anyway, I will work on getting the info for transplanting and transit and stuff (and checking back here for it too) I work slow, but please understand I am quite committed to paying forward raspberry goodness :-D

  7. Privet is evil and one of the few things that I will use Roundup on. I still find seedlings growing in my flower beds that have been deposited by birds.

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