Doing Battle . . . And Winning!

My adventures-in-gardening experiences are now on record here, and here. This year, I was amazed at my eagerness to get out and work the garden bed! No, the weeds weren’t gone, not by a long shot, but I have identified a straightforward plan to address this nemesis!

I haven’t yet won, but I’ve taken the right path. The same bed shown in my last post — choked by a mass of grass and weeds  — now looks like this. ——->

We have tomatoes in back, squash and zucchini on the left, peppers (banana and green) just in front of the tomatoes, and three rows of green beans.

The plants look beautiful, but transforming this plot of weeds into a clean, productive bed is what excites me the most … mainly because I didn’t have to continue toiling for days on end to eradicate all the weeds.

A couple years ago, I heard about “lasagna gardening.” This non-traditional method seemed strange. (The Skeptic:  if it worked, wouldn’t everyone use this method?) I was hesitant to adopt an untested technique.

This year, however, I had no such reluctance. Half my garden was a pile of weeds. I could continue weeding, weeding, weeding until my hands wore out and my back ached … or determine whether lasagna gardening could work for me. What did I have to lose?

My materials? Newspaper and peat. (You’ll notice scraps of newspaper in the photo above.) I chose a day when rain threatened. I applied several layers of newspaper, followed by a layer of peat, applying this treatment across the entire weed patch. Ground covered, I watered and soon after, the rains came.

While actually setting the newspapers onto the soil, I remember feeling sheepish about my actions, hoping the neighbors (expert gardeners) didn’t happen to drive by and catch me at my labor. (That crazy woman! She’s finally lost it, putting newspapers in her garden! Ha-ha-ha!)

Due to its simplicity, lasagna gardening feels counter-intuitive. Truthfully, I felt certain I was cheating and I was guilt-ridden by what (to my conscience anyway) seemed to be a subversive act. Is there any legitimate gardener who would utilize this shortcut?

In the weeks since, my doubts have eased:  the veggie seedlings are planted and flourishing — no concern weeds and grass will crowd them.

One reader suggested I’ve been battling Bermuda grass — a plant that’s especially resilient (or annoying, in my case).  While the initial application of peat and newspaper has tamed my grass nightmare, I know this battle will continue. Blades of grass still lurk, predictably, around the edges of the bed and often sprout through the decomposing newspaper. But I’m so grateful this method of layering helps me manage further outbreaks of weeds. The weeds that do break onto the surface are weaklings, hampered by insufficient roots!

How cool is that?!

I still have lots to learn about gardening. Each milestone along the way reminds me of the Creator whose loving kindness never ceases and whose mercies — like the dew — are “new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:23)

Renée