The Big Green-Up

“Nature does not hurry. Yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu

Remember the blank slate garden a few weeks back? In case you missed that post, here’s a visual refresher.

Blank Slate – February 22, 2017
Late Winter, Post-Freeze

Before spring planting, the first order of business is to remove any invasive grasses that moved in over the six months of neglect. Grasses really do enjoy the compacted areas where I normally walk between beds and if left to take over, they will. A good layering of stolen leaves for a couple of weeks usually soften things up a bit in anticipation of the ‘big excavation.’

This used to be clay, now
rich, black humus!

It helps to have rich, fluffy soil to aid in this process, and as with anything ‘nature,’ it takes time and organics. Be patient. (And hoard leaves.)

Okay, maybe also some dirty feet.
(Flip-flops, for fire ant awareness.)

After four years of layering like nature, the soil in my garden space is already rich and black. It is so fluffy that I can dig with my fingers alone — no trowel is ever necessary. Yet, for pulling grasses, I find a pitch fork is the best tool for sparing the muscles in my lower back.

Step, rock, squat, stand — toss. Repeat. Great leg work.

Pitch Fork Work
Can Be Done With Bare Feet

Lizard Nutsedge Nodule

This good old-fashioned hand work for an hour or so twice per year is all that’s needed to keep a garden free of grasses and ‘weeds.’ It’s also quieter than anything gas-powered, and is easy on the giant earthworms (of which I have many).

Toss the whole plant aside where the grass is growing and let it bake in the sun. Throw the worms back into the garden space.

Nutsedge, Entire Plant Comes Up

Never roto-til soil with invasive grasses!! I’m sorry, was I screaming? (Yes, I was.)

Using machinery not only will break up all those invasive little root ‘starters’ to take over more readily, but it will unwittingly destroy the fungal mat that has developed underground whose purpose is to deliver nutrients to your plants’ root zones. You also tend to kill all your unpaid earth workers.

Get soil smart, not dollar short. So don’t do that anymore.

When you’re all done, start up the push mower for a few minutes to mulch-mow all that waste right into your preferred turf. Our St. Augustine turf takes advantage of any nitrogen-based organic fertilizer, particularly the pulled, rotting corpses of other grasses. It in turn thanks me by growing thick and unadulterated, choking out future grasses from invading at the border.

And mowing is easy clean up on the borders at the end.

Next, move the leaves aside and plant seeds. Water. Walk away.

Future Turnip and Pea Patches

After a couple of weeks of daily watering (until seedlings are established), leaf mulch around all the plants 3-4″ and stop watering. The ground will get moistened with occasional rain or not at all, and the mulch will hold it in — like a damp sponge.

In case you still doubt my lazy ways, here’s the garden space today, pretty much zero work.

Pea Patch, Turnip Squares, Herb Mess
St. Augustine Turf ‘Border’

Volunteer:  Dill and Pepper
Next To Turnip

Tomato Volunteer
Can’t ever do with too many tomatoes.

The Keyhole
Fed and Watered By Kitchen Scraps

Who dat? Munching among turnips?
(He got relocated, BTW)

Sprouts and Broccoli
(Broccoli goes to flower for the bees!)

Tomatoes and Peppers
Loaded With Flowers and Fruit

Buttercrunch Lettuce Volunteer
Going to Seed

My rewards are that I spent more time birding and enjoying my yard and nature sounds in addition to eating something fresh-pulled from the garden every, single day without fail.

A Touch Of Red In The Green
First Garden ‘Mater of 2017

Straight into my mouth, dirt and all. Tell me: is there any better way to eat a garden tomato?

Currently growing:

  • Tomato
  • Bell and Jalapeno Pepper
  • Onion, Garlic Chive, Leek
  • Fennel, Dill, Basil, Cilantro, Oregano, Thyme
  • French Sorrel, Turnip (greens), Broccoli (greens), Kale
  • Cabbage, Brussels sprouts
  • Radish, Carrot
  • Blueberries
  • Figs

What’s growing in your spring garden?

Do you have favorite lazy shortcuts that work?

8 thoughts on “The Big Green-Up

    1. Dandelions are delicious — we have them in our yard too. But the fruits of any tomato variety are difficult to ignore, especially when no work is required. In my garden, tomatoes pop up unannounced, like a dandelion. Win-win!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. There is NOTHING like a home grown tomato in the summer! OMG! It makes my mouth water just thinking about it! I love the summer and fresh vegs from the garden. Good memories as well as healthy! 😉


      1. I do not understand mater-haters.. lol! but I think it usually has something to do with texture. Some people are just super sensitive to certain ones. Sadly, I won’t eat some things because of texture either… :-/


      2. Yep. I’ve heard the word ‘pithy’ used to describe off-season fruits, which were picked unripe and ethy-gassed in shipment to make them SEEM ripe. It’s the same for some over-ripe apples, I find. Yech!

        Ripened on the plant is BEST.

        Liked by 1 person

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