Welcome to the journey,the tale and the saga of our Suburban Homestead.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Frustration in the garden

  Today I am ready to throw in the towel and say "Forget it,I am done battling with this" I am also thinking this may be a year without a garden growing.
  Two things have happened here this week concerning the big back garden that have fueled my discouragement, a Rooster who flew the coop and that beep beep beeping Pigweed.
  I had finally gotten the beds planted,a bit late but the things I was planting would have been fine coming up later than normal,a few days later the Rooster decided he had had enough of being cooped up,literally. He spent his day of freedom digging up the garden beds and munching down the sprouting seeds.Thanks a bunch,really thanks,I am saying that sarcastically of course.
 That same day I noticed growing all along the edge of the garden beds that evil weed,pigweed.The weed we have been battling with for about 4 years now.
  The pigweed was the reason we attempted to Hay Bale Garden,we had hoped by not turning the soil and placing the bales on top of where the weed was growing we could choke it out.The year of the Hay Bale Garden was a year with a very slim garden.
 We have spent the past 3 years not really using the big back garden.We were hoping if we focused all of our energy on rebuilding the soil and trying to pull the pigweed as fast as we could we would win the battle.We have layered and piled on heaps of compost and mulch.We put the coop sweepings right on to the garden area as well.So here we are 3 years into the battle and have this gorgeous black soil, full of fat worms and a deep earthy scent.Perfect soil but invaded by pigweed.   
 This afternoon I decided to take a good look online for information on how to get rid of pigweed,god that was depressing,really, really depressing.The only high point,we are not alone in our battle.Even farmers are being over run by this evil weed.
    I found that pigweed is now resistant to Round Up along with several other weeds.Now we don't want to use Round Up in our yard so the spray isn't even part of this conversation but how depressing that people are using so much of this crap to kill everything in site that Mother Nature is fighting back in her own way.Scientific America calls this group of weeds "Super Weeds"
    Every other article I read said the same thing,weed killers won't work,not even the organic ones.The only thing we can do about pigweed is to keep hacking at when it is very young and we are not to let it go to seed.Once pigweed goes to seed it is estimated that the plant releases 7 years worth of seeds.One page said 100 years worth,maybe not but if you are in this battle it probably feels like 100 years.
   I did find lots of postings on horse related forums,it's a big problem in horse pastures.Which we knew sort of. The year before we started to have this problem my Dad gave us a load of horse manure from his horses.He said it was "cooked" enough and to go ahead and use it.Well it must of been half baked cause here we are.So my advice to you "Don't take any half baked horse manure,no matter how cheap it is." Thanks Dad,love you too.
  What to do? I figure we have a few options but they each have a few holes in them so the ship may end up sinking no matter what.
  We could go buy some plants to jump start the garden and  have Rooster pot pie for dinner.The hole in that is we would have to go out every single day to battle the pigweed.This is no easy thing,we have jobs and lives.And we hope to do some away from home things this summer.It's what we did last summer and the weed is still here.
   We could turn the garden into a big Lab test.Section it off into squares and try different things in each area.One website suggested pouring boiling water over the young plants.Another said it may be worth while to just try an organic weed killer,we could get lucky. Oh and then we could borrow a Goose from someone,one forum said Geese love to eat pigweed*.Any of these may be better than when we tried pouring vinegar over the plants on a hot day.It was suppose to "pickle" the plants and kill them.We just ended up having a yard that smelled like a giant Pickle.
  We could get a big bomb of Agent Orange and blast the area.No not really, can you see this is my frustration barking? We just watched a 1950's movie where they killed a giant spider with Agent Orange as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do.Creepy.
  No matter what we can't do nothing,that would just make a bigger problem. If someone said,"Plant grass there,it will choke out the pig weed" I would,even though we are trying to get rid of the small amount of grass we have left. We have other areas we can garden in but letting it go fallow is not going to work.

  Suggestions? Anyone? Someone? Right along one side of the garden is the chicken run and coop so nothing to crazy, please. I am begging here folks! Even just a kind word of encouragement would go pretty far today.

  
   Rois


  * The chickens won't touch the stuff,if they did I would not be here writing this.And it never ends up in the compost,we actually put it in our garbage can for the dump to deal with.Oh,that's kind of evil too,spreading this weed through our garbage.

3 comments:

  1. >Suggestions? Anyone? Someone?
    Maybe grow some stuff that will shade out the pigweed. Go with starts or perennials that can outcompete.
    Before you plant you could put your chickens to work on the area with a chicken tractor or temporary pen.

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  2. Jake, we've tried both of those with no luck. I did talk to a friend today who thinks the horticultural grade of vinegar will work,she knows her stuff so we will be giving it a try.

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  3. My suggestion is to pull them all out by hand... no other way will work as well.

    Keep your head up.. this is a challenging garden year for all of us in puddletown.. but my garden is overflowing with spinach, arugula, carrots, beets, sugar and snap peas, and tons of herbs and flowers and lettuces... keep at it!!

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