Reclaiming the Vegetable Garden

To say that I am ashamed of certain spots in my garden is an understatement. Several gardens have become filled with weeds run amok and whether or not the weather is cooperative I have to get some work done. Today I spent some time outdoors in the 95 degree heat tackling a couple of the raised bed problem areas in the vegetable garden. The vegetable garden was priority number one since I still need to get a few more summer crops growing (squash, zucchini, and beans) and I need the space back from the weeds! If you want to know why the garden became so unruly just add family illnesses (the crud from you know where), an extremely hot June (+10 degrees at a minimum), and several other things that took time away from the garden all together. In short I wasn't spending enough time in the garden. Now that things are getting better (and everyone is healthy again) I'm on a mission to reclaim the gardens.

Raised beds are generally very easy to take care of and even when they become overgrown with weeds can be reclaimed in a fairly short time. What is really nice is that each bed gets broken up into it's own sub-task and gives you a clear sense of getting something done even when you aren't completely finished with the whole job. I managed to tackle three raised beds: two 4'x8' ones and one 3'x4' bed. One 4'x8' bed was completely overgrown with weedy persicaria. I can't stand that weed! It's shocking to me that they sell it in stores as an ornamental - one which I will never buy. Sure the cultivated variety is probably more tame but it's the principle of the thing! At least it is easy to pull up. The picture above is the bed after the removal of that weed. It has peppers on the left, peppers on the right, and left over rainbow chard from the spring plantings (The stems are pretty enough to look at so I thought I would just leave it for now!)

The other 4'x8' bed was covered in weedy grasses. Bermuda and crabgrass were competing with each other to the extent that the one plant I had left in the bed ('Moon and Stars' Watermelon) had crossed over a pathway and into another bed in an effort to escape the invaders! Above is the before picture and below is the after - yes I promise there is a raised bed in the first picture! Showing you a picture like the above shot is almost like posting a picture of myself in my underwear - very embarrassing. (Please note that the aforementioned statement will never happen!)

The small 3'x4' bed was easy to clear out since only a few weeds were there along with some squash plants decimated by squash bugs. It's time for the next crop of squash which hopefully will resist the squash bugs but it is very likely they will eventually succumb. The squash bugs have been my number one pest over the last couple years and while I try to prevent them by squishing the eggs there are always plenty that escape my sight.

What's your most embarrassing garden area?

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