Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cool, Wet Weather - Good For Growing Grass And Weeds

After our unbelievably warm temperatures on and off in the months of February and March, we've fallen back into a slightly cooler than usual month of April.

We've also been getting frequent rains which are much appreciated for our area that has had extremely dry conditions because of lack of snow this winter.

But blast and dang, the cool, wet weather has put the kibosh on getting anything started out in the garden under cold frames because the ground hasn't dried out enough. Plus, it's so cold any little seed plunged into the cold, damp earth would probably just curl its toes up and rot.

However, the grass is growing like crazy. Papa Pea weed whipped the high grass that had grown up around all the raised beds yesterday.

I'd like him to do the same around the pumpkin patch and field garden, too, as soon as he has a chance. Although you can't see it from the above picture shot down one side of the field garden, the grass (in reality, mostly quack grass, a weed that thrives here) steadily encroaching on the plowed soil is about 6" higher than the grass in (what we jokingly refer to as) the lawn. Why is the grass right at the edge of the tilled up area so much more vigorous? Probably because of the compost and other organic additives put into the garden proper. The grass smells this enriched soil and makes a beeline for it. This is what I want hubby to take down with the weed whip and then I'll till the boundaries of the field garden and pumpkin patch as my first attempt of the season to keep the quack grass from creeping into and taking over my planting area.

I'm planning on getting outside today to take out the few weeds that have grown up in the raised beds. (I just came back in after taking the photos for this post and I want to report it is COLD out there! Forty-four degrees on the thermometer and the sun we had earlier has gone AWOL.)

Although I do a good job of keeping on top of the weeds in the raised beds, the biggest (and constant) problem is this quack grass that comes from the paths between the raised beds, sneaks up under the wood framing and pops up (surprise!) within the bed itself.

This stuff has roots that go on forever (parallel to the surface but deep down) and if you leave even a portion of root in the soil, the plant springs back to life seemingly stronger than ever.

What we need to do is replace the paths between all 27 beds, including the rectangular perimeter around them, with something other than grass. We're kicking around several methods/materials, but whatever we settle on, it will be one big, extensive job and most likely won't get totally finished in one season.

Just another little task to add to the To Do list, but one that will be well worth it once it's done. In the meantime, I need to get out there and do what damage I can to the quack grass this weekend because it looks like it will continue to be wet and cool through at least Wednesday of this coming week. Perfect weather for (quack) grass growing!


Tami said...

Brr..44 degrees! Yikes that's cold! Your post today MP, is a mirror image of the day I just had. Except it's 75 out.

Tomorrows post will be all about the garden pathways that I just spent the last 6 hours working on. (My hair is sweated to my scalp and I'm filthy. Probably stinky too. Good thing we can't see (or smell) each other when commenting @;)

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, pulling grass out of raised beds! Ugh!!! We tried all kinds of organic weeding methods to keep ahead of our grass. I'd get one raised bed weeded, only to find that the last weeded bed grew up in grass again. It was a never ending battle. Then, to stifle those powerful, wood busting, grass rhyzomes from even approaching our beds, we tried different path ideas. We tried clover, we tried geotextile, we tried wood chips, etc. Nothing really worked. Finally, we converted everything into field beds and we never looked back. Love, love, love it. With the field tiller on the 3point hitch tractor and a lowtech wheel cultivator, life is so much simpler. And faster too. Even though the field beds do not warm up as quickly as raised beds, I still get more planted sooner. In the end, it all works out. We all find our way somehow once we write our name into the soil!-"M"

Tombstone Livestock said...

I know some people take old carpeting that has been removed from houses, cut to fit path, place upside down so carpet mesh backing is on top, that would snuff out the grass. You can probably find some for free. It would be a start til you can afford to redo with something more permanent.

Sparkless said...

We have a ton of that quack grass too. It's growing in all my gardens and because I have a bunch of perennials in the gardens it's impossible to dig all the quack grass roots out without upsetting the plants.

I figure I should just grow chickweed and quack grass. That way I'd be the most successful gardener ever! LOL

Mama Pea said...

Tami - Ah yes, the old pathway problem! Eager to see your post tomorrow. I may steal an idea or two from you.

"M" - And it's important that the method each of us settles on feels good to us personally. As Papa Pea and I were pruning the fruit trees today, I decided I'd much rather grow and sell vegetables than maintain an orchard!

Tombstone Livestock - Now there you go! Carpeting would surely be thick and dense enough to keep even quack grass from growing through it. I think.

Sparkless - NO KIDDING! Why is it that the stuff we don't want grows with what seems like no effort whatsoever and is so healthy you can't kill it. But if we want to grow something such as food or a beautiful cultivated flower, then you're in for a fight!

Carolyn said...

I love saying "Quack Grass".....probably because I don't have any of it. At least I "think" I don't have any of it.

Beautiful raised beds, BTW....always get jealous when I see them.

Mama Pea said...

CR - Quack gwass, quack gwass, quack gwass! You really need some. Large package on it's way to you. Don't worry if it's dried out when you receive it. Just empty the box onto the ground, stomp on it trying to kill it, it will grow anyway and start to take over your acreage in no time at all. (Hee-hee.)

Judy T said...

Oh, I can share some quack grass with CR! I've got plenty. And it is SUCH a pain!! I do like the carpet idea though, brilliant.

Mama Pea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mama Pea said...

Judy - Good! You send CR some, too. She really needs to know what she's missing, don't cha think? We need to find a use for the stuff. I mean it grows so prolifically and luxuriantly . . . we could be millionaires! (And hire someone to dig it out for us.)

Val said...

Love your raised beds. I have one but can't use a tiller right now because of a bad shoulder. Hope it gets better soon. Your blog inspires me. And thank you so much for your comment about my granddaughter!!!

Sue said...

Well, you answered the question I had in my mind while reading---about whether the grass would come up into the beds. I'm fortunate to have pure sand for soil here, so the obvious choice for me was to just keep the aisles bare sand. It's bad when it's wet---sticks like crazy to your shoes, but on a good note, when it's hot in the summer, it just burns up any weed seeds that "drift" in . A once-a-month hoeing with an iron rake keeps the paths clear.
Not home (yet again!) but see on the weather channel its 22 this morning. And I didn't have the lids on the coldframes. Sigh. See?--told you there would be NO garden this year........not even salads (which I was so hoping to have before we left on the big trip)

judy said...

Do the ducks come with the "quack grass" jk, but I was researching foie gras for Jerry ,more forms of healthy food ,in thus case iron from duck liver but the fat content is so high it would probably give him a another heart attack,I cause he will have more transfusions like they did last week

judy said...

and tell that commenter named judy to go back to school.I guess she never won a spelling bee

Mama Pea said...

Val - Oh, no! First the trouble with your hands and now your shoulder? How frustrating that must be. Take advantage of your "down time" and keep doing that beautiful handwork now that your hands are better!

Sue - Well, if you two nomads would just shake the wanderlust out of your shoes and stay home once in a while, you'd have more luck with your garden! Geesh.

judy - Do you cook with lentils? They are high in iron and would be good for Jerry. You can cook them until they're mush so they'd be easy to eat. Cook them with chopped onions (we like garlic, too), season with salt and pepper . . . I love 'em! Or make Lentil Soup.

Don't worry about your spelling . . . we all slip in a word that isn't spelled quite right now and then!

Erin said...

So crazy, it is colder than normal here also, I've stopped trying to figure it out. LOVE those empty beds all full of possibilities... can't wait to see the green!

Mama Pea said...

Erin - Ha! I'm hoping the "green" you see will be planted crops rather than weeds! ;o)

import said...

Weather is the major factor for greenery either its in form of weeding or natural useful grass.

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