Sunday, July 1, 2018

Another Front ...

... has been opened in the War on Lawn.

The Bench Garden.

(You'll likely need to bigafy the images, done as always by clicking on them, to see the bench.)

The Opening Salvo
The first step is the laying of the cardboard. Patty and I, mostly Patty, were able to bring home cardboard from our respective workplaces. The technique we use to prepare the garden space is referred to as "Lasagna Gardening" due to the use of layers. The cardboard serves to cut off sunlight from the plants beneath, mostly weeds, killing them while at the same time ensuring the nutrients return to the soil below. The cardboard eventually decays away.

You can also see that we've started the border, using landscape timbers that we found around the yard.

Securing the Territory
The next step is to cover the cardboard with dirt, in this case compost we purchased from a local landscape company. This further blocks sunlight while at the same time holding the cardboard in place. Otherwise, with the first strong wind you've cardboard all about the yard. You can also see we've started to place logs and stumps in the garden. These provide shelter for insects such as native bees and for critters such as frogs, toads, and chipmunks. The stumps also make fine platform feeders for birds and butterflies.

Assuming Control
The next step is to mulch. We use Salt Hay as our mulch material. It is relatively cheap, easy to obtain, covers well, looks nice, biodegrades, and doesn't survive in our habit. The last point is significant in that any seeds of the hay, or of any plants mixed in, will not grow in our yard. Thus it adds no weeds and helps to prevent weeds sprouting in the compost layer.

The final steps were to remove the internal fences, which had been protecting two small trees from the ravages of deer, and redeploy the posts as a perimeter fence. We used fishing line on the redeployed posts to deter deer from entering. The thought is that deer can't see the fishing line, walk into it, and feeling something touch them bolt away in surprise. If you bigafy you'll also see some Wireless Deer Fence posts strategically placed outside the garden.

But to paraphrase the folks on ESPN, when it comes to deer you can't stop them, you can only hope to contain them. We've had good results with the Wireless Deer Fence posts, but they're not perfect. So for this garden we're trying a two prong solution to the deer problem. If only the war on deer was as easy to win as the one on lawn.


Now that the garden area has been created we'll be slowly adding plants throughout the summer. And come next spring we expect a lush native plant garden. So be sure to check back in a year or so.

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