Sunday, January 11, 2009

This week's progress

It has been at least 10 years since I last did any active gardening in my three 16' x 4' gardens. The landscape timbers on some of the boxes are disintegrating. One box has been the repository of soiled hay and rabbit droppings which have been left to decompose on top of the soil. All of the boxes have been infested with Chinese elm saplings which I had managed to kill off to some extent last summer. My husband cut down the trees during the winter and spread out the mounds of old rabbit litter.

In November 2008, while visiting the Farmers Market hosted by Urban Harvest I purchased their gardening book for gardening in the metro Houston area. It is really a gardening Bible for the Houston area and is a wealth of information. The chart of what to plant when indicated that the beginning of January was a great time to plant peas, especially snow peas. With that in mind I visited the Enchanted Forest and purchased some snow pea, lettuce and parsley seeds. That afternoon I began double digging the second bed, as it seemed to have the most potential, beings how this was the bed the rabbit droppings had been dumped in over the years.

Double digging is quite a job, especially when with very other shovelful you hit a root from a now cut down Chinese Elm sapling. I was pleased to discover that when I wasn't hitting roots the soil was still friable and I could see wild life - cutworms, red worms, black cockroaches, small garden snakes to name a few.

I'm about half way through double digging that first box and I hope to finish it up early this week so I can put the seeds in. I was concerned that the roots I wasn't able to get out of the garden might act like hydras and come back with a vengeance, sprouting 3 or more new plants each. I called the Co-operative extension to ask what they thought I should do but they only suggested using "Round-up" on them. When I went to the Farmers Market, yesterday, I asked one of the gardeners for Urban Harvest what they would suggest and they recommended commercial strength vinegar. It would kill the root but not harm the soil. I like these urban harvest people, they speak my language.

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