Each garden is unique in its challenges and abilities. That is part of the fun, and frustration, of gardening.
Add in to this the fact that each gardener is different – desiring different things from their garden, using it differently, and having different abilities and time with which to dedicate their skills. This is where we often find ourselves growing or letting go.
With our new yard, I was looking forward to a younger yard, one where perhaps the need to water and increase soil nutrients would be the biggest worries.
I was wrong.
While the previous owner took great care of the inside of the house, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that the outdoors were not where a lot of time was spent. If there was time spent there, it was not on landscaping or improving soil quality.
The first time I mowed was about 3 weeks after it should have been done. It actually needed mowed the week I had surgery, the week after we had just taken a family vacation … it was not happening. I had assumed I would be up for the task after a week or so of recovery.
In order to mow the new yard, I had to load our non-selfpropelled lawn mower into the back of my car and drive it over there. Then I had to unload it and push it around the yard.
“Take it easy and let others do things for you,” said the doc. In other words, no lifting or pushing. I assumed with it being the beginning of the season, I could get away with a few weeks off.
By the time I was able to get to the lawn, here is what the backyard looked like:
Not exactly a monoculture of grass. I was thankful it had not reached what I dub the “hay-mowing stage”, where all the grass is a lush 3 feet tall and you may as well buy a goat.
The weeds were/are still abundant and growing at a wonderful rate. The soil you can see will easily tell you that topsoil is sorely missing. Certain parts of the yard are getting too much water, while other sections are not getting enough sun. Other parts are doing great in regards to sun and water, but also have some serious weeds (beyond the standard crabgrass, dandelions, etc.)
So much for being an easy, challenge-free yard to begin our gardening adventure at the new house.
How are we going to tackle these challenge and turn them into something which will be productive and an asset? While I do not have all the answers right at this moment, I do know one thing – small steps add up to big changes.
With that in mind I have decided to do those small steps, focusing on places where I can initially make the biggest impact or where the issue is something which can be handled quickly. These small, high impact steps will help keep me moving forward.
#1 Choose a place to start, something which will make the biggest impact
First up – regular mowing, blowing the grass clippings back on the yard, as well as beginning a late spring garden.
By starting here I can remove one of the largest visual challenges. It may not be the toughest thing to fix, but it will help me start feeling like the end is not impossible.
Also, by mowing, I am keeping this aspect from becoming a larger issue as the weeks pass.
Looking at planting calendars from my state’s colleges, I noticed it was not too late to start some of the vegetables we like. What I did not have time for was to build a raised bed.
While out shopping one day, I noticed stacks of potting soil next to the cash registers. I picked up a bag (and later another one), took it home and planted seeds. (more details to come). This is probably the smallest garden I have had in over a decade. Not really an issues, as I am not looking to provide all of our vegetables for the year. My goal was to have a few fresh things now without causing too much work.
In a few months I will look into creating a late summer/fall garden.
to be continued …