This morning before I left for work at Johnny’s Selected Seeds I spent about an hour and a half pulling weeds and grass-rhizomes out of one of the beds. The bean-seeds that I had planted there were older seed and very few spouted, so rather than trying to pick all the weeds out around the three or so bean-plants, I decided to hoe the whole bed and resow with brand new seed.
My first priority upon moving to this property was to establish a new garden. I knew right away the spot where I wanted to put it; it’s a stretch of flat ground beside the fence that runs along the road.
During initial conversations with the Murphys there was some speculation about how the patch of ground had been created. Some thought that the town fire department had come and dug the pond deeper to make a better water source in case of emergency. But then later on when a gentleman who used to work alongside Jim stopped in, I was informed that Jim had engineered the garden patch to possess the qualities that most plants prefer to grow in.
In both stories Jim hauled rock and dirt to the location to build up this 30-foot by 100-foot garden. Either way the result is a very fine garden spot with very good growing soil. Unfortunately Jim never got the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of his labor, and the garden had grown over with grass and weeds during the last two years.
First year gardens are notorious for their weeds. Knowing this, I cover-cropped two-thirds of the garden with buckwheat in hopes of crowding out weeds (buckwheat is excellent bee-forage). I also lay cardboard and landscaping fabric on the rows where my tomatoes, peppers, and squash-family crops are growing, and then put mulched hay over my potato-neighborhood.
I had hopes of keeping up with the exposed portion of the garden, where the carrots and greens are sown, but while I was busy getting the bees settled into the apiary the garden was left a little neglected. Then to make matters worse, we’ve had some rain here in Maine the last few days and despite my best efforts to smother weeds in my first-year garden, some areas have gotten a little out of hand.
There are 2 beds like this–planted with older bean seed. I did not place my typical large seed order this year; with finances so tight, I opted to make do with my stores of seeds. Some of those seeds however are more than 2 years old (some seeds in my collection are even older), so while it was a little disappointing, I wasn’t overly surprised when I saw poor germination of that seed.
It’s almost worth the delay in green beans though, to be able to take time to haul more of these grass rhizomes out of the garden.