Saturday, January 12, 2019

Getting the Main Garden Going Again

Been busy all this week getting the main garden area reclaimed. The grass was about 18" to 24" tall in most places, a real overgrown mess. First thing I did was turn the sheep loose and corral them in the garden area. After a week they had eaten the top half foot of tender grass, leaving the tougher lower stems. I could have left them grazing, but it would have taken a good month for them to eat it down to lawn depth. So off went the sheep and in came to 'instruments of destruction". 

After one morning of running the weedwacker and raking up the worst of the grass, it occurred to me to take a photo. So I plopped down an old kitty litter bucket to show you how tall the grass was after the sheep and before the weedwacker attack. It took three mornings to get the whole area down to mow-able height, about 4"-6" and the majority of the lose grass harvested. I used that grass to feed to the donkey, sheep, and goats. 

With the grass now mowable, I mowed at the highest setting (#6), collecting the clippings. Those clippings went to mulch the orchard and banana trees. I then mowed at the next lower setting, #5. Again I collected the clippings, using them to mulch taro patches. Each morning I mowed even lower.....setting #4,#3,#2. Lots of clippings for mulching everything, even the multitude of pineapple plants. 

Now I'm down to the last mowing. Monday, if the weather is dry, I'll scalp the area using the mower's lowest setting -- #1. Then I'll pray for a few sunny, windy days. Because what I plan to do next is to run the rototiller lightly over the surface, cutting off the vegetation at the soil surface. The sun and wind should dry it out and kill it. I'm planning on running the tiller over the surface for 4-5 days in a row, not going deeply, but just scuffing the surface. If 5 days isn't enough, then I'll do 7....or whatever it takes. This method won't kill the burmuda grass, but it should be death for just about everything else except the few clumps of guinea grass, which I will hand chop out. 

If all goes as planned, I should be able to start tilling in the compost in one week from now. I have about 12 cubic yards of compost ready to go. That's not enough but it will start a good number garden beds going. Rather than trying to get all the beds going at once, I'll do one at a time. I'm eager to get something planted as soon as possible. 


  1. That's a really good idea to use your mower at different settings for several cuttings of mulch. Nice that you can be doing your garden preparations in January!

  2. How do you keep Bermuda grass out of your garden beds? I remember struggling with that issue in soCal.

    1. Bermuda grass is my #1 one weed headache. The only thing that has killed it is commercial herbicides, which I'm no longer using on food gardens...which is essentially the entire farm other than fencelines. I've tried burning, smothering, organic herbicides all to no avail. Right now I dig the soil between crops, removing every underground stolon that I can find. Over the years I've gotten the grass under control in many of the garden beds, but if I don't keep at it, the grass quickly returns. So essentially, I just keep on removing it whenever it pops up. Blasted stuff. By far the worst invasive on my farm.