Trim, Hack, Scoop and Whip

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Well, it is time once again to get the crazy weeds under control. This time it looks even more chaotic. We may have let some things get out of hand again, and the beds themselves have needed some love, though we have been keeping more on top of that since our plants depend on it. That being said, it was becoming a little more difficult to wander the yard for struggles through the weeds. I am truly looking forward to when the back is grassy and easier to maintain.

So where to start? Poop. That is where we start. With 2 dogs, we do our best to keep up with the pooper scoopering but before weed whacking, it is always important to do as best a search as possible for fear of flinging any hidden gems. So, while Kurt prepared the whipper snipper, I did a check and picked up some piles that were hidden away, clearing the area for Kurt to bring the crabby grass back down to a normal lawn length.

Once Kurt got started on the bottom area, I focussed on the fence and the paths that go up each side…mostly the main garden side since it was the most overgrown. I started by just pulling as best I could, but when it gets to this size, you sometimes need to call in reinforcements. Now, we don’t use pesticides or herbicides for many reasons; our key ones being we have 2 lovely dogs and we eat most of what is grown in the backyard…so yeah, we like it chemical free. Instead, we use the twisty claw of death. Hahaha, seriously though, I can’t remember what this wonderful weed machine is called, but it does a fantastic job of pulling the weeds with the roots right out of the ground. It has a place for you to apply pressure with your foot to get the claws into hard ground or sunk nice and deep to catch big thick roots. The claws are 2-fold, with larger outer claws and then some smaller inner claws that focus on the root itself. Warning to this wonderful tool is that it does leave the ground loosened and it can take quite a large chunk out when getting the root, so not ideal to use on a nicely manicured lawn.

Kurt brought the back grass and weeds down to almost ground level in the hopes that we had enough to leave a carpeted look, but hopefully short enough that it won’t grow back as fast or as thick. Now that the hot weather has arrived, we don’t anticipate the weeds getting as big for lack of water. It takes quite a while to get the back weed whacked, so he is also looking forward to when we have a nice lawn down there to mow. Mowing will be so much faster!

I managed to get the path along the far fence nicely weeded while Kurt was weed whacking. Lots of grasshoppers, spiders and beetles were very unhappy, but I am sure they will find new areas to hang out and make their homes.

Kurt also weed whacked the main path. It is all shorter weeds that generally grow along there. This fall we are going to dig up a lot of the path and really get a lot of the roots out of there. Then we are going to lay some landscaping fabric and cover it with about 4″ of crushed gravel that can settle for the winter. In the spring, we hope to be able to cement the path, but we will have to see if we manage to get the stackstone walls finished as well in the fall.

The other issue we battle in the back yard are a few varieties of invasive plant species, some of which we figure we will never actually rid ourselves of, we will just have to continue managing them. I’ll save that for another post because it will take a bit to explain. We made sure to do a little management on those areas as well (Siberian Elm, Virginia Creeper, Morning Glory, Thistles, etc). Some of our invasive species we will learn to live with and enjoy….others will be a battle royal for as long as it takes to be rid of them.

Last, but certainly not least, the neighbours trees were once again overtaking some of our areas and plants. I love that they have them as it affords a lot of privacy, even with our taller fence, but when I am continually walking into a branch, or if the apricot tree is taking over our cedar again, it’s time to give a trim. I haven’t yet this year, so the trim was quite extensive and took me quite a bit of time. Not a problem though, everything is now back in order. The crabapple is not hanging over as much. The Apricot tree won’t be bonking me on the head, though there is still one larger branch way up high that is invading our cedar, so I may need to get the ladder out to trim. A new bush or tree that was growing bent over the fence had to finally be topped since I was sick of it growing along the roof of our shed. And the new apricot tree by the side of our house needed a solid trim before it started touching our house.

Kurt did end up doing some more weeding in the plants and spent some quality time with our tomatoes, opening the plants up so that more sunlight could hit all the tomatoes that were growing but not getting ripe. It made a huge difference, in 2 days since he did that we finally have some tomatoes that are ripe enough to eat.

The weeding around the cucumbers allowed us to see that we do actually have a few larger cucumbers growing.

And the onions, carrots and beets have much more breathing and growing room once again.

Overall, everything is looking taken care of again and a little less wild. Now to sit and enjoy the view.

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