Walking out into the backyard and seeing this mess, is enough to make me turn around and run back inside the house.
There is so much to do! It’s overwhelming and difficult to even know where to begin. Especially when I take into consideration it’s not just the veggie garden that looks this way, but the whole yard. It’s a common problem among my gardening friends right now. How do I get started on tackling the winter mess?
First, I make a plan for myself. How much time do I have to spend? What can I accomplish in that amount of time? Today, I have a three hours to spend on this project. I set my goals, get my gloves, wheel borrow, and get to work.
Remove all the ‘big stuff’ first. The leftover plants, stalks, branches, and sticks from last summer’s crops. Resist the urge to weed and pull small things at this point. Concentrate on the big stuff, so that clearing out the small stuff will be easier later on.
I quickly clear away two large wheel borrows full of debris in about twenty minutes time. Most of the debris is dumped into my compost bin, although some of the bigger stalks are broken in half and placed in my yard waste can. After that, the garden looks a ton better already.
Next, I collect all of the stakes, trellis’, tomato cages, and plant markers scattered around the garden. I always try to save and reuse whatever I can. “Waste not, want not”, Grandma always used to say. For a fresh start each year, I even like to move all of my pots and garden furniture. Here is the garden after it has been fully cleared.
Now that everything is out of the way, I can get down and dirty. I begin by hand pulling as many of the weeds as possible, being careful to get the whole root ball. Then, its time to get out my favorite tool, the Hula-Ho. I love it so much, I have a large and a mini. This girl loves to ‘Ho’!
Here are a close up of the beds before and after they have been given a good weed, hoe, and rake job.
These little scallions over wintered and we are still eating off them. They get to stay for now.
This simple cold frame was built from 4 x 4 ‘s left over from a fencing project last Spring. Thus far, I have only used it to harden off my starts. This year, I want to actually start some seeds inside of it. A couple bags of compost are added and worked into the soil. When it’s ready to be planted, I will add the glass top.
Too make my pathways POP, I love laying down sawdust, cedar wood shavings, or wood chips. I tend to use whichever one I can find for free, or dirt cheap. Today, I was able to add 4 large bags of free sawdust.
See what a difference it makes? Not only is it super attractive, but it also helps soak up the moisture that tends to accumulate in the pathways during heavy rain storms. This is Seattle, people.
Sadly, the bus will be pulling up very shortly, so this project is coming to a screeching halt. As much as it pains me to leave a job half way finished, such is life. Tomorrow, if the rain holds off, I will be back out there bright and early to finish up. Until then!