A Tough Row to Hoe

Today it rained and rained and rained, and I did all of one hour of work on the house, picking rocks out of the garden out back, before retiring with a headache. I've been all out of sorts about the quantity of rocks in the yard, but today I decided we can use the rocks as the drainage layer for the greenhouse foundation, which makes me feel better and slightly less despairing about ever getting rid of them all. Also, there was a note from a neighbor asking to have some of our bricks. Yay! So happy to have the bricks go to a good home. I just sent her e-mail saying to take all she wants. I keep digging more of them up in the back (two today).

This is what I did last night: I started removing the grass from the planting strip in the front to make my California wildflowers and native plants garden. Here we have the strip before I began work:

Starting point

Then after two hours of rock picking and weeding, this is how much progress I had made:

Hours of labour

I'm guessing this is going to take a while.

Most of the suffering is because I'm picking the gravel out (note the large row of picked-out gravel to the side; Noel removed three or four times that much from the same area earlier), and it will get easier as I move further along to where there has not been a ton of gravel dumped. Also, I am going to purchase a pick and break up the grass with it, because my little push hoe is not up to the task of dealing with huge chunks of bermuda grass. I think sharpening the push hoe might be in order, as well; right now it has a bluntish edge on it that isn't helping.

And so ends my content week. This weekend I have to go back to school, and then we're back to every few weekends of house work. On a brighter note, we are in talks with a carpenter about the front stairs, so we might have work starting on those very soon.

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posted by ayse on 03/24/06

2 Comments

Two things may help. A flat bladed shovel will let you get under the grass a little, and then you can pull it up like sod. Then, if you want to screen out the gravel you can make a screen for it out of 1/4" hardware cloth and a simple wood box (or buy one). It's a very handy thing to have.

How will you deal with the bermuda if you plan to grow anything else there? Were the poppies going to go in there? The bermuda will take over everything out there.

This morning we went and got an adze, which has worked really well for clearing the grass. I have a hard time applying enough force to the flat spade, and this is really old bermuda grass, so the roots are really deep and it doesn't just lift up.

The hardware cloth screen is a good idea, and something I am likely to make eventually. Right now the rocks are twisted up in the bermuda roots and have to be picked out more carefully than a screen would permit.

As for what I'm going to do about the shoots coming up in the bed, it's going to be years of pulling them out until it may eventually go away. Tedious, but the only way to get rid of the stuff.

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