Gardening · Homesteading

Reclaiming Overgrown Garden Beds

As we moved into our new place, I felt overwhelmed on many levels. Where do you even start, when it is ALL overgrown? To put it bluntly, the owners had done no maintainance for years outside, no matter what tales they spun during the sale (which, yes, we knew). My theory says it had been 5 years or more since anything had even been trimmed back. Looking at sat views, at one time the entire land had been cleared, most likely as they started building. Since then, the lack of forest stewardship had been bad.

I had brought up a truck load of plants with us, from our old house, ones that I didn’t want to leave behind (though most of it was left behind).

The plants ranged from blueberries I had pulled out of the ground last fall, to golden raspberry plants I grew from my master plants, to herbs I grew from seeds. The plants had been sitting on the stone patio, waiting for me.

Gnarly old bushes. Some I could ID, others not so easily. The one thing I felt bad about was pulling the spring bulbs. It wasn’t easy to save them though.

The patio was overgrown, with evergreens hanging over one side. Various old bushes and extremely thorny rose bushes. Moss everywhere, from a lack of sun.

The wooden railing fence was a nightmare waiting to happen. It was rotten and just resting on the posts. This was one of the first things we removed. I didn’t want the kids, or guests, to think it was safe to lean against. And yes, that was field grass growing there.

Then the removal of 5 to 10 years worth of weeds started. They had layed down yard fabric, and put soil over it. Not mulch. Soil. So I had to pull back roots, heavily matted, first, remove rotting fabric, then more roots under. Yard fabric isn’t an evil, if used right. It wasn’t here.

Progress made. We were going to pull out the shrub and found it had roots under the patio, so much hand work was required. In the far right, the green stuff being ripped out was Salal. It’s native and does a great job of hillside stabilizing. Meaning? It has awful roots to pull out. It had grown up the retention area, and taken root into the bed.

Shrub removed, and plants going in.

Finally coming into looking good.

There is still more to do on the far side. One giant bush remains, as does much moss, and over hanging trees.

However, in the end we got in 6 blueberry bushes, and many of the herbs that were brought along. I have even picked up a few replacements, of things left behind. (For example, I had to leave behind 4 beds of garlic and 1 of shallots, so I planted 4 garlic and 6 shallot bulbs I picked up. Not enough of course, but just to have some will make this summer better!)

There is something about getting this small project done. It makes me feel better and more in control. There is so much the land needs done, but at least I can say I got something done! (And got plants in the ground so they can make roots) And more so, the front of the home looks nicer. And I won’t lie…the patio will be wonderful to sit on now come summer time.