Starting Over…

May 7, 2013

Oh. My. GOODness.

Before I share my horrible garden snafu, let me give you some background…

Think back five years ago. It was our first year gardening. We bought some blueberry bushes and decided to do square foot gardening. We built some raised beds and put weed cloth down. The weeds just laughed. We tried for two years to somehow keep the weeds away from our garden and blueberries but nothing seemed to work.

My husband was doing a photoshoot at an arboretum and talked to the grounds person about it. They said the only thing to do is to put down tarps. So, over the course of about a year, we put tarps down all around our blueberry bushes (obviously leaving room around the bushes for rain). It worked! Next step – we ripped up our raised beds, laid down tarp and put the raised beds on the tarp. Again, it worked! No weeds and everything was growing great.

Then, about a year ago, I saw the Back to Eden Film. PLEASE go watch it. It will blow. your. mind. For the walkways of the garden and blueberry bushes, we just put mulch over the plastic. We were not planning on planting anything there – we just wanted it to look nice and for the plastic to not rip up and blow away (what it was doing while uncovered).

We had a large section of the garden covered with plastic that was not being used for anything. We decided to pull up the plastic, put down newspaper, cow manure, mulch and TA DA! our first Back to Eden garden 🙂

February 24 13 - 0115

I started planting in it this spring and even though I was planting in aged cow and chicken manure, my plants seemed to be sprouting and then stalling. However, the weather has been unusually cloudy and cold so I thought maybe once the sun comes out, everything will take off.

April 26 13 - 0137(these should be more green than they are)

Today is the start of a warmer/dryer spell so I decided to plant some tomato and pepper transplants from my greenhouses. I raked back the mulch and attempted to dig a hole in which to put the transplants.

But I couldn’t. I tried with my hands. Nope. I scraped & scraped with my gloves and realized I was hitting weed cloth. We forgot we had weed cloth under the tarp when we ripped it up!!! Two layers of weed cloth! No wonder everything was stalling. There is nowhere for the roots to go!

I am so sad. ALL of those carrots, lettuce, peas, tomato plants, spaghetti squash…all of it…it’s never going to grow if we leave the garden like this. We have no choice but to rip up all of the weed cloth and replant. I’ll post pics later. Mourn with me for a bit over the loss 😦

I know I should be thankful that I put in transplants today – that the whole garden was not just direct seeded – or I would have found out much later. I may have even kept planting, thinking I had just planted too early or something. I’m sure I’ll feel more thankful later this summer if I am actually getting harvests from this section of the garden.

One of the reasons for putting mulch on the garden and letting it sit for 4-6 months is so that as it rains, the soil will be conditioned. Another big problem we will be facing this summer planting in this section is that (I can only assume) the soil under the weed cloth did not benefit from the mulch over these past six months. I hope it will get better as the year goes on (without the weed cloth). Ugh! It’s just so frustrating! Grrrrrr.

Anyone want to share your gardening mistakes to help me feel better? 😉


2 thoughts on “Starting Over…

  1. Janet M

    Sorry for your problem! I prepped my BTE garden in December and just finished planting today! Hope you get yours fixed quickly; I don’t envy you!

  2. Stephanie Stevens

    Aw, how disappointing. It’s always rough when you put in so much effort only to have a garden fail for whatever reason. My gardening has been in “permanent snafu” mode for the past few years. Now we are renting on a lot that won’t allow for a garden, so I have started a few herbs and flowers in pots. My hope is that I will manage to grow these little plants well and expand over time. I’m looking into organic tower gardens which might be good for a small space.


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