DO I WANT WEEDS AND GRASS IN MY GARDEN? (PART II)
I retired and moved to Rockport, Texas in 2007 so we could be closer to our son and his family in Houston, as well as to fish and bird watch. I had no idea how to garden in sugar sand that had been a coastal sand dune several centuries earlier. Live Oak Trees and Root Knot Nematodes thrive in the sugar sand. The 54’ x 30’ area that became my garden had been a part of an oil drill catch basin with the raised berm on the north side of the garden. Grass and tall weeds had grown there since it was cleared back in the 1940s or 50s. No matter how much ground up tree mulch, clay or compost I put on the garden, it has always produced healthy weeds and various types of unwanted fast growing grasses. For instance, I didn’t find a large watermelon in my first year of gardening until it was rotten.
There were large Live Oak Trees on the West, North, and East side of the garden area until Hurricane Harvey took out about 8 trees. The South side of the garden fence has a large lawn area with the citrus tree orchard. Where there were various trees in the 40’ area between the house and garden, there are now 4 fruit trees, two bay trees some small Live Oaks and Poke weed over 10 feet tall with a thick wall of taller blooming Sun Flowers and a variety of weeds and grasses including sand burrs.
How have I tried to control the weeds and grasses in the garden?
1. Yes, I have used various non-organic and organic herbicides along the fence and the drip system control area. It can drift onto garden plants.
2. I have also planted Coastal Alfalfa along the fence with Persian Clover in between the rows to serve as a living mulch.
3. I have used weed block paper cutting a hole or X to plant tomatoes, peppers and strawberries. Fertilizing the soil needs to be done through the drip system. Fertilizing, using a sprinkling can, will run off the paper into the middles.
4. I like using ground-up Live Oak leaves both in the middles and as a mulch around the plants. This past year the hurricane blew off all the leaves in August but they were not useful because they were mixed with thousands of sticks and small limbs. Other peoples’ bags of leaves sometimes have things other than leaves in them.
5. A weed eater is useful at the ends of rows and along the fence. I have used it in the middles when weeds and grasses get out of control.
6. I use my small tiller most of the time to keep the weeds and grasses cut in the middles.
7. I also use my garden and grub hoes to cut thick or big weeds and grasses. The various hand tools are used for the weeds and grasses in the vegetable row.
8. When nothing else will work, I pull up weeds and grasses by hand.
My weeds and grasses tell me that my soil is very alive and healthy!