Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Things I Screwed Up Last Year

Okay, I'll admit...I am far from a perfect gardener. I do a lot...but I don't have a lot of real life help...I sometimes screw things up. So now this spring, I'm having to fix my mistakes. Here's some of the things I'm trying to get right.

1.  My strawberry bed:

This is partially my fault and partially the fault of the person who gardened here before me.   I had a bed full of strawberries when I moved in...it was WAY full.  But grass grew up in the bed and choked out half of the strawberries.  Yes, I should have weeded it more.  But there was no way I could have mulched it, because the strawberries were too thick.  Maybe they needed to be divided anyway...that is what I"m telling myself.  And I am wondering if these people put ANYTHING at all down under this bed to keep the grass out.  So, I cultivated the soil and pulled out as many roots as I could.  Short of emptying the whole bed, I don't know what else to do.  I replanted some new strawberries into the bed, and I"m going to buy straw this week and mulch around the plants to keep the grass at bay.  This is the first raised bed I've ever worked with...and I am finding the grass problem frustrating.  How do other people deal with this?

2. Asparagus Patch

You can see the bricked off area over on the right...with grass in it, and some tools laying half on top of it...that is my asparagus patch.  This one is ALL my fault.  Last year I dug trenches, planted my asparagus crowns, covered it with compost, and promptly forgot about it.  I had SO MUCH grass grow up in that bed too.  I am totally fighting grass at every turn in this yard. That is part of the problem with a new till garden.  Until about this time last year, most of this yard was solid, lush green grass.  Evidently it objected to me attempting to remove it.  So, I had to try to get rid of the grass here too. 

This is what I did for now.  I know, it's not pretty.  But I think it will choke out the grass.  Underneath, I laid down a thick layer of wet newspaper, only leaving holes for the asparagus crowns.  Then I put the landscaping fabric down over it and used those big staples to pin it into place.  I didn't have any straw at the time, but now I do, so I will be putting some cheerful bright-colored straw down to cover up the ugly black fabric.  I'm hoping with a little spot weeding around the openings, this will take care of it. 

3.  Blueberry bushes

My poor, poor blueberry bushes.  I planted them last year, and thought I was helping them by adding stuff to the soil because they love acid.  However, chemistry was my weakest science.  I added LIME to the soil.  Somehow, I must have misread something online, I thought lime would help the soil.  DUH DUH DUH...I have basically been torturing them almost to death for the whole last year.  I read just lately that lime is a base.  Oops.  Well, that would explain why they didn't do ANYTHING at all.  So, this year, I mixed up some stuff specifically for blueberry bushes and poured it on.  I also incorporated the blueberries into my sun bed, and mulched them with everything else.  I'll show pictures of that in a future post.  They already seem to be perking up. 

So those were my 3 major screw ups in last year's garden.  Like I said, I am a self taught/internet taught gardener for the most part, so sometimes I learn things the hard way.  I took these pictures a few weeks ago, and since then, spring has really been getting going here in Iowa.  It is easy to be positive and clean up old messes when everything is growing and blooming.  I just hope I can learn from this, and do things better in the future. 

Please, please, please tell me you've screwed things in your garden too.  I want to hear about it...LOL. 


  1. My strawberry raised bed has the same problem with the grass. I'm not sure if we can conquer it. We might have to start again, too. :(

    I was doing great with my blueberries--we used peat, if that makes sense. Until my husband demolished them with the clippers. Sigh. I want to try again. I will be sure to stay away from lime, though. ;)

  2. I screwed up with a couple of containers last year because I got lazy, but since the soil has been dumped and it is a new year I can't even remember. Really, it is like I've forgotten all about last year's mistake.


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