Taking Back My Potager!

chickadeemelrose(5)July 9, 2010

I'm sure it's just the time of year (near to harvest), the heat wave we have been having and the good luck with rain (until this week!)

But my potager is going crazy. I can't even see my Bee Balm anymore, the squashes are everywhere, as are the pumpkins, cukes and beans. My paths are starting to get covered up (and they're not that big as it is).

I have been treating the plants as if they couldn't be cut back a little bit to make things neater and more manageable, but I am going to do some pruning and maybe be a bit ruthless with a couple of plants. I mean, how much squash can one family eat anyway?

Thanks for listening! Donna

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carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)

I know what you mean! It's a jungle out there! Squash vines crossing paths, parsley leaning down into it, even nasturtiums going wild. Of course, by the end of September when it starts getting bare, we'll want all this foliage back. Think machetes, flamethrowers.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 2:42PM
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Well good thing I went through my potager today, I had two cucumber vines I didn't even know about!! They apparently had emerged and were hidden by the gigantic squash vines.
Anyway, I pulled all the vines around and the squash vines are now growing up the stepladder I picked up on trash day (I painted it pale yellow to bring out the vine flowers). The cucumbers I was able to place on a nearby obelisk, separately.

I did lose some vine pieces in the process, but that part of the garden looks so much better, and no doubt I will see veggies I wouldn't have known were there.

Now I just have to lasso the pumpkin vines that are growing across the back yard (before the dogs chew them up and regurgitate them in the living room while we watch Masterpiece Mystery) and wind them along the picket fence, then take out the remaining kale plants which are not enjoyed by my family. (They're on the list of what not to plant next year.)

And today, thankfully, a downpour, much needed in the Boston area, after many days of 90-100 degree humid weather (I'm sure many of you have had this too.) It has meant a lot of seemingless endless watering, but the tomatoes and peppers have thrived in the heat.

Done thinning, pruning and moving plants, and the garden is much more manageable. Now we just want to see veggies!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 4:11PM
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Donna- You are my inspiration! I have the same problem, but it's weeds in place of squash. Who would have imagined that three weeks of rain, followed by high temperatures, in a garden (that a mere three months ago) was a horse pasture....would result in weeds??? I guess I should have seen this coming. (LOL)

Anyway, I am determined to beat them back, so I keep weeding one section at a time. The other night, I found the blueberry bushes and tonight I will reclaim the herb area!

I hope you post pictures of your squash on ladders. I saw them on the other post, too, but I'd love to see how yours turned out. They sound so pretty painted yellow and I'd like to try something like that next year in my mom's garden :)

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 9:20PM
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lavender lass,

You are a trooper tackling weeds that can hide blueberry bushes! Weeds can be so tough, they make you want to quit gardening. And a garden that was a horse pasture? That's huge! I guess I didn't remember that you had such a big garden.

Weeding often feels thankless but eventually we get to the harvest, right? (!!) It's good for us all to encourage each other through these tough spots.

I am determined to post photos of my potager (and will take some with the ladder in it tomorrow). I have been saying I would post photos for some time but will really do it this week. I am technologically challenged but my family are not and someone will help me. :)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 1:15AM
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Donna- Thanks for the encouragement! However, I should say that the blueberry bushes are small, since I just planted them this spring...and the garden is in part of what was the horses' pasture, but it's not that huge. Most of it is grass walkways, with a perimeter bed, backed by fruit/shrubs and it has an arbor in the middle.

The weeds are everywhere, but they were like this in the other beds and I did get them pulled out (we used the topsoil from the same area in all the beds this year). The soil is wonderful, but it does have it's fair share of weeds! (LOL)

I know what you mean about technologically challenged, but I'm hoping once the weeds are a bit more under control, I can figure out how to post pictures, too :)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 12:34PM
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I like that ladder idea and hubby is getting ready to retire our rickety wooden one. hehe. My poor pumpkins don't really need any support right now due to a clever groundhog, but the rain and the heat is helping them spring back.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 5:35PM
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Yesterday and today I did further cutting back of the garden. As is true for many of you, my pumpkins are going crazy, so I took out a plant to simplify things, and the same for two squash plants. As it turns out those plants were preventing some tomatoes from getting enough sun, so pruning served another purpose.

Now I am putting bricks down to brighten the entry to the garden, and boy is it tough to make them really level!
Any tips as to how to do that? I am using sand to put them on and doing the sprinkle sand and sweep method right now. Any shortcuts will be appreciated! :)

Donna -

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 1:05AM
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Donna, when we laid a brick path in our garden we put edging on either side of the walkway. DH made a form out of an old 2x4 or 2x6, long enough to span the width of the path and edging but cut out at either end so it could be suspended on the edging and then extend downward the depth of the bricks. He used that, along with a level, to make the sand flat and even.

Of course, over the years the sand shifted and the path became uneven, but it lasted a long time and to some extent the dips and rough areas became part of the charm.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 1:51PM
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