Saturday, January 3, 2009

Evolution Of The Front Garden

One of my goals of 2008 was to work on the front garden. It needed to be bigger. Basically gobble up most of the front yard. Do I hear less grass cutting and tedious weed eating? I wanted more perennials and a more coherent design that complemented our home. A spot to put a bench or bird feeders would be nice as well.

Sooowah...I began by doing the last thing first. Not odd for me. I planted butterfly bushes, irises, hibiscuses, datura, aztec grass, firecracker bush, sweet olive, ginger, roses.....Then I began throwing over the grass all the clippings from the garden......
and cardboard and newspaper. Next came the pine straw (Why I do not use Cypress mulch.) Which I added as I covered the grass with the clippings and cardboard. I used any kind of cardboard: cereal boxes, cracker boxes, regular boxes ...etc. Next I hired my now very tall nephew to dig a six inch by six inch trench around the entire perimeter of the laid out garden. The trench was filled with mulch as well.
Now look at it! I'm really pleased with the outcome. The cardboard mulch did a great job in smothering out the grass and weeds. Only a few grass tendrils and weeds persisted through the mulch and had to pulled. The garden has even grown since this picture!
These are the two most recent beds Byron built for me. This is my Christmas present from him.
I planted them with Lincoln peas, Sugar snap peas, Tom Thumb lettuce, Amarillo carrots, Tokyo Long White bunching onions, Carentan Leeks, Old Spice sweet pea flowers, mixed Asian greens, Long Island improved brussels sprouts.
Elsewhere in the garden I recently planted: Early Purple Vienna kohlrabi, American Purple Top Rutagaba, New Zealand Spinach, Japanese Minowase Daikon Radish, Harris Model Parsnip, Bulls Blood Beets, Pacific Beauty Calendula, and Asian Red Lettuce.
There really isn't a good garden book on vegetable gardening in the New Orleans area. There's such a unique climate here that changes once you travel 30 or 40 miles north of us. Our biggest obstacles are the heat, humidity and the rare frost. The frost threatens most of the tropicals we usually easily grow here.
So for 2009 I am going to blog on the progress of all the new vegetables I am trying. I will try planting them more than once at different times to see when and where they do best or if they will even produce here.


Egghead said...

I am going to try your cardboard trick this spring. I am amazed at how lovely your evolution looks. Great job.

La Gringa said...

I did that cardboard thing several years ago in Texas to start a new flower bed in an area covered with St. Augustine grass. I composted over it all winter and then planted in the spring. It worked great! An added benefit is that it attracted earthworms like crazy. It really is a great idea.