It has rained every day for nearly a week here at the Retro Ranch… when that happens, so does this:

… the weeds totally took over the area around the garden. If you combine my extreme dislike for weeds with a sale on mulch and landscape fabric at Menards, it is a recipe for change and a back ache.

I started ripping/digging out weeds and leveling out the dirt around the raised bed victory garden this morning…

It started to look better instantly…well except for the area to the left of the garden fence…

That tall wispy stuff is hugely overgrown asparagus by the way.

I couldn’t just dig out all the weeds inside the fence…I figured I better try to get rid of as many as my back would allow.

During the weed-pulling extravaganza I had a few scares. The first one was a vole (a small mole like creature that ran under the landscape fabric while I was pulling weeds right next to it…eeek!) followed by the two small screams I let out when frogs (I actually think they are toads) came jumping out of clumps of weeds that I was pulling.

However, those were small scares compared to the monster I was about to encounter…

So there I was in my garden area, taking a break from weed pulling…checking out how well the basil and cilantro were growing…

…noticing my new pepper

…and tomatoes

…admiring how many peppers I have on one plant…

…even picking a few radishes to sample…

…when I noticed something was trying to eat the lettuce right in front of my eyes. This something (which I will refer to as the lettuce monster was ever so slyly reaching over the cinder block ledge and trying to pick a leaf of lettuce with his teeth. I yelled at the monster to leave my lettuce alone, and after gazing into my eyes for a few seconds, he decided to defy my orders. The lettuce monster reached out and licked a leaf of lettuce to show his disobedience. Luckily, there is one thing can keep a lettuce monster from eating lettuce….

…a fence.

Once the threat of the lettuce monster had passed, I got back to my garden.

With all the new growth from the rain, it was way past time to put the tomatoes in tomato cages. There just happened to be four laying in the garden area from before, so I put them to use.

The peas had really started trying to climb in the last week as well, so I put in a few trellises to allow for vertical growth. They were simple enough to make, I just bought 1/2 inch electrical conduit (PVC-though the book suggests using metal) and elbow connectors, as well as a few pieces of 24 inch rebar to anchor the trellis supports into the ground. Once that was installed, I draped some trellis netting over the frame and secured it with zip ties.

Ta-da! Trellis!

The peas are already climbing up the netting!

I installed a trellis near the beans as well, but I am starting to suspect that I planted the bush variety instead of the vine variety…

Here is the view of the garden after 4 weeks.

I finally got the blueberry area mulched, though it is a constant struggle to keep the buckthorn that is growing through the fence trimmed away from the blueberry bushes. Those pesky buckthorn will have to come all the way out soon.

We did manage to get the “gutter buckthorn” out. It took both Jim and I working on it with a shovel, a saw, a hatchet and pulling…but it is out!

I put down most of the landscape fabric to prevent the weeds from growing all around the garden. I used some of the cement pavers that I found in the garden originally to make a solid spot for the tumbling composter that is still in the box in my garage, waiting to be put together.

This part of the yard is looking so much better than it did at this time last year! (Even with a lettuce monster in it)

Only a small bit of the area around the garden has to be covered with landscape fabric, then we mulch it!

The mulch is ready and waiting!


2 thoughts on “LETTUCE MONSTER!

  1. I was really fearing what you’d find–dogs eat lettuce, who knew? Hope your lettuce monster will help with the voles. I have a lot of them, but some neighborhood cats and a hawk help me out. They don’t seem to do too much damage, probably because they have so much to eat in my compost pile.
    Did you plant the asparagus or inherit it with the house? Once you get that weeded it should be really productive for you.
    I ordered leaf mulch from my county, which was delivered Friday. It was more mulch than I can conceivably ever use–we were shoveling all weekend, and now I am in pain.

    • Yes Val, the lettuce monster has found a few voles already and destroyed them. (Yuck) Our dog loves vegetables…he eats lettuce, peppers (as long as they aren’t spicy), tomatoes, carrots, etc. When we eat a salad, we make him one in his own bowl! Is that strange? šŸ™‚

      The asparagus came with the house…it was taller than us last year when we moved in and we were so busy, we didn’t do much to it at all. This year we got about 3 pieces off of it but the rest grew in VERY thick and were too big to eat. We just let them go for a while, but now I have cut it all down to the roots. I did notice another small spear starting to grow, but I think the season may be over. Guess we will see what happens next year!

      We are having 6 cu ft of dirt delivered next week for another project. I predict I will be super sore after that!

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